With 2 mln electric cars on global roads today, a huge transition is underway. Nikko's James Lindsay surveys the likely impact and timeframes for New Zealand - and how investors should prepare

Content supplied by Nikko Asset Management

Power companies, transport and fuel providers, insurers and telecommunication companies are all likely to face disruption to their current business models from the uptake of electric and autonomous vehicles – and Kiwi investors need to take note.

So says James Lindsay, Senior Portfolio Manager at Nikko Asset Management NZ, who believes the 'tipping point' when electric vehicles start to have a significant impact through reaching a critical mass, may be closer than many think.

“In its latest Global EV Outlook, released this month, the IEA said the global electric car fleet reached 2 million in 2016, after crossing 1 million in 2015,” Lindsay notes.

“The report added that there was a ‘good chance’ the fleet will range between 40 and 70 million by 2025,”

“Meanwhile we have Tesla Motors saying it expects to be making 500,000 cars a year by 2018 – two years ahead of schedule.”

“Admittedly, those numbers seem small on a global scale when you consider there were 95 million vehicles manufactured last year alone, mostly with combustion engines.”

“But with electric cars already holding a 29% market share in Norway, and 6.4% in the Netherlands, it certainly seems as if we’re on the verge of something akin to the Model T Ford replacing the horse and carriage over a century ago.”

EV winners and losers

Lindsay says the most obvious beneficiaries of EV uptake will be electricity companies, at the expense of those selling oil.

“With 80-90% of New Zealand’s electricity generated from renewables, and multiple options to bring on further supply, we have the resources to meet the extra demand EVs would bring.”

“This may be offset by the uptake of rooftop solar, although at this time solar technology isn’t cheap enough to be compelling from a local perspective.”

“We’re currently a net hydrocarbon fuel importer, too, meaning there’s significant value to be gained if that can be offset with cheap and renewable power.”

“Fuel also accounts for New Zealand’s largest proportion of avoidable greenhouse gas emissions, so we’re very well-placed from that perspective to meet our international obligations.”

Lindsay adds that electric engines have far fewer moving parts than combustion ones, so suffer less wear and tear.

“That means EVs will likely need significantly less maintenance and suffer less depreciation, which is good for vehicle owners, freight operators and, indeed, all commercial fleet operators, but perhaps less so for those whose business is fixing them.”

Driverless future

Looking further ahead, Lindsay says the next step after fully electric vehicles is for them to go autonomous.

“In recent weeks, Apple has confirmed it’s focusing on driverless systems and GM has built 130 self-driving test vehicles.”

“These vehicles are going to be big users and producers of data. I’m told by IT experts that a fully automated car could generate about the same data as streaming 30 HD videos at once.”

“Those who stand to gain, from a local perspective, from managing such massive data loads are the owners of mobile and fibre networks and data centres, as well as companies investing in charging infrastructure.”

“At the same time, the safety of autonomous vehicles is going to be paramount and that could be a big disruptor for the insurance industry. Especially considering the likelihood of fewer crashes and the possibility fewer people may actually own private vehicles if autonomous ones are a success. Car manufacturers may even provide insurance as part of their autonomous vehicle sales offering.”

Lindsay cautions that New Zealand’s uptake of electric and autonomous vehicles may lag behind other parts of the world in spite of the benefits of its renewable electricity supply placing it among the most enviable two or three countries globally.

“Our vehicle fleet is notoriously old. For example, the mean age of a light vehicle is 14 years, and because EVs won’t wear out as quickly, it may take longer for offshore owners to on-sell them for export here, as second hand cars. In saying that, the huge fuel and maintenance savings might be compelling enough to trade in your old car for new in the not too distant future.”

But he reiterates that investors need to start considering the long-term impacts of the rise of electric and driverless vehicles.

“They’re no longer just science fiction or gimmicks. They’re happening and they will have an impact on certain investments – some for better and some for worse.”

Also see this.

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I would like to see if there have been any studies done on the levels of EMFs inside electric cars. ie Will they have an impact on cancer levels.

I think any potential health issues exist only with AC current, not DC as you'd find in an electric vehicle.

There's no compelling evidence for long-term health effects of living near even very strong magnetic fields. Those in an electric are not that much stronger than those in your house.

Another thing. In an electric car they use a 3 phase inverter to convert the battery DC to AC for the motors. You have both forms in electric cars.

Was there not an investigation into the health risks of cellphone glued to your ear?
I thought there was a caution.
They are AC after all....and a fourier analysis of the vehicle AC may be full of suprises...

Going to need a citation of compelling evidence. There's been far too much conspiracy on this over the years. It's been in use for 100's of years now. And there's no evidence of a connection that I'm aware of. I would happily be enlightened though.

Can we talk about the comparing a house with a car?
My house draws up to two kilowatts of reasonably pure AC, a 200hp electric car could be drawing 150 kilowatts of less than pure AC and you are sitting on it.
Do you see that as being similar?

Here is a study of the risk of cancer due to cellphones.
You should draw your own conclusions.

If this was the case, you would see a marked increase from about the year 2000:

There is far more risk of dying from the pollution of an internal combustion engine. Hard to attribute a direct cause as it normally accelerates death rather than kills outright but here is one article:

Which brings up another of my suspicions, electric cars have little to do saving the planet or peak oil and a lot to do with reducing the economic costs of pollution.
Added to that, having heavily polluted cities isnt a vote winner.
Self interest rules as always.
Im reminded of an earlier time when threat of nuclear arms escallation was countered by the threat of Nuclear Winter
Who knew if it was true, but was convenient.

