Coughlan sets target to increase council electric vehicle use to 75 percent
Media Release: I 14 September 2016
Wellington Mayoral candidate Jo Coughlan said today: “As New Zealanders, we all need to play our part to address climate change, whether that is switching off lights to save power at home, or being as efficient as we can at our workplaces. The Council also has a role to play, and as the Capital City we need to be progressing initiatives that make a difference.
For me, as a pragmatic environmentalist, this is not about ideology. I think I am very similar to many New Zealanders, I want to ensure a fantastic environment is passed onto next generations and to put effort into achieving this in a practical way. That’s why I want pest free Wellington, sensible cycle ways, and balanced public transport.
While there are currently a number of good initiatives on climate change, as Mayor I would want council to take the lead and target at least 75 percent of its 197 vehicle fleet to be electric or hybrid by 2020. Currently we have one electric vehicle and four hybrids. We do need to be practical, as there may not be electric options in all the vehicle types we need, for example trucks, which is why I set the target at 75 percent. I have also set a reasonable timeframe over four years to allow for improvements in technology.
I do not want ratepayers paying any more than we currently do for vehicles. New electric vehicles currently cost quite a bit more and can be scarce, so again being practical, I think the council should investigate options for good quality second-hand electric vehicles. As technology progresses and costs for new vehicles comes down, then the Council may be able to look at options for new ones. However, if a manufacturer wants to offer Wellington an excellent deal for new electric cars at the same price as our existing fleet then we could look at that as well.
I am a big supporter of electric bikes, cars, and buses as part of my very balanced practical transport policy. As Mayor, I would want our city to show some leadership by taking this pragmatic step and setting this goal, as well as helping facilitate charging infrastructure for other EVs.
I don’t support light rail. Technology is moving fast, and relative to electric buses, light rail is too restricted, too costly and the environmental benefits don’t justify the probable cost of up to $1 billion of ratepayer not central government money.
For the benefit of the environment, we do need to access the up to $1 billion dollars to double the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels and get four lanes to the planes. As well as enhancing cycle way and pedestrian options, this will also reduce emissions as it will help ensure that all vehicles, including electric ones, don’t get held up in traffic thus increasing emissions unnecessarily.
Contact: Councillor Jo Coughlan 021 522142