Taking another step towards becoming the Norway of the Pacific, the New Zealand government has stepped up its plans to increase the number of electric vehicles sold in this small nation. New Zealand has a population of almost 5 million. The government has introduced a clean car discount which took effect in April 2022 to help New Zealand achieve its goal to become carbon neutral by making zero- and low-emission vehicles more affordable.
Criteria apply. For example, the light vehicle must cost less than NZD$80,000. For the maximum rebate ($7,500), the vehicle must be zero emissions. In a bonus malus scheme, vehicles that emit a high amount of CO2 are charged an extra $4,500 (maximum) at first registration. Of course, this meant a record number (over 21,000) of fossil fueled cars were sold in March 2022. Electric vehicles remained popular in March also, as 1,777 pure electrics and 431 plugin hybrids (PHEVs) were sold. The Tesla Model 3 was the highest selling EV. Over 13% of new cars sales in New Zealand are plugins. This figure has doubled in the past 12 months.
“Climate change is impacting our planet and while New Zealand is a small emitter by global standards, our per person greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are amongst the highest in the developed world. We’ve committed to reducing GHG emissions to net zero by 2050 to pull our weight in the global challenge to reduce emissions. Land transport is part of the problem — it accounts for about 47% of GHG emissions, 90% of which are from road transport. Light vehicles account for two-thirds of road transport emissions and are the fastest growing source,” the New Zealand government writes.
“More than half a billion dollars is earmarked for a scheme to help low-income households scrap ‘dirty’ vehicles for cleaner alternatives such as electric vehicles. A ‘social leasing’ scheme will lease ‘clean’ vehicles to low-income people. Transport Minister Michael Wood said the scrap-and-replace scheme could eventually extend to ‘tens of thousands of families’, with the eligibility threshold around the median household income, which was $89,127 in 2021. Any new buses used for public transport will have to be zero-emission by 2025.”
It’s not just about EVs. The NZ government is planning to bring in congestion charges (similar to European cities) and improve cycleways to get people out of cars altogether. Australia would be wise to follow their example.