The impact (no pun intended) of having carbon life forms driving the remaining outdated remnants of the fleet will be a magnitude worse causing deaths from trauma than any (zero) from EMF cancer. Persisting diesel users will give you a run for your money on cancer though.

I absolutely agree with that.

A very interesting question, Im in the camp that believes electric fields affect our health, we are mostly water and water is polar, could respond to electric fields.
On the other hand, if they havent controlled emissions they could have trouble with communications, so they probably have

... not so ... down here in the deep dark south we are not mostly water ... no frigging way .... mostly Speights , yes ... but not water ...

Oh gummy you are such a dinosaur. Nowdays it's Emersons, but more often Central Otago Pinot.

... oh ... pardon me ... but , I'm a working man ... not a property " investor " ( tax dodger ! ) ... nor a RE agent ...

Speights runs through our Struggle Street veins ...

Can you still get Wilson's 45South down there???

Surely an argument needs more evidence than that.

"We're mostly water and the moon affects tides" is an argument used by some to support astrology.

The force the moon has on our brains is equivalent to the weight of falling asleep with a feather pillow on one's head.

It may seem very little but it may expain why I wake up in the morning with a headache...sometimes...
As an aside, some who have ridden herd on groups of teenagers have commented on their bizarre behaviours coinciding with a full moon.

You might find it helpful to read up on recent medical journals, I thought belief in sorcery and witchcraft had been finally eliminated from rational thought.

Not at all, its just a belief, like religion, there is little evidence that any of our messiahs ever existed.
But it is monday, time for serious matters like the auckland property market

Ah, good point - we by and large exempt religious beliefs from any requirement for sensible bases / evidence.

These days we're of course adding other beliefs to this basket - vaccines, homeotherapy etc.

And you omitted the perfectly functioning financial market.

I prefer to rely on empirical evidence rather than iron age mumbo jumbo, data collected in relation to the Auckland property market is not conducive to any meaningful analysis as it so distorted for political purposes.

Interesting to look at the dismal sales figures for the GM Bolt electric in the US. His figures are very optimistic unless there is a major change in price / performance which is simply a function of future battery technology.

There are very relevant questions re Tesla's ongoing survival - you just can't go on burning multiple billions of US $'s year after year - eventually investors get a bit impatient ! It's a bit like Alice in Wonderland promising Jam tomorrow. If GM cannot sell Bolts through their dealer network - how is Tesla going to compete with no network and the panel backed into at the supermarket needs replacing once they are into the mass market where there economics cannot be too different from GM in terms of unit costs - probably higher.

Biggest threat to pure electrics is the ever increasing fuel efficiency and consequently lowered emissions of existing petrol powered vehicles - now many are down to the mid 4's l/100km and they cost under NZ $ 30 K GST incl.

I think plug in hybrids are more likely to emerge a winner as they allow feel good 100% electric for the short trips but you can still drive 200 km to the beach and back occasionally where there is no charge point.

My return work commute costs me $12 in petrol. An electric car would cost about $2. If I could buy a car that had a good enough battery for a reasonable price I would switch. I suspect in the next 5 or so years the economics of electric cars will be viable for me. Note -it would be the families 2nd car -so the other one can be traditional petrol car for longer trips etc.

Also here is a good article on the urbanisation implications of electric/autonomous vehicles -the author argues congestion road pricing will be needed to prevent gridlock from zero occupancy cars because AVs have very low marginal costs -electricity is cheap and labour costs are nil. He also argues that AVs will not necessarily contribute to urban sprawl.


Don't forget you'll be paying normal road user charges like a diesel post 2020 so current savings will be significantly reduced.

With the revenue loss from gasoline excise duty Government will have to introduce new charges - the roads still have to paid for so longer term the savings of a pure electric in energy terms may not be that great.

The impact of future dynamic congestion charges is unlikely to differentiate between fuels - again reducing any savings.

Biggest issue for all electrics having to recharge during the day is that one petrol bowser with say 10 fills per hour of $ 100 equates to about 300+ charger stations in overall energy terms for a BMW i3 charge rate so we are going to need a whole lot more charging stations than is generally understood. Charger rage ?

Best if you can make do with an overnight charge at home then we will have issues with the capacity of domestic reticulation capacity as the networks were never designed for these sorts of loads.

Interesting times !

Definitely interesting times. In my case, I frequently do not leave for work until 2pm -so home solar charging could work well for me.

There will be early and late adopters depending on their individual circumstances and preferences.

Many workplaces and carparks might in the future provide/rent trickle electric charging stations. When I lived in Finland -our apartments outside carpark had this facility to run an engine heater so the car would start cleanly in winter... it wasn't a big deal.

You are right that in the medium term as people switch to EV's then the government will have to change its fuel excise regime so that roads can still be paid for. I think that will be a beneficial change -as the real cost of road use will be possible -with congestion charging.

In Dunedin the electric Nissan Leafs are rocketing out the dealer door. Jap imports, 2nd hand, $20K down to $10K. Often the second family car and folk are finding them marvellous.

Yep, and in Dunedin they have a free EV charging station at one known carpark

Driverless electric cars would allow a genuine user pays tax - giving drivers a choice whether to drive or walk on a journey by journey basis.

Doesn't have to be Electric EV to be driverless.

The technology - sensors and numerical control systems and GPS navigation can and could be applied to non-EV's - if they really wanted to

You could drive your car to work then program it to either return home or seek a free parking spot in a road not too far from work (or where-ever) - and to come and pick you up at knock-off time

We have a deposit on a Tesla model 3 but not likely to see it until 2019. Base range is 346km which is enough without spending more to push it above 500km. Charging it at home will be enough apart from 1-2 longer trips per annum. Looking at buying a used Leaf at the end of this year to replace a clapped out Subaru as a local runabout. A 120km range isn't too much of a problem, biggest commute is 45km/ day return. The petrol saving equates to 10% return on a $20k "investment."

Distributed generation will become more significant. Watch for smaller spin offs once the South Australian Tesla 300MW farm gets up and running. The neigh sayers will run out of "what if isms" and "that won't work" comments in time.


"The neigh sayers" I would love to think that you were were being ironic in using neigh rather than nay,as would be correct. I do hope so. The biggest nay sayer would probably be ham n eggs who thinks EVs are just a con,but seems curiously absent from the discussion. Have you read either of the reports on EVs by Rethink X or the Boston Consulting Group?

Linklater - Its because its like a discussion in a silo. EV's are a complete red herring in terms of energy problems we are facing - car usage is an energy burn luxury that everyone takes for granted because of the massive historic "net energy subsidy" that fossil fuels have provided.

To recap; FF's have provided massive amounts of net energy to build literally everything we have today ... enough energy left over from extraction/ refining to grow the economy, produce jobs, power the green revolution, allowed taxes to fund governments, funded loans, allowed for positive interest rates, pension plans, retirements, investments etc etc etc.

When we began to into "lower net energy" in the 70's we started adding DEBT (backed by energy reserves) to continue the growth path.

Now we are running into debt problems on top of the net energy problems ie interest rates too low to fund pension funds but too "high" to stimulate further debt growth ...

And The proposed solution?; EV's, Elon Musk and batteries & the pitiful low energy density of solar? Please. Its simply not understanding the underlying problem - the financial system cant tolerate such a backwards step ... And if there are no job in the city, what use is having an EV rather than a V8 for the commute?
Its like doctors debating whether changing the colour of the sheets will improve the patient's chances.

yes - I believe this is all true. It points to a lower quality of life in the future than we currently have. Also a narrow window of opportunity to make the most of today's cheaply available resources.


Wind generation in SA runs to about 1300 Mw max and they have had periods as long as 3 days in summer with no wind.

The battery solution may appeal to the masses but the maths says that a 100 Mwhr battery will take up less than 10 % of the load for just 1 hour - what are they going to do for the other 71 ?

Real time generation status by type by state at: http://www.energymatters.com.au/energy-efficiency/australian-electricity...

Summer is going to be a lot of fun in SA with their all their looney schemes in place !

I shall watch with interest,

The intention wasn't to store all of the SA renewable power for 3 or more days. Or by analogy, no more than the ups sitting under my desk hooked to the computer is expected to power my house entirely in the event of a prolonged power cut.
The intention was to provide load balancing, reduce brownout risk (and some short term emergency power supply).

To be cost effective you would want to flatten the battery every day to smooth out the renewables. But in that case, after doing that, it would not be charged up in order to be of any help if there was a grid problem.
That would hammer the batteries as well. So how many years will they last?

You don't need to flatten the battery completely to maximise return. The battery acts as a buffer to smooth out costs of power i.e. no more spikes in price of power - that's where the real cost benefit is. The other obvious benefit is keeping the constituants happy by not having brown outs or black outs (except for severe weather events). The batteries are pretty amazing in respect to what they can withstand assuming kept cool and stable. Life expectancy will be eight to ten years. It will be a win for the locals and a win for the Tesla shareholders, which is what this article is about. Whether you are sitting on wads of cash looking for a sound investment or about to buy a (near) new car, what side do you bet on?

Keep in mind Tesla use those billions for R&D and factories, it's not like the actual production runs at a loss. They actually have quite a good margin on their cars, it's just they are expanding so fast they need capital.

Not sure about that - A new factory is an investment and goes to the Balance Sheet - not the P & L !!

According to this Tesla has always made a gross profit:


If you look at operating income it is clearly R&D that puts them in the red. I think we can all agree their R&D is miles ahead of their competitors.

I don't bother trying to convince the nay or neigh sayers ;-). there will always be plenty. It always comes down to the analysis and backing yourself. There were many on this site arguing against buying property in Auckland a few years back, Xero, Amazon, Google, Bitcoin, MS, Apple, IBM, Ford.... you name it, there were plenty of convincing arguments against. The question is, are we entering something new that is about to completely dislodge what has been before?

GM don't want to sell EV's. Look at where they're available.... in VERY few states and NOT in Europe. These are called 'compliance EV's'. i.e. EV built PURELY to get around rules that are trying to clean up the environment etc from excess pollution.
Hybrids IMHO are the worst of both worlds,
Tesla is loosing money, and a LOT, I agree. However they are more in start-up mode than GM etc, building new manufacturing sites etc.
The share price is a bit of a lottery, with as many 'supposed educated and in the know' people on both sides of the argument. My fear is the Mars part of the company.
This is probably a Kodak moment, where dinosaur companies vanish, even if today they are market dominant.
Time will tell. Interesting times ahead.

