The government is throwing nearly $6.5 million behind a range of different electric vehicle projects, including the country’s first EV milk tanker and a solar-panelled bus.
The country’s EV charger network is also expanding, with more ultrafast chargers installed in certain areas.
It’s all part of the government’s Low Emission Transport Fund or ‘LEFT’ (ha).
LEFT is designed to target high-emission transport sectors and fund cleaner alternatives.
“The projects included in this round show the potential for electric and low-emissions transport across a wide range of sectors: from all-terrain farm vehicles to heavy freight. Some of these are hard to decarbonise,” Minister of Energy and Resources Dr Megan Woods said.
“This is great progress towards reducing our transport emissions.”
Farming and agriculture, a significant contributor to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, is a particular focus of LEFT.
Fonterra will be rolling out a 46-tonne electric milk tanker with battery-swap technology from its Waitoa Depot.
Other projects include a solar-powered bus producing 10 per cent of its own power. There is also an EV concrete mixer and four fully electric off-road UTVs distributed around the country.
“These latest projects show the fund is doing what it is designed to do, with the sector embracing clean energy in some very sophisticated ways,” Woods said.
EV owners (that’s cars, not milk trucks) around the country will also get something out of the fund.
Twelve new ultrafast charges will be installed around the Auckland CBD, Napier, Whangārei and New Plymouth. Z Energy is also installing 12 ultrafast chargers in the Northland region.
The mainland isn’t entirely forgotten, although only a handful of EV chargers will be installed in Christchurch and Rakaia.
Woods says New Zealand’s growing charging network should give motorists confidence in taking an EV on long journeys.
“In the last couple of years, we’ve plugged gaps in places like Bombay, Kaiwaka and Tauranga.
“The focus of the LETF is now turning to ensuring any remaining gaps are filled, as we increase density in high-demand areas.”