Dr Debbie Hopkins and Dr Michelle Scott. Rising awareness of the environmental impacts of dominant mobility practices led to the development of the sustainable mobility paradigm. This paradigm advocates three features of a mobility system: 1. A reduced need to travel, 2. Modal shift towards more sustainable options, and 3. Reduced vehicle kilometres travelled.
In this paper, two sets of data are presented to explore the potential of electric vehicles to contribute to a more sustainable mobility system. First, data from an international Delphi of transport experts shows how a sustainable future can be characterised by different features: efficient internal combustion engine vehicles, electric vehicles, and reduced personal car ownership. Thus electric vehicles are presented as both an opportunity and a threat in relation to sustainable mobility. A second body of empirical material is drawn from interviews with electric vehicle owners, and discusses the drivers and barriers to ownership.
Interestingly, participants suggest changing mobility practices associated with electric vehicle ownership, evidenced by decreasing kilometres travelled. The paper concludes by suggesting that there may be potential for electric vehicles to contribute to a sustainable mobility future through modified mobility practices and renewable energy sources in New Zealand.