Currently the Clean Car subsidies are in place and have been accelerating the uptake of lower emission vehicles. Last year we saw an incredible rise in the volume of new (BEV) Battery Electric Vehicle registrations. These were up by a surprising 345 per cent compared to 2020.

The government is trying to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 so it is using the Clean Car Program to reduce CO2 emissions of vehicles, which the government is taking very seriously with $301.8 million allocated in the 2021 budget to the Clean Car Discount.

Current Rebates

Rebates are available for eligible light battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and light plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) registered between 1 July 2021 and 31 March 2022. As funding permits, applications will be accepted up until 31 May 2022 for vehicles registered between 1 July 2021 and 31 March 2022.

In order to meet the current rebate criteria, the vehicle must be one of the following:

  • A new imported light battery electric vehicle (EV); or
  • A used imported light battery electric vehicle (EV); or
  • A new imported light plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV); or
  • A used imported light plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

Currently Hybrids do not qualify. Hybrids whose motive power is not derived, wholly or partly, from electricity added by plugging into an external power source) do not qualify for a rebate at this time.

The main requirements

  • The vehicle must be registered for the first time in New Zealand between 1 July 2021 and 31 March 2022.
  • The vehicle must have a safety rating of 3 stars or more on the Rightcar website:
  • The vehicle must have been purchased for less than $80,000 (New Zealand dollars), including GST and on-road costs (the purchase price).
  • A trade-in can be associated with the vehicle purchase, but this is considered to be a form of payment towards the vehicle, rather than a reduction in the vehicle price.

There are four rebates available, based on electric vehicle type and whether it is a used or new vehicle:

Rebate Table

GST is included in the rebate except for public authorities. GST-registered businesses receiving rebates for work vehicles will return the GST.

Next phase

The next phase of the Government’s Clean Car Standard legislations date has been moved out from January by three months to the 1 April 2022 due to the significant disruptions caused by the effects of Covid 19. Recently Michael Woods has confirmed it will meet its deadline.

From 1 April 2022, The Clean Car Discount will provide a range of rebates for new and used imported low-emission and hybrid light vehicles and will charge a fee for high-polluting vehicles based on the CO2 rating of the vehicle.

Vehicles that fall below 146g/km would receive a rebate and vehicles that exceed 192g/km would incur a fee. Anything between these limits would neither receive a rebate nor attract a fee.

This will mean that other low emitting vehicles such as hybrids could be eligible to a rebate. Driven have set up a Clean Car Calculator that will assist in calculating possible rebates and fees.

clean car discount overview

Image sourced NZTA

How to get a rebate from 1 April 2022

You can apply online once the vehicle has been registered and receives its number plate. The rebate will only be paid into the registered person’s bank account, with the exception of lessors, who may be eligible when they are not the registered person.

To apply, applicants need to fill out the application form on the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency website and upload the required supporting information. For electric vehicles first registered in New Zealand between 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the application form can be found here at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Are manufactures concerned?

Both Isuzu Utes New Zealand and Suzuki New Zealand recently expressed concerns about the Standard and both brands have recently stated they will consider leaving New Zealand if the Clean Car Standard strict emission regulations were to go ahead unchanged in the coming years.

Suzuki New Zealand chief executive, Ian Peck, says “If the Clean Car Standard progresses (in its current form) it may become difficult for us to sustain our business in New Zealand, and this has potential repercussions for both owners of our vehicles and our dealer networks.”

So what rebates or fees could apply if I buy a car today?

Both phases are based on the date of registration in New Zealand, so if you were to buy a car today and it arrived after 1 April 2022, you will incur a fee on a higher emitting vehicle even if it was purchased prior to the change.

Likewise, if you bought a lower emitting vehicle such as a Hybrid vehicle – which under the current rebate system is ineligible for a rebate and it arrived after 1 April 2022, you would be eligible for a rebate. This is something to remember especially as there are quite long waiting lists for popular models.

Has it made an impact so far?

CleanCarStandard Intext

According to the MIA, vehicles sold last year accounted for a greenhouse gas reduction of 4.7% when compared to 2020. This was the largest reduction since their records began in 2006. However, according to the MIA, for our sector to meet the 2025 targets we would need to reduce greenhouse emissions by 10%.

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