"My fear is the Mars part of the company."

SpaceX is a separate company to Tesla.

I agree with most of the points but Hybrids in their present form have the worst of both types, pollution and servicing costs of internal combustion with the limited range of Battery and availability of charging points. Battery improvements will solve this whilst allowing smaller more efficient IC engines to be used until the energy density of batteries improves and charging stations are widely available.

An alternative perspective suggesting that the priority is to get renewable generation in place before a large scale switch to EV's or we could end up making higher levels of emissions from fossil fuel electricity due to efficiency losses. Australia produces almost 90% of its electricity from FF for one of the highest emissions per capita in the world for example.

NZ has enough consented but not built electricity production capacity to switch to EV. There may be issues about peak load -but if EV's when not being used are mostly connected to the grid -then with real time pricing -loads can be evened out.


If NZ can work out how to switch to EV this would be a massive boon to the country. We would no longer be reliant on imports for much of our transport energy needs..... CO2 emissions would drop.... urban environments would be quieter and more peaceful.....

It's pretty much a no brainer for us to move over to electric as the pricing and technology improve Doing it (and everything else required) while doubling our population every thirty five years (2% PA) might be an issue.

Great link, wonder where and how soon the renewables can come on

When the giant manufacturers can get their Toyotas , Volvos and Fords to match Tesla's electric cars' remarkable speed performance and 500 km range ... and the prices come down from the stratosphere ... then most of us will ditch our fossil fuel gas guzzlers without a second thought and go 100 % electric , lickety-splick ...

You mean scrap your DN rego Austin Westminster? how could you?( fit all that Speights into a Nissan Leaf)

Interesting article. I have had conversations with the Management of a large European airport who are very concerned with self driving cars as being a huge disruptor to their business. For this particular airport 20-25% of its top line revenue comes from the 10,000 car parking spots they have. Their fear is in the near future our self driving cars will drop us off at the airport and drive themselves home. That and everyone doing their shopping online will make the airport business much tougher.

... oooops ! ... the NZ government are gonna lose $ billions in excise revenue when we all stop buying petrol ...

Hmmm ... you wonder if this shortfall will be permanent , or will they figure out some other way to tax us and to keep their coffers full ... hmmmmm ?

Thats probably a good thing, load your body up with alcohol and it will act as an antifreeze

RUC on electric vehicles will come once the electric fleet is large enough to make the effort worthwhile - 3% of fleet is often quoted - about 60,000 electric cars - currently at about 3000. Loss of revenue on fuel however may be difficult to replace especially if Solar becomes more efficient and economic for self generation. I can imagine a future were Solar and Crypto currencies will disrupt so many previously cushy over paid jobs.

Hahaha, I hadn't thought of this but I hope airports get screwed. Sadly they will just charge fees for pick up/drop off and probably rope councils into banning self driving cars from picking up nearby for safety of course.

This cheered me up after the Saturday night test. If we couldn't stick it to the Lions, Auckland Airport will do.

I Imagine management at Wilsons Parking are shitting bricks. Autonomous cars will render their service irrelevant. It'll be interesting to see if they try and pivot (into who knows what) or scale back.

The latest Chevy electric car I can buy here has 200hp ! That's equivalent to the hp of a 1996 3.8Litre petrol injected engine with thousands more parts than the Chevy electric.
Only thing it costs 45 K but with a 14K rebate in Ontario !
Electric has no lag when you hit the throttle it's amazingly quick

Please give us a break with everything non-NZ. This is a .co.nz website not .northern-steamship.com website in Ontario.


I don't live in Ontario DubleD
Why are you being so abusive ?
This was about electric cars & airports Not your specialty
Stick to what you are good at Talking up Auckland housing in a declining market !

Heard you talking the other day, DGZ, about the wonders of 'global citizenship'. So what's with the parochial attitude, then?

So says someone proof reading real estate flyers in Mandarin in his spare time

@NorthernLights: Yes and I also hear that electric cars are far easier and less expensive to maintain, so I'm very keen to invest in one. I'm sure the pricing will become more competitive in the next few years as petrol engines are phased out.

Yes they have instant torque. Yes cheaper to maintain - no oil changes, spark plugs, fuel injectors etc... BUT - battery life is still an issue and a big one. I would say a quarter to half the cost of a new electric is in the battery set up. Lithium is not a long term solution. If enough time and energy was put into fuel cell technology then the internal combustion engine could carry on - running on hydrogen and being filled up with water.

I think the battery in the model 3 is estimated at something like $11k US, so less than a third. But still significant. Obviously the whole point of the gigafactory is to drive this down.

Paradox yes maybe in Europe where they have high speed train competition already but in Nth America trains offer no speed of travel competition to aircraft & hence airports dominate high speed travel .
The airports are overloaded. My daughter just waited 2 hours in a plane waiting in a long line at JFK to get turn to take off a couple weeks ago. All US airports are a nightmare Can't see any profits dwindling there http://247wallst.com/autos/2017/07/07/chevy-bolt-sales-vault-into-thousa...

.. for the life of me , I cannot believe how perspicacious my first grade teacher Miss Menzies was .... 50 years ago , a whole half a century past , she predicted that one day the young Gummster would get the electric chair ...

