With transport making up around 48% of our energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, Kiwi motorists are being urged to look more carefully at their carbon footprint.

Public consultation carried out in 2019 showed strong support for the Clean Car Standard. The Clean Car Discount, announced early this year, supplements that initiative. This will require vehicle suppliers to import more fuel-efficient vehicles from next year.

The first stage involves rebates for eligible Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) first registered on or after July 1 2021. Eligible vehicles also need at least a three-star safety rating (as listed on rightcar.govt.nz) and must be priced under $80,000 (including GST and on-road costs). 

The Clean Car Discount offers the largest rebate ($8,625) for new BEVs and, as an added incentive, the Government also announced that it will extend the road user charges (RUC) exemption for electric vehicles until 31 March 2024, saving drivers around $800 per year.

There are a several new BEVs currently eligible for a rebate:

      • Tesla Model 3 Standard Range from $66,900
      • Hyundai Kona Electric Series II from $69,990
      • Nissan Leaf from $61,990
      • MG ZS EV from $48,990
      • MINI Electric Hatch from $60,400
      • Hyundai IONIQ Electric from $65,990
      • BMW i3 from $78,700
      • Mazda MX-30 from $74,990
      • Renault ZOE from $65,990
      • Renault Kangoo EV Van from $74,990
      • Hyundai IONIQ 5 from $79,990

The next largest rebate ($5,750) is available for PHEVs, as long as the car meets the same pricing and safety rating requirements. 

PHEVs use two different powertrains, both of which can drive the wheels. There's an electric motor that enables drivers to travel a certain distance based on the capacity of the battery, and a petrol engine that kicks in once the electric battery is depleted, in essence reverting the system to a hybrid-like operation (like in a Toyota Prius).

The range of a PHEV is generally between 30km and 60km, which is perfect if you don’t want to consume fuel on shorter journeys. Drivers of PHEVs get the best of both worlds; EV efficiency around town, with traditional car range available for longer trips. 

Current models available that meet the rebate criteria are:

      • Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV from $59,990
      • MINI Countryman Hybrid from $68,290
      • Toyota Prius Prime from $47,790
      • Hyundai IONIQ PHEV from $53,990
      • Kia Sorento PHEV from $74,990
      • MG HS PHEV from $52,990
      • Kia Niro PHEV from $57,990
      • Mercedes-Benz A250e from $73,100
      • Ford Escape PHEV from $60,990
      • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV from $49,990

Not all of us can afford a new vehicle and, thankfully, used BEVs and PHEVs that meet the criteria are also eligible for rebates of $3,450 and $2,300 respectively. 

What about other low emission vehicles? From 1 January 2022, subject to legislation being passed, it’s proposed that the Clean Car Discount programme will offer an increased range of rebates for both new and used imported low-emission and light vehicles and a fee will be charged for higher polluting vehicles based on CO2 ratings. All vehicles below a CO2 rating zero band will be eligible for a rebate. The rebates will end at 146g/km, so if you have a CO2g/km rating that falls below this level you will be eligible for some money back. Fees would then begin at 192g/km. 

If you have a CO2 rating exceeding this level you will incur an additional cost. The maximum fee for new vehicles would be $5,175 and $2,875 for used vehicles. Anything between these CO2 limits would not be affected.

Reported by Ian Green for our AA Directions Spring 2021 issue

More information

Click here for more information about buying a new car

New! Our navigation has changed.

Use this button to access the site content.

 |  Learn more