New Zealand’s Clean Car Discount boosts electrified vehicle sales

New Zealand’s Clean Car Discount policy, which offers rebates for electric and low emission vehicles, has been driving a big increase in electrified vehicle uptake and making a real contribution to the country’s climate goals, according to Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.

The policy, which was introduced in July 2021, has granted over 156,000 rebates to EV and hybrid customers as of September 2023. Electrified vehicles now make up more than half of all new vehicles and used imports registered in New Zealand. The upsurge has been kick-started by the Clean Car Discount, and the climate benefits are all too clear: average emissions from newly-registered vehicles have dropped by nearly 33 per cent since July 2021.

New Zealand’s Clean Car Discount boosts electrified vehicle sales
New Zealand’s Clean Car Discount boosts electrified vehicle sales

“This Government’s Clean Car Discount policy is already contributing to New Zealand’s steady reduction in climate emissions, and that effect will accelerate as we continue to electrify the vehicle fleet. Removing the discount would put our climate goals in jeopardy,” Hipkins said.

Scheme targets more fuel efficient vehicles

Transport Minister David Parker said the latest data confirmed the success of the Clean Car Discount. He also announced some targeted changes to the scheme to maintain its momentum and ensure its self-funding until its next review.

“We are targeting rebates for new and used imports emitting less than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre compared to 146 grams under the original scheme. This will include battery electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrids,” Parker said.

He added that the rebate for used EV imports would also increase, meaning New Zealanders would save up to $3,507 per vehicle, helping many low and middle income New Zealanders get into lower emitting vehicles they otherwise couldn’t afford.

The scheme is forecast to save New Zealand from importing 1.4 billion litres of petrol. At current prices the economy will save an average of $325 million a year on fuel, out to 2035.

Scheme imposes charges on high emission vehicles

To fund the changes to make it easier for New Zealanders to purchase cleaner imports, the government is also adjusting charges on high emission vehicles. This includes vehicles like utes which are amongst the highest emitting vehicles within the fleet.

“The threshold vehicles will be subject to charges will reduce from 192 grams of CO2 per kilometre to 150 grams, and charges will increase. New and used imports that meet or exceed the threshold will attract charges,” Parker said.

He said that the charges were necessary to create a level playing field for low emission vehicles and to discourage the purchase of high emission vehicles that contribute to climate change and air pollution.

The government also introduced a special rebate for new and used low emission disability vehicles, recognising the limited options available for people with disabilities.

Scheme receives positive feedback from EV owners

The Clean Car Discount has received positive feedback from EV owners who have benefited from the rebates. A research by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) found that 62 per cent of EV owners bought their EVs sooner than they otherwise would have because of the Clean Car Discount.

One of them is Sarah Jones, who bought a used Nissan Leaf in August 2023 with a rebate of $3,450. She said that the discount made a big difference in her decision to switch to an EV.

“I was always interested in getting an EV, but I was worried about the cost and availability. When I heard about the Clean Car Discount, I decided to go for it. It was a great deal and I’m very happy with my car. It’s cheaper to run, better for the environment, and fun to drive,” she said.

She also praised the government for its efforts to promote EVs and reduce emissions.

“I think it’s a smart move by the government to incentivise people to buy EVs. It’s good for our country and our planet. I hope more people will take advantage of the scheme and join the EV revolution,” she said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *