"Government policies on electric cars is a winner on all counts."
The reality is that it is nonsense on stilts. No matter which way you look at it, it is madness.
Poor people will be worse off because the policies will increase the cost of second-hand cars. People who live in the country or run a business that needs pickups or minivans will have to pay more even though an electric vehicle is not an option.
The chances are that subsidised electric cars won’t make much difference to emissions because the extra electricity needed can only come from burning more coal at Huntly power station. When the CO2 emitted during battery production is taken into account, worldwide emissions may well increase.
When it comes to emissions of particulates, the extra weight of electric cars means that particulates from tire and brake wear are about 20% greater. As they are now a major source of transport particulates, this is not a trivial matter.
The government seems to be ignorant of the problems surrounding batteries. 60% of the cost of batteries is raw materials and, due to increasing demand, prices are going up. To provide all the batteries needed to fulfil the government policies in the Western world, many new mines will be needed. Experience tells us that it takes 16 years to develop a new mine so, at the best, it could be 20 years before the price of raw materials drops substantially – or a brand-new battery technology is developed and implemented. Alternatively, there could be a collapse in the international demand for electric vehicles so New Zealand could import cheap vehicles that nobody else wants.
The underlying problem is the electric car industry only exists because governments have provided direct and indirect subsidies for electric cars in the mistaken belief that it is a cheap and effective way of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. It is not.
The government has ignored the potential for conventional cars to become much more efficient. New engines that are 50% more efficient and have 70% of the emissions of current technology our now being trialed. Compared with them, an electric car has no advantages.
According to the American Economic Association, the cost of reducing carbon dioxide by promoting electric cars is between $400/tonne and $1000 per tonne. There are many better and cheaper ways of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide such as more efficient internal combustion engines, switching to reliable and safe nuclear power and reducing coal consumption at Huntly by developing our gas resources.
Everyone seems to assume that people will want to buy electric cars when the reality is that an electric car resembles a conventional car with a tiny fuel tank that takes more than half an hour to fill. Why would anyone want to buy a vehicle that is substantially more inconvenient and expensive? Perhaps this is why 18% to 20% of US electric car owners revert to conventional cars.
Every way you look at it, the electric car policy is a disaster for poor people, the nation and the environment.
 Supported by https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/stock/files/gillingham_stock_cost_080218_posted.pdf
Bryan Leyland is a Consulting Engineer with wide interests in modern technology. "Things you know that ain’t so" is a column in which he exposes the truth behind popular misconceptions.