Electric Vehicle Programme

Last updated: 5 November 2017
In May 2016, the Minister of Transport announced a package of measures to increase the uptake of EVs in New Zealand to remove barriers that have prevented households and business from choosing EVs. Current barriers to EV uptake include the limited selection of models available; a lack of widespread public charging infrastructure; and lack of awareness about EVs.

The benefits of increasing EV uptake are far-reaching - they are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel vehicles, they are powered by New Zealand's abundant renewable electricity supply, and will reduce the emissions that come from the country's vehicle fleet.

The Electric Vehicles Programme includes:

A target of doubling the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand every year to reach approximately 64,000 by 2021;
Extending the Road User Charges exemption on light electric vehicles until they make up two percent of the light vehicle fleet;
A new Road User Charges exemption for heavy electric vehicles until they make up two percent of the heavy vehicle fleet;
Work across Government and the 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 nation-wide electric vehicle information and promotion campaign over five years;
A contestable fund of up to $7 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; Review of tax depreciation rates and the method for calculating fringe benefit tax for electric vehicles to ensure electric vehicles are not being unfairly disadvantaged;
and Establishing an electric vehicles leadership group across business, local and central government.

The package aims to address barriers to the uptake of electric vehicles, including the limited supply of models in New Zealand, lack of awareness and misconceptions about electric vehicles, and a lack of widespread public charging infrastructure. A number of agencies (namely Ministry of Transport, NZTA, Worksafe New Zealand, and MBIE) are involved in delivering this programme. EECA's responsibility is to deliver two of the programmes - an information campaign and the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund. The fund is to encourage innovation and investment that will accelerate uptake of electric and other low emission vehicles in New Zealand that might not otherwise occur, so we can rapidly reduce carbon emissions from road transport.

The first round of the fund opened in September 2016. This investment focus was on demonstration projects that result in replication and scaling-up opportunities, increased visibility of EVs and associated infrastructure, as well as increased consumer confidence in the viability of these technologies. In January 2017 $3.5 million co-funding was awarded to 15 projects that will demonstrate and showcase low emission vehicle technologies in high-profile, visible ways that will help to normalise these technologies. Three fast charge stations, two electric taxis, the first pod (group of cars and charging stations) of an electric car share operation and some supermarket delivery vans were some of the successful projects. The second round, with the same investment focus, closed in April 2017, with 43 eligible applicants seeking $9 million of the $3 million co-funding available. The successful projects for funding from the second round of the low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund were announced in August 2017. The third round funded 20 projects with funding of $3.74 million. Round four results were announced in August 2018 with 19 applicants receiving $3.87 million in funding. Round five closed at the end of 2018 with announcements made in 2019. Round six will open in August 2019.

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