Electric vehicles are set to share special vehicle lanes on Auckland roads, thanks to a new initiative by the NZTA.
The eleven lanes will be dotted around some of Auckland’s busiest intersections for the next 12 months, from Albany in the north to Papakura in the south.
The initiative is to support the government’s mission to increase EV uptake in New Zealand and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.
Back in March, the NZTA piloted five different lanes in various areas across Henderson, Mangere and Mt Wellington. Out of 978 invites, 68 participated in the trial.
Of those, 70% of participants used the special lanes. 30% said the lanes were not in areas near their usual commute.
80% said that if the trial lanes were made available to EV drivers long term, they would use them and survey results suggested little to no impact on other drivers.
Social media feedback also responded to the trial, with some respondents saying that public transport should be a priority and EVs are a benefit for the rich who can afford the vehicles.
According to NZTA, an EV is one that is partly or entirely powered by battery that can be charged through electricity. Non-plugin hybrids are not counted as EVs and aren’t allowed to use the lanes.
“Encouraging more New Zealanders to choose an EV for their daily transport needs, rather than conventional diesel or petrol vehicles, is an important step in reducing the amount of emissions produced by our vehicle fleet,” says transport agency director for safety and the environment, Harry Wilson.
The 12-month trial was carefully prepared, according to NZTA. It conducted viability assessments of all of Auckland’s special vehicle lanes, making sure safety issues, impacts on public transport and traffic flow were all considered.
Road marking and signage is already being carried out; with the lanes expected to be open to EVs by the end of the months. NZTA is still advising EV drivers to take note of signage.
EV drivers listed on the motor vehicle register will receive an information pack and EV sticker for their vehicles to show that their car is an eligible vehicle.
“While the Transport Agency will continue to assess lanes on state highways for suitability for EV access, it will be up to local and regional councils to decide on a case by case basis whether or not to allow EVs to access individual special vehicle lanes on local roads,” Wilson adds.