And now , with the advent of the electric car ... it's actually gonna happen ....

... she was a genius , pure genius ...

The less cars the better electric or not, especially in the CBD. Everyone should be grateful when reading article like this:
"All-day free parking in central Auckland suburbs to end"
It's ridiculous for people to arrive in Freemans Bay at 6 in the morning and have breakfast in their cars so that they can park all day for free!

My gosh DubleD this isn't really constructive

You wouldn't know NL, Freeman's Bay is in New Zealand

..nah ... I Googled it ... Freemans Bay is in Orc Land , not in New Zealand ...

Take the bus and you can post nonstop to interest.co.nz from your phone as you have breakfast.

I assume you have no Remuera Tractor in your stable ? Kids walk to school ?

If the children of this country were not made of melting stuff they could probably still walk to school.

True but the article gives little guidance as to how things will change. My guesses

1 Batteries are not at the point that you would buy a pure electric car if it were your only vehicle; secondary commuter, car maybe. Plug in electric hybrids are a very real option now if prices can be lowered.

2 Obviously there is a lot of promising battery research underway and it looks likely that we will get there in the next 5-10 years; so then pure battery may be a good option.

3 The typical sorts of solar arrays that we are seeing on houses are not sufficient to make a house fully independent from the grid, even with battery back up. With reference to pure electric cars my calculations indicate that in a year the typical sort of domestic solar array may be sufficient to power two cars(i.e. the transport demand of a typical household, but how many of us will want to charge our cars between 10 am and 3 pm when solar power is available). There is a limit to how many solar cells can be fitted on a typical roof and while maybe extra could be added it is unlikely to be doubled so the generation and distribution network will continue to have a vital role. Remember also that other forms of transport will probably be similarly affected so there may well be a net increase in power consumption. (My guesstimate is that about 60% of the fuel used in land transport goes into cars.)

4 Increasing solar and wind generation will and are challenges for the generation and distribution networks (see Australia's problems). More electric cars will add to these challenges, but also offer an opportunity to help manage to volatility that renewables cause. I.e. incentivise car owners to charge up when there is surplus generation and vice versa.

5 The same batteries that make electric cars possible will also make domestic and network wide power storage possible. This will be useful to help smooth the supply and demand volatility. Re configuring some of our hydro generation in favour of water storage and peak generation would also be very useful in regard to seasonal and short term load matching, particularly if this can be achieved more cheaply than batteries. There is a whole bunch of work that the utilities and government are going to have to address on these matters.

6 The lines company tariff structure are going to need to be changed to better reflect the assets that they need to provide to meet, manage and match the new market demands.

Absolutely right Chris M. A major reform of the electricity market is required. Line company monoplies rorting us as they deliver remote big generation to us just have to go. Instead it will be distributed generation at home or locally and sharing arrangements for load at realistic low cost.

Any chance they will ever get rid of electricity delivered on wires strung from one concrete pole to the next all along our suburban road? Love Auckland, especially love our suburbs but hate this 3rd world look.

Lines company returns are regulated by the Commerce Commission

On what basis do you make the claim they are rorting us given the very extensive analysis undertaken and approved by the CC in setting their rates ?

Lines company returns are regulated by the Commerce Commission

On what basis do you make the claim they are rorting us given the very extensive analysis undertaken and approved by the CC in setting their rates ?

Why would an overseas buyer pay more for an asset than a New Zealander? Is it because they can accept lower returns on capital? Perhaps. Is it because they can sweat the asset more? Again, perhaps. But Chalkie reckons one reason stands out - tax. Read more

On what basis ? One word. Aurora. But if you want more consider what clued up folk will pay to own them. And why.

Why do you think batteries aren't ready? The top model S battery already does 650kms and takes 30 mins to charge at a supercharger. That seems pretty ready to me. Price could come down a tad but we'll get there.

Regarding solar panels, I think if you wanted to equip enough solar panels on the average roof to generate the total need for your household you probably could. Especially with tesla's new solar tiles. The challenge is the batteries aren't cost effective but again we'll get there.

The cost of batteries and solar panels has dropped by crazy amounts in the last then years. If they keep dropping then they will disrup anything else.

Yes, electrical systems and power supplies are becoming more mature all the time. It'll be interesting to see what develops over the next ten years.

I suspect , we may need to have a "Future Power Policy " document out soon .

Current Technology - nothing new

The sun-roof and bonnet of cars will be solar generating material - leave the car in the supermarket car-park and it will charge the batteries while you shop. Also solar-paint. Cars will be painted with Solar-Paint

Don't count on that ATM, at least with a roof panel. - about 160W per hour in the sun - good for a few extra km max. Better for keeping the car cool or the beer in the boot cool.

Going to be a slow transition. "Despite record sales of new cars, just 219 of the 1.2 million new vehicles sold in Australia in 2016 were electric, even that was a 90 per cent drop from the previous year. Battery powered cars represented only 0.0018 per cent of the total market.

Mr Ghosn argued the market wouldn't grow without a public policy that said: "We favour zero emissions cars - usually electric and plug in hybrids - and a subsidy to consumers to encourage them to buy these cars".


@Profile , dont look to Australia , firstly its not a leader when it comes to changing attitudes , but more importantly current electric cars have limited range , and those blokes do HUGE mileages because the distances between towns are so great .

