Organisations and governments around the world will need to understand the challenges and opportunities for electric vehicles to take advantage of this new wave of technology.
Blair Monk, Technical Director at Aurecon and ITS New Zealand Board Member, discusses electric vehicle uptake, policies and standards, as well as the opportunities for organisations to benefit from this growing industry.
Electric vehicles currently account for 0.06% of the total vehicle fleet globally. In the last three years we have seen a rapid increase in sales of electric vehicles, which are growing year on year at a rate of 300% (Figure 1).
There are currently over 720 000 highway capable electric vehicles on the road around the world, with the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla S leading the way.
In New Zealand, 80% of new cars are bought by fleet owners for employee travel. Fleet buyers want vehicles that are cheap to buy, will take sales people around all day, and are easily used by many people. Electric vehicles still have a NZD20 000 premium over the equivalent petrol powered car.
In other parts of the world, challenges for the industry include the size of available vehicles, lack of commercial vehicles, and lack of ways to tax people who use them.
As a result of environmental lobbying and to a lesser extent other advocates, governments around the world are subsidising to the rollout of electric vehicles and the infrastructure that is required to support them.
Subsidies in most countries range from USD4000 to USD9000, with the highest being in Korea and Norway, where the subsidies are close to USD20 000 per vehicle.
In New Zealand, the government is encouraging the purchase of electric vehicles by removing fuel tax.
In other countries, tactics to increase sales have included subsidies, the use of bus lane, free parking, free charging, free road tolls, no GST on purchase, and low licencing fees.
With sales of electric vehicles expected to continue to increase over the coming years, organisations can realise the associated benefits through engaging Intelligent Transport Systems experts who are working to enhance infrastructure and operations to support electric and autonomous vehicles.