Moderation and timing needed to save the planet

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Terry Sage of Trades Coaching New Zealand

Terry Sage of Trades Coaching New Zealand, despite risking being placed on a Greenpeace hitlist, points out the downsides to a couple of favoured current and future Green technologies.


How many times have you had a conversation about “red tape” and government intervention — and how it makes your job so much harder and just ends up costing more money without any practical gain?

The answer to that question is way too many times and, guess what? They’re trying to do it again.

The scary thing is their timing, as the day before this particular government announcement was made I was on the phone arranging a test drive to decide if I should buy the 4.7 litre or 5.7 litre V8. I have had the phone checked for bugs.

So what was this great announcement? It was an offer to buy electric and receive an $8000 discount, or buy a gas-guzzling monster and pay $3000.

Really? What are they thinking? Actually, I don’t think they are thinking at all, or not thinking rationally anyway.

Before I get labelled anti-environmentalist and end up on a Greenpeace hitlist, I am all for saving the planet. I just believe in moderation and timing.

Also, I’m by no means an expert on Green stuff, and certainly can’t call myself an authority on batteries, diodes and condensers, but I do read and I do listen to things.

Electric vehicles in the brochures sound a no-brainer — zero emissions, 100km for less than a tube of M&Ms, fancy displays on the dashboard — come on, who wouldn’t want one? But what aren’t they including in the glossy stuff?

I will be the first to say I can’t guarantee the following points are 100% factual; rather, they are snippets from things I have heard or read.

Let’s look at the batteries. Apparently a certain component to make them — lithium — comes from a very limited supply source.

The demand for this raw source has turned a few areas into lawless societies, with massive increases in crime and black markets.

Like all batteries, they don’t last forever, and the demand for replacements is outstripping the ability to manufacture them which, in any economy, pushes the price up and up.

Plus the older the battery the less power you get out of it equals fewer kilometres between plug-ins.

With regards to servicing, people I know paid $9 for a full service which is cool. But then I’ve heard of another invoice for $1200 for a standard checkover — go figure.

Talking to a mechanic the other day, it seems very few garages actually know what to do to these cars.

Then comes the purchase price. Do you really want to pay that much for a car that won’t get you to the beach and back without an overnight stop and a long extension lead?

There’s all this talk about carbon footprints — well, one article said the footprint to produce an electric car is many times larger than a standard smoky car.

The announcement listed the most popular electric cars, those being the good old Hiace and, of course, a ute — standard equipment for the construction industry,

Can you imagine running a trade-based operation with a fleet of Duracell play cars? Well, actually I can, but not for another 10 years or so, hopefully sooner.

We were nowhere 10 years ago, but in another 10 years we may be everywhere, including cheap electric vehicles that can travel 1000km before needing a plug-in.

So Beehive do-gooders, think before you try and force us to pay more money or end up with a car that won’t suit.

Yes, the intent is moving in the right direction, but you are way too early people. And you are running to your usual mandate — over-promising and under-delivering!

Unfortunately, as I said, the timing piqued my frustration, and I’m a self-confessed petrolhead. I can’t even bring myself to buy diesel, and I’m really trying, honest.

Then to tell me my 5.7 litre V8 Hemi might come with a $3000 invoice just ruined my bacon and egg brekky that morning.