So early this year, John Key kicked off a summit to generate ideas to improve NZ. Not too much came from it, mainly a cycle-way. Its taken me a while, but heres my big idea:
Make all our cars electric.
Ok, its not a guaranteed success, but… heres some quick numbers:
2.5 million passenger vehicles in new zealand, travelling on average 12500kms/year, using (on average), 10 litres of petrol per hundred kilometres, at $1.69/litre… equals: 2.5mill*125*10*1.69=
so, every year NZ spends around $5 billion NZD in fuel.
So, the big idea is… spend it on something that has a big payback. Electrify the car fleet. All of them.
Heres a super-quick cost/benefit, based on made up numbers:
1. Remove our dependency on foreign fuel, release about $5 billion in overseas spending
2. Spend the $5 billion on upgrading our electricity network, R+D into new/better ways of generating electricity. We need to do this anyway, since our electricity demands will continue to increase. No coal plants, but green-tech.
3. Centralise pollution to the electricity generation centers, rather than the impossible to police distributed pollution centers that are cars.
4. Reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, actually achieving something re: kyoto, instead of some random “spend money to make ourselves feel better” emissions trading scheme or some other nonsense.
5. Sell our new-found expertise in green-tech, electrification, R+D to other places. Actually kick start some R+D, and niche expertise that is actually worth something.
6. Continue to save $5 billion. Per year.
So what would it take? A lot of leadership, and some capital spending. We need:
1. Infrastructure. Electricity generation would need to be increased a lot. However, we need to do this anyway to cope with increased demand. So we have to answer the question.
2. More infrastructure, electricity outlets. Probably in service stations.
3. A selection of electric vehicles.
4. Increases in petrol tax to pay for subsidies to change to electric vehicles.
5. R+D funds in the identified areas.
6. A million other things… I know.
This is the kind of big thinking I want to see from New Zealand. Not just a cycle-way (although I love the cycle-way!), but someone with the guts to have a ‘big idea’, think it through, and to do it.
What do you think? Is this crazy? Problems? Greg for Prime Minister?