Waiheke Island in Auckland has launched a plan to become the world's first electric vehicle-only residential island by 2030. Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association secretary general Christina Bu spoke at the launch of the plan at the Waiheke RSA. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Electric Vehicles 2018-2028.
The idea has come from advocacy group Electric Island Waiheke, whose spokesman Vern Whitehead says ditching fossil fuel vehicles from the island will have economic and environmental benefits.
Waiheke has 86 registered EVs - along with electric bikes, e-scooters and e-motorbikes - and aims to get to 7000 to replace the island's conventional vehicles. "Everyone knows the environmental benefits but few know about the economic benefits of EVs," Whitehead says, adding the island has some of the most expensive petrol in New Zealand. Because of the short distances travelled on Waiheke, the island could use EVs which are no longer suitable for "mainland" purposes, he says. EVs need to be much cheaper to make them affordable to many island residents, Whitehead adds. "Our vision is to transition the island to cheap clean electric energy for all vehicles and equipment by 2030, becoming the first major residential island in the world to achieve this goal." He added "Of the 635 new or used EVs registered for the first time in New Zealand last month, a staggering 450 (or more than 70 per cent) were used imported Nissan Leafs from either Japan or the UK."
"Used import Nissan Leafs are now available from around $9000 on Trade Me. We all know the eco benefits that having zero emission, non-polluting vehicles will bring, but our vision is also economic - for Waiheke to have the lowest overall cost of transport in New Zealand. Waiheke is tailor-made for EVs with its limited roading network and short distances being travelled by tradies and commuters every day. On Waiheke the road runs out before your power does."
"Electric Island - bring it on!" Waiheke Local Board chairwoman Cath Handley commented at the launch. She says it is part of a raft of measures to make the island more sustainable.
Residents say more infrastructure is needed to help the island become fully electric - including a fast charger, although most EVs would be charged at home, likely to incorporate solar.
Source: EV Talk
Top image: Waiheke Horse Tours