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What is the Auckland Electric Vehicle Trial?

The Auckland Electric Vehicle Trial will enable electric vehicles access to five specific priority bypass lanes, controlled by the Transport Agency, for a set period. This trial will help inform the design and roll out of long term electric vehicle access to special vehicle lanes, and run for 14 days between 6 and 20 March 2017.

What is a priority bypass lane?

A motorway onramp designed to bypass ramp signals for qualifying vehicles (T2 and truck lanes).

Who can participate in the trial?

Drivers of electric vehicles displaying the “EV” sticker provided by the Transport Agency – under the Auckland Electric Vehicle Trial Bylaw the sticker must be displayed on the window of electric vehicles that participate in the trial.

For the purpose of this trial an electric vehicle is a vehicle that is wholly or partly fuelled by a battery which is charged by plugging into an electric power point. Conventional hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid, that cannot plug-in are not eligible for the trial.

How will I be able to identify who is participating in the trial?

Electric vehicles participating in the trial will be identified with a sticker.

Why are there only five lanes in the trial?

The Transport Agency has 16 priority bypass lanes in Auckland; five lanes were considered suitable for the purpose of the short trial based on:

  • minimising the potential for causing confusion and harm and
  • safe lane entry and exit.

Following the initial review; six lanes were considered suitable for the purpose of the short trial, and included in the bylaw consultation documentation. However, further assessment  of Grafton Road, which is currently a truck only lane, deemed that it is not suitably configured for use by any light vehicle at this time; as such it has been removed from the two week trial. 

How will I know what lanes are part of the trial?

The eligible special vehicle lanes are listed here [PDF, 1.9 MB].

All priority bypass lanes included in the trial will be marked by a travel advisory sign at the start of the lane. 

Why does the trial allow electric vehicles in priority bypass lanes only?

Priority bypass lanes enable faster access to motorways, shortening an electric vehicle driver’s journey time. Utilising only priority bypass lanes during the trial enables the Transport Agency to assess the viability of allowing electric vehicles in special vehicle lanes, without this being too disruptive to our transport network more generally.

Will electric vehicles be allowed in bus only lanes?

Following expected legislative changes, it will be up to individual road controlling authorities to make bylaws for the lanes that are assessed as viable for electric vehicles to operate in – including transit lanes, high-occupancy lanes, priority bypass lanes and bus lanes. 

How will the trial affect me?

If you drive an electric vehicle you will be able to use specified priority bypass lanes as outlined in the bylaw for the two week period.

If you currently use the lanes specified in the bylaw you may see a slight increase in traffic in those lanes. Other drivers should see no or minimal difference in traffic volume.

Why are you doing such a short trial?

The trial is a snapshot in time to help the Transport Agency understand the impact and viability of allowing electric vehicles into special vehicles lanes, including traffic volumes and journey times for electric vehicle and other drivers. The outcome of the trial will be used to determine if other lanes are viable.

How will the Transport Agency measure the trial and the impact of EVs on special vehicle lanes during the trial?

The trial will be evaluated using qualitative methods, including:

  • a survey - Auckland-based electric vehicle owners on the motor vehicle register will be sent an information pack prior to the trial asking that they complete a survey at the end of the trial period;
  • monitoring social media, such as Facebook;
  • media interest and commentary;
  • public feedback provided to the Transport Agency, through the Contact Centre, the EV email address and other government agencies;
  • engagement with key stakeholders, including the Bus and Coach Association.

Is it legal to have electric vehicles in special vehicle lanes?

The Auckland Electric Vehicles Trial Bylaw 2017 legally enables electric vehicles access to the specified priority bypass lanes from 6 to 20 March 2017.

It is illegal for electric vehicles to access special vehicles lanes not specified in the bylaw; it is also illegal for electric vehicles to access the specified special vehicles lanes outside of the trial period (6 to 20 March 2017).

How do I participate in the trial?

In February 2017, the Transport Agency will send an information pack to all Auckland-based electric vehicle owners on the motor vehicle register; this will include a sticker to identify the vehicle as part of the trial. If the owner decides to participate in the trial, nder the Auckland Electric Vehicle Trial Bylaw, they must display the “EV” sticker on the window of their electric vehicle from 6 to 20 March 2017 – ideally the rear, or rear right-hand side, window.

If an electric vehicle owner is based outside the Auckland Region, but will be driving in Auckland during the trial period, they will be able to request an information pack from the Transport Agency by emailing evprogramme@nzta.govt.nz.

Will single occupancy electric vehicles be allowed to participate in the trial?

Yes.

The purpose of Government’s Electric Vehicle Programme is to increase the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand to reduce gas emissions.  Allowing electric vehicles access to viable special vehicle lanes will help encourage New Zealanders to decide that their next car will be an electric vehicle, reducing emissions that come from the country’s vehicle fleet. 

How will the trial incentivise electric vehicle uptake?

Enabling electric vehicles access to special vehicle lanes may shorten journey time for electric vehicle drivers.

When will electric vehicles be allowed in special vehicle lanes long-term?

The Transport Agency is working with the Ministry of Transport on amending legislation to enable road controlling authorities, such as councils and the Transport Agency, to make bylaws allowing electric vehicles to use special vehicle lanes.

The legislative changes are expected to come into force on 1 July 2017 and involve changing the Land Transport Act 1998, Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 and Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004.

Following the changes it will be up to individual road controlling authorities to make bylaws for the lanes that are assessed as viable for electric vehicles to operate in. 

What is a special vehicle lane?

Special vehicle lanes include transit lanes, high-occupancy lanes, priority bypass lanes and bus lanes. 

Will electric vehicles still be allowed in viable special vehicle lanes when they outnumber other vehicles?

Road controlling authorities constantly measure the productivity of roads, including congestion.

If a special vehicle lane is considered viable for use by electric vehicles, the Transport Agency will use a set of performance metrics to monitor the lane. These will give us an early indication if the lane or wider network is, or could be, negatively affected, and we will reassess the viability of allowing electric vehicles in that lane. 

What else is the Transport Agency doing, other than the trial, to allow electric vehicles in special vehicle lanes?

The Transport Agency is considering electric vehicle access in existing and new roading projects, including existing motorway corridors and interchanges. The Transport Agency will not be able to enable electric vehicles access to special vehicle lanes until the proposed legislative changes are made.

How do I find out more?

For more information email evprogramme@nzta.govt.nz.

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