The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has given permission to electric vehicles (EVs) to use the 11 priority bypass lanes on state highways in Auckland as part of a trial for 12 months beginning this month. 

The agency’s initiative is set to support the government’s aim to significantly increase the usage of EVs in the country that could result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. 

NZTA Safety and Environment director Harry Wilson said: "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. 

"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." 

"This is an important step in reducing the amount of emissions produced by our vehicle fleet."

Recent changes made to the land transport rules have enabled authorities to make bylaws to allow EVs to use special vehicle lanes such as for transit. 

After completing all the viability assessments taking into account potential safety issues and impacts on traffic flow and public transport, the agency identified 11 lanes suitable for the trial when performance will be monitored. 

Installation of signs and road markings on the selected lanes will begin next week, with all lanes expected to be open to EVs by the end of the month. 

An information pack about the trial will be sent to EV owners listed on the motor vehicle register including stickers to help other motorists identify electric cars.