Government announces multi-million package for electric vehicles

The government has announced a package to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles on New Zealand roads.

The government has announced a package to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) on New Zealand roads, with a target of 64,000 EVs by 2021.

There are currently just over 1000 registered EVs in New Zealand, with only eight models available and 142 charging stations, according to Drive Electric.

Speaking at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said New Zealand is an “electric vehicle-ready country” and they are the future of transport.

"A move from petrol and diesel to low emission transport is a natural evolution, and it is our aim to encourage that switch sooner, rather than later,” Mr Bridges said.

“The benefits of increasing uptake of electric vehicles are far reaching. They’re cheaper to run than petrol or diesel vehicles, they’re powered by our abundant renewable electricity supply, and they’ll reduce the amount of emissions that come from the country’s vehicle fleet.”

The package seeks to remove barriers for EVs and promote their use.

“The government can’t tackle these barriers alone. That’s why we’ve been working closely with the private sector and local government over the last year on what measures we can take that will have the greatest impact,” Mr Bridges says.

The government package includes:

  • extending the road user charges exemption on light electric vehicles and a new until they make up 2% of the light vehicle fleet;

  • a new road user charges exemption for heavy electric vehicles until they make up 2% of the heavy vehicle fleet;

  • work across government and private sector to investigate the bulk purchase of electric vehicles;

  • government agencies coordinating activities to support the development and roll-out of public charging infrastructure including providing information and guidance;

  • $1 million annually for a nationwide electric vehicle information and promotion campaign over five years;

  • a contestable fund of up to $6 million per year to encourage and support innovative low emission vehicle projects;

  • allowing electric vehicles in bus lanes and high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the state highway network and local roads; and

  • a review of tax depreciation rates and the method for calculating fringe benefit tax to ensure electric vehicles are not being unfairly disadvantaged.

Prime Minister John Key and Transport Minister Simon Bridges (Photo: Tinaz Karbhari)

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