The NZ Transport Agency today announced that electric vehicles (EVs) will be allowed to use 11 priority bypass lanes on state highways in Auckland for a 12 month trial, starting this month.
“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 Harry Wilson, Transport Agency Director – Safety and Environment.
The Transport Agency is working to support the Government’s aim of significantly increasing the uptake of EVs in New Zealand to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Giving EV drivers the opportunity to use select bypass lanes on motorway on-ramps, providing faster access to the motorway and reducing travel times, is one of a number of incentives to increase EV uptake,” explains Mr Wilson.
Recent changes to Land Transport Rules have enabled road controlling authorities, such as the NZ Transport Agency and local and regional councils, to make bylaws to allow EVs to use special vehicle lanes such as transit lanes.
As the road controlling authority in control of the state highway network, the Transport Agency has undertaken viability assessments of all special vehicle lanes on Auckland’s state highways taking into account potential safety issues and impacts on traffic flow and public transport. Following these assessments, 11 lanes were found to be suitable for this 12 month trial, during which lane performance will be monitored.
Work to prepare the selected lanes with the required signs and road markings will commence in the next week, with all lanes expected to be open to EVs by the end of the month. EV drivers must check the signage at the start of each lane to ensure they are eligible to use the special vehicle lane.
“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,” Mr Wilson says.
EV owners listed on the motor vehicle register will receive an information pack about the trial, including an EV sticker for their vehicle that will help other motorists easily identify that the car is electric.
An EV is a vehicle that is partly or wholly powered by a battery that can be charged by connecting to an external source of electricity. Conventional hybrids that cannot plug-in are not EVs and are not eligible to use special vehicle lanes that allow for EV access.
For more information about the special vehicle lanes that are part of the trial visit www.nzta.govt.nz/ev-special-vehicle-lanes(external link).
For more information about electric vehicles visit www.electricvehicles.govt.nz(external link).