Electric vehicles are vehicles charged from an external electricity source.

They can be powered in two ways:

  1. solely by electric batteries. These are commonly known as pure electric vehicles; or
  2. a combination of electric batteries and a petrol or diesel engine. These are commonly known as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Electric Vehicles Programme

On 5 May 2016 the Government announced its Electric Vehicles Programme, which aims to increase the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand.

The package also aims to develop the electric vehicle market in New Zealand, and the supporting infrastructure for that market.

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 $6 million per year to encourage and support innovative low emission vehicle projects
  • Enabling road controlling authorities to allow electric vehicles access to special vehicle lanes
  • 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
  • Review ACC levies for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
  • 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.

Transport Ministers announce more funding and support for EVs

Today's announcements by Minister Bridges and Associate Minister Collins signal more progress towards a future where EVs on New Zealand's roads make up a significant proportion of our transport fleet.

EV charging infrastructure guidance released

The guidance is targeted at those setting up charging facilities for electric vehicles and aims to achieve alignments across charging station operators, giving New Zealanders confidence that they will be able to charge their electric vehicles away from home.

This guidance will help ensure New Zealand's public charging infrastructure and national network is standardised, safe, reliable and consistent.

For more information, find it on the NZTA website (external link)

Electric buses, electric taxis, and Smart Street Poles on NZ roads in 2017

Fifteen projects have been conditionally approved to receive funding from the Low Emissions Vehicles Contestable Fund.

Projects include the use of 100% electric delivery vans, a car share scheme using electric vehicles, an electric taxi fleet trial, two electric bus trials, seven charging infrastructure projects and the establishment of a facility to convert heavy vehicles to electric power.

These projects will help accelerate the uptake of EVs. Increasing the number of electric vehicles on New Zealand roads will result in long-term reductions in carbon emissions from road transport.

For more information, find it on the EECA website (external link)

Enabling road controlling authorities to allow electric vehicles access to special vehicle lanes

The Government agreed to an initiative to enable road controlling authorities (RCAs) to make bylaws to allow electric vehicles access to special vehicle lanes (including transit, high occupancy vehicle, priority bypass, and bus lanes). Changes to the Land Transport Act 1998 and Land Transport Rules are required to implement the initiative.

Changes to the Land Transport Act 1998 will be made through the Energy Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Bill , which is currently before Parliament.

Changes to the Land Transport Rules are being led by the Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency.

Tax depreciation and fringe benefits tax for electric vehicles

As part of the Electric Vehicles Programme, Inland Revenue were asked to review the tax depreciation rate, and the method used to calculate Fringe Benefit Tax, for electric vehicles. Inland Revenue are seeking information from people that have made their own analysis or assessment of electric vehicles. Download the survey here [PDF, 225 KB].

Energy Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

The Bill introduces an exemption from RUC for heavy electric vehicles, and a provision to enable Road Controlling Authorities to allow electric vehicles access to special vehicle lanes. It also makes changes to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) levy funding, and clarifies how electricity industry legislation applies to secondary networks.

Low Emission Vehicles Contestable fund open for applications

Low Emissions Contestable Fund

Information about the Contestable Fund at EECA

Reducing transport emissions requires a range of measures, of which increasing the use of low emissions vehicles is just one. See here for details on other Government measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.

Leadership Group

The Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced the Leadership Group for the Electric Vehicles Programme.

Members of the Group are:

  • Peter Mersi, Secretary for Transport, Chair
  • Andrew Caseley, Chief Executive, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority
  • Abbie Reynolds, Executive Director, Sustainable Business Council
  • Mark Gilbert, Independent Director and Chair
  • Fraser Whineray, Chief Executive, Mercury NZ Limited
  • Gary Nalder, Director Asset Finance, Westpac, and Board member, Drive Electric
  • David Crawford, Chief Executive, Motor Industry Association
  • Simon MacKenzie, Chief Executive, Vector Limited
  • Mike Noon, General Manager Motoring Affairs, AA
  • David Vinsen, Chief Executive, Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association.


Electric vehicle information campaign launched

RUC exemption extended for light EVs

Transport Minister, Simon Bridges, has announced a longer exemption from RUC for light EVs.

EECA Funding Levy

New Zealand Government Procurement seeks addtitional providers

ACC levies on electric vehicles

ACC levy rates for 2017/18 and 2018/19 ACC will see owners of all electric vehicles (including owners of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) pay reduced ACC levies as part of their annual vehicle licensing. This reflects a saving of around $68 per annum for EV owners. The changes come into effect from 1 July 2017.

The change is an interim measure which supports the Electric Vehicles Programme, and allows further work to be done on how the ACC levy system accommodates new vehicle technologies.

New Zealand is well suited to an electric vehicle fleet

New Zealand is well positioned to benefit from electric vehicles because:

  • Currently around 80 percent of our electricity is generated from renewable sources. Even if all vehicles on the road were electric, there are sufficient consented renewable generation projects to cover this demand.
  • New Zealand’s has a target for 90 percent renewable electricity generation by 2025. Because of our high level of renewable energy, the emission reduction benefits of electric vehicles in New Zealand are greater than in other countries.
  • New Zealand’s 230-volt system enables easy charging from existing electricity outlets.
  • Around 85 percent of New Zealand homes have off-street parking, meaning electric vehicles can be charged easily overnight at home.
  • New Zealanders have a low average commute, with drivers in urban centres clocking up about 22 kilometres a day — a distance the batteries in today’s electric vehicles can handle easily. 95 percent of daily travel demand is for distances less than 120 kilometres, which is within range of electric vehicles (approximately 150 kilometres per charge).

Download a fact sheet about electric vehicles in New Zealand [PDF, 196 KB]

For further information, read the questions and answers about electric vehicles on the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) website (external link) .