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A plan is underway in New Zealand to create the world's first electric vehicle-only island
Posted on January 02, 2019 by Matt Pressman
Cities and countries around the world are looking to ban diesel and gas-powered cars. However, something unusual is happening in New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Herald, "A plan to transform Waiheke Island into the world's first electric vehicle-only residential island... sparked into action."
Above: A look at Waiheke Island (Image: Wikipedia / Ingolfson)
An advocacy group, Electric Island Waiheke, has announced plans for an island-wide switch to EVs. The group's spokesman, Vern Whitehead said, "Waiheke has some of the dearest petrol in New Zealand and this is hurting the most vulnerable families in our community."
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. 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."
Above: Waiheke Island group pushes to become world's first island to have all electric vehicles (Source: 1 News Now)
"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," notes Whitehead.
And it's not just advocacy groups pushing for electric cars. Politicians all across New Zealand are getting in on the action too. In another NZ city, Whanganui, CleanTechnica reports that their district councillor "Hadleigh Reid recently purchased a Model S, one of several hundred Teslas in New Zealand." Reid says, "I advocate for EVs when possible and where appropriate."
Above: Whanganui's district councillor, Hadleigh Reid, and his Tesla Model S (Image: CleanTechnica via Hadleigh Reid)
Last year, "it was reported that he and another councillor, Josh Chandulal-Mackay, were working to bring an EV charger to Whanganui." Reid notes, "The 2012 Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand (HAPINZ) report found that harmful emissions from vehicles cause 256 premature deaths (with social costs of $934 million) annually in New Zealand... [so] I was shocked. Why are we not doing more about this in NZ?! We should be investing at least $1b a year to combat this to save the country $1b each year."