Watch Tony Seba's videos on YouTube if you want to REALLY know what's about to happen, from someone who specialises in researching this sort of thing and has done for years with an impressive track record toboot.
Most else is pure uninformed opinions, or propaganda by the oil industry.

Having an electronics background I think we are miles away from dedicated EV. Firstly petroleum would have to become genuinely scarce and as it does the sizes of engines and cars will shrink to the point we have proper light weight cars on the roads, think 1000cc turbo engines. The introduction of electric now will just prolong the availability of petrol driven cars. So many things need to change before electric is realistic, the biggest of which is peoples attitude and them totally moving away from 2000Kg SUV's to something that weighs under half of that. It sounds great in principal but it all comes down to attitude and cost.

My 2000kg SUV not an attitude Carlos - it's an option that suits daily city work (albeit very few kms there) lots of kms plus on the state highway, and multi -tasking on a rural property. But no muddy stuff - its not the north island.
But you are right in that folk make practical decisions and I see that they will be quickly adopting EVs. Already started.
Main drag will be the civil servants who will plan an electricity market and grid best suited to Max Bradfords day.

.. methinks that the "Remurea Tractors " or " Fendalton Tanks " are indeed an attitude ... a fashion statement ...

SUV = screw u , vermin !

Now read yourself again Gummy. Tell us who has the attitude there.

I have. physics degree and 20 years in the telecoms industry and I disagree with you Carlos.
Tony Seba explains it better than I can in his videos.
I thoroughly believe this is our '1970's microprocessor' moment. I was a teenager and so wasn't too sure how significant that moment was, and (compounded matters) stupidly not doing computing at uni and (even worse) turned down a job offer from (a then almost unheard of) Microsoft, and instead went to work for the largest (then) electronic/electrical company in the UK; GEC.
IMHO anyone between 13-25 deciding on a 'starting out' career, should get into Solar/EV's/Battery technology.

Factboy - how does the "starting out" dude fund their career? "...just 219 of the 1.2 million new vehicles sold in Australia in 2016 were electric..."

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, in 1977 (a few years after the first PCs had already hit the market).

Yes and the Carter administration had us running out of oil by 2010 and the fax machine was patented in 1843... and the electric motor precedes the IC engine by 50 years. The facts here seem sobering compared to the predictions. Had a spin in a Tesla, loved it, but didn't realise I was so lucky.


Good to highlight that electric engines came first...and of course, the issues were of storage and safety. Hence why Musk is working more than anything else on storage, much more than the cars. Oil is by nature non-renewable and finite (practically-speaking), so of course we should expect renewables to displace it as it becomes more difficult to get, over time.

(As an aside, perhaps Southland would be the ideal place for electrical cars, once the taxpayer stops subsidising Rio Tinto and there's an abundance of electricity there).

And there wasn't.

Who uses their computer, be it desktop, laptop, tablet, or whatever for the stuff that Ken's DEC boxes were used for in 1977?

Not me, that's for sure!

What I use is a word processor cum electronic book display device connected to the internet.

You'd have to be pretty visionary to predict that in '77. . .

It’s the lithium batteries of today that would have been regarded as “alien technology” 20 years ago. They’ve got tremendous capacity, coulombic efficiency approaching 0.99999, and cycle lives into the thousands. Lithium is one of the most abundant elements on earth, and sodium also has promise. It all has the potential to be a new economy but only if we set up the infrastructure before oil becomes prohibitively expensive, otherwise a new dark age will emerge from which we’ll probably never recover.

The problem in NZ is we’re not making long term strategic decisions. The government should be looking at a 30 year time horizon, projecting oil prices 5 times what they are now and making decisions based on that. That could mean regulating electricity companies to have the same buy/sell price per kWh, perhaps even some tax breaks for solar. Changing the education sector to teach C++ in intermediate school, perhaps do what the UK did and give every kid a microprocessor. Encourage domestic R&D and production of solar/wind tech…

Unfortunately what I see happening is the opposite. Renters, landlords, and rentvesters have zero incentive to install solar. I foresee electricity companies greatly increasing the fixed charges for power as a countermeasure to personal generation. Whole new unproductive industries are already forming around the buy/sell per kWh price differential, look at solar PV diverters. They’re costly, add zero to the national grid and yet make financial sense in countries like Australia, NZ, and the UK. While house prices are astronomically high, and people are having the financial rug pulled from under their feet they're not going to be investing in future-proofing assets. Due to the tax structures here it probably makes more sense for our engineers to quit uni and go live in the sticks as tobacco farmers.

The reason we're seeing low oil prices now is everyone is trying to dump stock before demand reduces by 90% in 10-20 years. They want to run their wells dry. Any multiple increase in oil prices will be due to the reduced economies of scale that occurs from greatly reduced demand.

I thought the consensus was that low oil prices are caused overcapacity which itself is caused by trillions of dollars of fiscal stimulus, all combined with demographically induced demand reduction from the west. If economies of scale become ruined as you say, especially if it's through resource constraints, then id say it's game over for living standards.

gooki - i dont think you quite appreciate where your buttered bread comes from.
Believe me, no one wants the wells to run dry.

None of the oil producers want to be sitting on half full wells with no demand either. This is why they aren't cutting back capacity.

After these beautiful quotes I'm going to take that whole article with a grain of salt (there are some good points but it's in drastic need of updating and rethinking).

