Auckland electric vehicle owners may be able to glide through peak-hour traffic a little faster this month after being granted access to five priority lanes around the city.
Running from Monday to March 20, the New Zealand Transport Agency trial lets electric vehicles to drive in some T2 lanes, normally designed for trucks and cars carrying two or more passengers.
It aims to encourage more people to choose electric vehicles and thereby reduce greenhouse emissions, the NZTA's Robert Brodnax says.
It will also help prepare the way for a planned rule change from July 1, enabling road authorities and council's across New Zealand to grant electric vehicles access to special lanes.
The trial covers five T2 lanes leading onto motorways in Mangere, Henderson and Mt Wellington.
The NZTA said it considered concerns over whether there would be an impact on traffic flow and whether it posed a safety risk to cyclists due to the vehicles being silent.
During submissions into the plan, it also received complaints two weeks was too short and heard arguments at least six months would be needed for a proper trial.
But NZTA said it had concluded the trial was long enough for its purposes.
"The purpose of the trial is to inform requirements for road preparation, communications with road users and determine potential journey benefits relating to priority bypass lanes," it said.
The trial is taking place in March, when commuter traffic is at its most congested in Auckland.
Auckland Transport is this week putting on extra public services to meet demand and warning commuters to travel off-peak when possible.