What you need to know
Electric vehicles (EVs) are vehicles that run on electricity and which can be plugged in to recharge. They can be powered solely by electric batteries, known as pure electric vehicles, or a combination of batteries and a conventional engine, called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
The Government is keen to support the uptake of electric vehicles alongside other low-emission forms of transport. Electric vehicles will not only help us to reduce climate damaging emissions but also reduce harmful local air pollution. Supporting the uptake of electric vehicles also supports the Government’s overall drive towards a net-zero emissions economy.
National electric vehicle charging strategy
On 6 October 2023, Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport released ‘Charging our future: National electric vehicle charging strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand 2023–2035’.
The strategy outlines the Government’s long-term strategic vision for a national electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure that can support a growing EV fleet, while helping New Zealand meet its climate commitments.
The strategy was informed by consultation on a draft EV charging strategy in May 2023.
Road user charges exemption for light electric vehicles extended until 31 March 2024
To continue to encourage the uptake of light electric vehicles, their owners do not need to pay road user charges until 31 March 2024.
Introduction of CO2 emission standard for imported new and used light vehicles announced
EV Leadership Group disestablished
When the group was established, EVs were in the early phase of adoption. With an increasing number of EVs on our roads and wider work across government to reduce carbon emissions, the group’s focus had become too narrow, and so it was disestablished.
Road User Charges (RUC) exemption for heavy electric vehicles took effect
The Energy Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Act included legislation to introduce an RUC exemption for heavy electric vehicles such as buses and trucks, until they make up 2% of the heavy vehicle fleet.
ACC levy reduction takes effect
ACC levy rates for 2017/18 and 2018/19 meant owners of all EVs paid reduced ACC levies as part of their annual vehicle licensing. This reflected a saving of around NZD$68 each year for EV owners. The changes took effect on 1 July 2017.
EVs access to special vehicle lanes came into effect
The Energy Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017 amended the Land Transport Act 1998 to allow Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs) to make bylaws to identify EVs as a class of vehicle that can access special vehicle lanes. This also required changes to the Road User Rule and the Traffic Control Devices Rule. The rule changes were progressed separately under section 152A of the Land Transport Act 1998.
EV charging guidance published
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency worked closely with local and central government agencies, power companies, technology providers and the motor industry to develop and publish guidance on public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
First round of contestable fund projects announced
The Government established a contestable fund of NZD$6 million to support projects that encourage innovation and investment in EVs and other low emissions vehicles in New Zealand.
Road user charges exemption extended
On 22 September 2016, the RUC exemption for light electric vehicles was extended until 31 December 2021. This saves the average electric vehicle driver approximately NZD$600 per vehicle each year.
Leadership group established
In August 2016, the Minister of Transport established an Electric Vehicles Programme Leadership Group across business, local and central government, to champion the programme and promote the initiatives within it. Its initial intent was to find out what stops people buying EVs and recommend ways to remove those barriers.
On 5 May 2016, the Government announced its Electric Vehicles Programme. This included measures to increase the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand with a goal of reaching approximately 64,000 electric vehicles on our roads by the end of 2021.