"These billions of diesel-engine-powered vehicles and equipment represent"
Sorry what. Are they saying there's one design engine in use for every 2-3 people on earth?

"Diesel is available at over 100,000 service stations."
So what, electricity is available to millions of businesses and households. And could be manufactured on site at many of them.

"Diesel & gasoline (46 MJ/kg) have up to 92 times the energy density of a lithium battery... A truck can’t move even an inch with a battery 92 to 271 times the size and weight of its current diesel-fuel containing tank.."
Tell that to Tesla. From 540kg of batteries they can move a 2 ton car 500km. Giving a comparable 20:1 energy density vs diesel (BMW 730d used as comparison)

"The weight of the battery or fuel cell would be so heavy the tractor couldn’t move. If the truck can move, it won’t have room for cargo. This is why you don’t ever hear about electric trucks, electric farm tractors or harvesters, and so on."

"Oil is a liquid, easily transported in pipelines (by far the least energy to move versus rail, truck, or ship)...Energy from wind or solar can’t easily be transported, first you have to build apparatus to harness the wind or sun, then you have to convert the energy to something that can travel, such as electricity, which requires an expensive electric grid."

How much oil in NZ is moved by pipline? Only from Whangarei (Marsden Point) to Auckland. All our oil comes here by ship. All our oil is delivered to petrol stations an industries by truck.

Who wants to take bets what costs more? Moving electricity by copper wires or building a pipeline for oil?

"Engineers haven’t yet developed energy storage devices suitable for storing solar and wind power, and they would add to the ultimate cost."
It's called batteries.

The point is that fossil fuels provide(d) all the infrastructure for industrial civilization. Its quite clear from energy density this has been the case. Everything else piggybacks off fossil fuels. And most importantly, fossil fuels underwrite that colossal debt mountain we call the financial system.

The question to ask is What exactly will those electric trucks (still to be developed with any scale...) actually be delivering - post fossil fuel?
Answer; Nothing.

Whilst I agree the lines co's will raise charges this will also have the effect of encouraging going off grid. A new connection plus a transformer and cable costs on my proposed new build is close to $25,000 making off grid solar at $30,000 realistic as the payback on $5,000 is about 2.5 years at current power prices.

Ideally though, as individuals and as a nation, we’d want as much infrastructure in place as possible. Its kind the ultimate form of individualism, liberalism (whatever you want to call it) wealthy people going off grid and leaving the national grid to become dilapidated. I'm not being critical, I would think the same way as you.

ill stick to me push bike. You still get fat driving electric.

Get an electric bike and go faster and further

EV are just not there yet, its one thing to wake up in the morning and you forgot to put your phone on charge, its another to wake up and you forgot to put your car on charge. It will happen one day but either because we are forced into it or the incentive drives us in that direction, until then its petrol all the way. Don't get me wrong as soon as they stop making ugly EV's and start making some small two seater or even single seater electric only sports cars that do 0-100km/hr in sub 4 seconds then I'm into it boots and all, but this will be after the 2000Kg SUV dinosaurs are gone from the roads. EV's need to be smaller and lighter but with other big heavy cars on the road trying to kill you, the safety aspect is a problem.

This is precisely the strategy Tesla is coming in from. Show the market that good looking, quick EV's are possible and work backwards from there until the tech is cheap enough to make quick EV's affordable too.

LOL - right. Bleed money till it hurts is a nice strategy until it isnt.

While my Leaf 30kwh can currently get 200km with about 80% without range concerns, I recognise that the range will decrease with battery age but also that technology will mean a future replacement battery will have double the capacity. Supercapacitors promise super fast charging comparable to petrol refills but this has no defined time development right now.
It is certainly far cheaper to rent a car for extended journeys than to own a second car. If you have close family just swap the EV for their petrol one for a few days.

I wonder how many are put off electric cars because of out of town travel and range.
it is surprising rental companies have not targeted this market with any advertising, or specials.

I travel 20km per day, spending $8 in petrol (large SUV with the same $ value as a 4 year old Leaf)). Our parking building has dedicated free chargers and I have test driven a Leaf, plus done the numbers. While I really like the utility of the Leaf I have zero trust in the Government RUC pricing, as this is a long term purchase. Given tax is half of my petrol cost I'm not about to be sucked in an have them close the cost differential later.

Sounds like when Diesel got a start, remember how cheap that was compared to petrol ? or LPG anyone ? what happened to LPG ? sure it really needed an engine designed and built from scratch for it but that died an early death.

There are lots of variations on what works for folk and the cars they will buy. The big SUV will have a place and the Nissan Leaf seems ideal for many purposes. Both have a place, we all don't have to have the same thing.

It's more the low-mid range (distance) EV manufactures that should be teaming up with rental companies. 10 days free rental per year during warranty period would go a long way.

I would be interested in a reasonably high performance electric motor bike that looked cool - most look really lame currently. They don't seem to make these.

The Lightning LS218 looks pretty good, and is promising extremely high performance (albeit Tesla levels of ridiculously expensive, at US$38k).

Sadly I'm too fat and old now to get back on a bike without looking totally midlife crisis, otherwise I'd be considering something a bit more restrained like a Zero SR.

Nice bikes but still very pricey. I'm thinking more of something with an urban industrial look with a far lower price tag.

