Making EVs more accessible 

The Clean Car Discount 

The Clean Car Discount was announced in June 2021 – we were proud to be involved with its development and announcement. The discount is designed to make EVs more affordable, increase their uptake in New Zealand and ultimately, reduce CO2 emissions from light vehicles. 

The scheme provides a range of rebates to people who buy and register an electric vehicle for the first time in New Zealand. The current discount applies from 1st July to 31st December 2021, but new rates are expected next year.

Alongside the rebates, Clean Car Penalties will apply to high emission vehicles from 1st January 2022 – this is designed to reflect the impact this type of vehicle will have on the environment.   

1 July – 31 Dec 2021 (GST incl)

New vehicle Used import
Battery electric vehicle (zero emission) $8625 $3450
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (low emission) $5750 $2300

Note: for public authorities, rebate payments will be less GST.

The details – getting your rebate 

The scheme will be managed by Waka Kotahi – if you buy an EV, you’ll need to apply for your rebate through them. 

When you apply, you’ll be asked for your name, proof of vehicle ownership and bank account details – so you can receive your rebate.

An evolving scheme

The numbers laid out in the current scheme are set to expire in 2022, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a rebate if you buy an EV later on. The government plans to adjust the level of rebates – and fees for high-emission vehicles – each year, to keep up with changes in vehicle emissions and make sure the scheme is self-funding. 

From 2022, more rebates will be available. These will include incentives for vehicles that meet low COemissions standards but can’t be plugged in.

Penalties for polluters 

From January 2022, Clean Car Penalties will apply to high-emission vehicles. These will be charged on a sliding scale according to their emissions rating – vehicles in the middle of the target range won’t be charged.

Exemptions and extra changes 

Some EV buyers will not be able to claim the Clean Car Discount. 

  • Any vehicle with a purchase price of $80,000 or more (including GST and on-road costs) will not be eligible.
  • Vehicles with a low safety rating – less than three stars – will not be eligible either. Check rightcar.govt.nz if you’re unsure.

Take a look at the government’s EV buyers’ guide for more.

Changes for car dealers 

Although they’re not required to administer rebates, car sellers will also be affected by the Clean Car programme, starting in 2022.

  • Under the Clean Car Standard, vehicle suppliers will have to import a higher proportion of fuel-efficient vehicles. 
  • Dealers will need to give customers clear information about the emission levels of every vehicle they sell, so consumers can make informed decisions. They will also need to show whether each vehicle is eligible for a rebate or a high-emissions fee.

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