INDEPENDENT NEWS

‘Plug-in’ electric cars initiative "Impractical"

Published: Wed 13 Dec 2006 03:42 PM
MEDIA STATEMENT
‘Plug-in’ electric cars initiative in Government’s draft energy strategy impractical says The Clean Green Car Company
Hybrid technology a reality now for New Zealand motorists to reduce petrol use by up to half and produce up to 90% less noxious emissions
New Zealand, Auckland – Wednesday 13 December, 2006 - The Clean Green Car Company, New Zealand's only hybrid car specialist, has applauded the Government’s initiatives for resilient, low carbon transport as proposed in its draft energy strategy released this week.
Stephen Pollard, Director for The Clean Green Car Company says, “The proposed policies encourage a far greater uptake of hybrid cars along with the uptake of bio fuels. Hybrid cars, combining a petrol-powered engine with an electric motor, improve fuel economy by using up to half as much petrol as an equivalent non-hybrid car and produce up to 90% less noxious emissions, so are the most practical direction to improve the efficiency of New Zealand’s private car fleet.
“The strategy however contains statements that appear to have shortcomings and not be practical to deploy. Specifically, comments such as “the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles (hybrids or wholly electric) in significant numbers” is problematic. It assumes that major international carmakers will start producing plug-in vehicles in significant numbers. In the short to medium term they remain concept vehicles because of the limitations of current battery technology. Furthermore, the New Zealand market is not large enough to drive any significant change in this area.”
Pollard continues, “Plug-in hybrid cars are also only currently available overseas as an after market retro fitted kit for the Toyota Prius at a cost of over $15,000. While there are some small manufacturers producing electric cars, these are not currently sold in New Zealand. The vehicles limited size, performance, range and price offerings also make them impractical for most motorists and once again battery technology is the limiting factor.”
Pollard concludes, “Almost all major car manufacturers are now producing, or will be producing, vehicles using existing hybrid technology from Toyota. Hybrid cars as opposed to “plug-in” cars offer comparable performance, size and reliability to modern non-hybrids, which will encourage acceptance from New Zealand motorist’s initial resistant to compromise.”
The other advantages of the existing hybrid technology are:
1. It is available now
2. Offers significantly improved fuel economy and correspondingly lower CO2 emissions.
3. Produces levels of noxious emissions (local air quality or smog) that already meet or exceed future European emissions standards.
4. Utilises existing infrastructure.
5. Utilises NiMh battery technology that is considered environmentally friendly and offers minimal disposal issues at the end of the cars life.
ENDS

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