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Electric vehicles

An electric vehicle (EV) has a different engine to a petrol or diesel fuelled vehicle – it has an electrical motor that is powered by a battery which is charged by connecting to an external source of electricity.

There are two main types of electric vehicle:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) - these are a purely electric vehicle, powered only by the battery which is charged by connecting to an external source of electricity.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) – these have two engines – one powered by a battery which is charged by connecting to an external source of electricity, the other engine is fuelled from a fuel tank and generally uses petrol or diesel.

Conventional forms of petrol hybrids aren’t considered electric vehicles as they aren’t charged by ‘plugging in’. Their batteries are only charged by re-capturing energy when braking or from electricity generated by the engine.

Find out more about EVs, including information about safety and regulations(external link)

About the electric vehicle programme

In May 2016, the Government announced an ambitious and wide-ranging electric vehicle programme to reduce barriers and accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Transport accounts for 18 percent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and road transport accounts for 91 percent of domestic transport emissions.

The Transport Agency is helping New Zealand transition towards a low emission transport future, through a range of initiatives which are part of a wider cross-government electric vehicle work programme designed to increase electric vehicle uptake.

New technology, like electric vehicles, is opening up the range of transport choices that people can make. This creates better choices for New Zealanders, and contributes to a zero carbon transport for New Zealand.

These initiatives, developed with the private sector and local government, will boost the supply of, and demand for, electric vehicles.

Statistics on electric vehicles numbers(external link) and more information on the climate change programme(external link), of which the electric vehicle programme is a part, can be found on the Ministry of Transport’s website.

Electric vehicle engine type definitions

New Zealand’s Motor Vehicle Register has 10 new engine type definitions to allow for all types of electric-powered vehicles to be clearly and correctly identified. This makes it easier to apply exemptions and report on the electric vehicle fleet.

Public charging infrastructure guidance for safe, reliable and interoperable charging

The Transport Agency has also worked in collaboration with the private and public sector to provide planning information and guidance for public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, helping to ensure the nationwide network is aligned, safe and reliable, and to set a vision for safe, reliable and interoperable charging around New Zealand.

EVRoam – making electric vehicle charging easier

The Transport Agency has a role in monitoring the roll out of public charging infrastructure around New Zealand. This resulted in EVRoam – a real-time database of public charging infrastructure. The database collects information in real time from charging operators, then freely distributes information on all chargers that meet our guidelines for safety and reliability (such as being remote managed) around New Zealand, across dozens of apps and websites.

This data feed pushes information about location, cost and whether a charger is operational, or otherwise, so that drivers can confidently plan their journeys.

Electric vehicle charging station map(external link)

Moving to fully electric vehicles as part of the Transport Agency fleet

The Transport Agency has over 140 vehicles. To contribute towards a low emissions all-of-government fleet, we’re transitioning all compact hatchback vehicles to fully electric. This will result in over 40 fully electric vehicles as part of our fleet.