Good report, well done Interest.co.nz for getting this commentary .

Who knows , maybe this is the NEXT BIG THING ?

Our power company shares may not be just plodders providing a stable dividend stream , but become a serious long -term play .

My comment above is number 100 (currently ) so its clear that the possible move towards zero-emission electric cars and its likely impact is of significant interest to the public at large and Interest's readers in particular

For what its worth , I am considering an electric car ( Nissan Leaf ) as a runabout/ second car ( we seldom do more than 30 kms per day ) and am trying to figure out how much my power bill will increase.

I will ask my neighbor who runs one and who, being a power supply optimiser professional, has hooked his Leaf charger through a self-built instrumentation set-up which will give a good answer, no doubt to several decimal places.

Hi Boatman, it will come down to how you drive it. For example, when you first get it, you'll enjoy dragging off other cars at the lights so you might double your expected power consumption. To answer your question, a Leaf's energy consumption is rated to be 0.212 kWh/km. If you drive 30km, then you will use 6.36 kW, times this by 30cents/kWh equals ~$2.00 of power a day.

Boatman, my neighbour (the Leaf owner) had, as expected, the answers, on his phone, to exquisite precision. Here they are, raw data. I'll leave you to do the math, because Cost (as opposed to Consumption) depends on your power company, night rates, discounts. But he did mention one thing that you should chase up: Mercury give a 20% discount for EV users. Raw data:

  • Ownership time 15 months
  • Distance travelled 11651 km
  • Power consumed 2192 KwH
  • Cost over that time (averaged) 9.224c/KwH

Hope that helps. Cheers, Wayne.

Its not the "Next big thing" you guys have seen the doco "Who Killed the Electric Car" right ? This has been floating about now since the 1990's are progress has been abysmal despite relatively huge advances in battery technology as well as power semiconductor devices, FET's and IGBT's and yet its still not mainstream.

In terms of "Zero Emissions" you have to consider where the electricity is coming from to charge it and what its going to take to recycle those batteries because that's one hell of a lot harder than stripping petrol cars for the scrap metal.

The zero emissions concern is perhaps relevant in Aust and the US where there is a large contribution to electrical generation from coal. But even this moderated by the fact that the thermal efficiency of a modern coal fired power station approaches 55%. The average ICE is 20%, meaning it is better to park the gas guzzler and use the EV to run on dirty electricity.
Don't agree at all with your last comment. Battery packs for older Prius have a market price for recycling and can be refurbished by replacing some cells and rebalancing. There is an aftermarket industry for this, can be DIY, but dangerous for those without HV DC electrical knowledge

I see from a quick Ctrl-F on this 'ere thread that no-one has said 'Tiwai'.

Which is odd, because when that electricity exporter (in the form of aluminium ingots) closes, it frees up 17% or so of NZ's total generation for Other Uses. So there's the off-vehicle charging source, as long as there are enough three-pin plugs scattered across the land.

But the other aspect to consider is that the EV is currently (sorry) going through the Cambrian Explosion phase of its evolution - dozens of body forms, pin-outs and battery configurations, and charging lead and plug variants.

At some point, preferably soon, there will arise a harmonisation along the following lines:

  • Standard plugs and leads so that any vehicle can charge from a given charge station
  • Slide-out batteries with standard pin-outs so that e.g. heavy vehicle packs can be slid out and a fully charged pack slid in in a few minutes. For cars but more importantly for trucks. Because the real savings will come from the big rigs like the 15-litre diesel towing a B-train to supply yer local supermart (which rail assuredly won't reach anytime soon). Just like gas bottles are swapped now...
  • Cards to allow charging and space occupancy costs - electrons aren't free and neither is the space at the charging station

Eager common taters can doubtless add to this list.

So 'investors', while the Cambrian/EV multiplicity of life-forms were a necessary part of evolution, only 1% actually survived.....Caveat Emptor.

Weren't the quick-replace battery packs part of the initial Nissan spec? Where did they get lost? That would be the way to do it.

No charging infrastructure, drive in, park over the pit, snap out the old, snap in the new, swipe your eftpos cars, drive out.

In about the same time as it takes to fill up with petrol.

No charging stations and associated nonsense.

Slide out batteries have been around 100 years - as has has green fraud.

"The London Electrobus Company was founded in 1906 with an initial fleet of 20 buses. But it closed just a few years later, not because the electric bus was a failure, but because the company was a variant of the 19th century railway scams — it was a fraud.

Which is a tragedy, as the technology, even 100 years ago was actually quite viable.

The batteries didn’t last an entire day, but as they were in a cradle underneath the bus, all that they had to do was drive onto an elevated ramp at lunchtime at the bus depot in Victoria, and the depleted batteries could be swapped over for fresh ones in just three minutes."


Better Place tried quick replace batteries too.
"A start-up named Better Place pioneered replacement batteries for electric cars in Israel and Denmark and raised nearly $1 billion in funding. It had initially set up a small network of battery-swapping stations that allow Israeli and Danish electric car owners to replace spent batteries with new, charged ones within a few minutes; these drivers no longer have to wait hours recharging their battery.

The company had predicted 100,000 electric cars on Israeli roads (paywall) by 2010 two years prior; instead, there were fewer than than 1,000 cars in Israel and a few hundred in Denmark when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2013. Let’s hope France’s attempts to join the space aren’t as much of a colossal disaster."