An electric vehicle (EV) has an electric motor that is powered by a battery which is charged by an external source of electricity.
There are two main types of EVs:
Conventional forms of petrol hybrids aren’t considered EVs 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.
Light electric vehicles (gross laden weight 3500kg or less) are exempt from RUC until 31 March 2024.
From 1 April 2024, owners of light electric vehicles will need to buy a road user charges (RUC) licence and display it on their windscreen.
This includes plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). It doesn't include hybrid vehicles that can’t plug in to recharge.
Transport makes up about a half of carbon emissions in New Zealand, with most of this coming from road transport. Technology improvements eg improved battery range in EVs have opened up the range of low-carbon transport options that New Zealanders can make.
New Zealand is well-placed to benefit from EVs because:
Many New Zealanders have already made the switch.
We are helping New Zealand transition towards a low emission transport future, which includes supporting the uptake of EVs and other low emission vehicles.
We support a range of initiatives which are part of the wider cross-agency EV work programme designed to increase EV uptake.
The following initiatives, developed with the private sector, local and central government, are intended to boost the supply and demand for EVs:
EVRoam is a live database of public EV charging stations in New Zealand. It collects real-time information of all compliant and connected public charging stations, and freely distributes it to users via apps and websites. EVRoam also enables a clean picture of how and where our EV charging network is developing.
In July 2017, we updated New Zealand’s Motor Vehicle Register. It now has 10 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 EV fleet. Note: other forms of electric mobility such as electric bikes and scooters are not included.
We are working with other government agencies to develop a plan that will provide long-term strategic direction as New Zealand’s EV charging infrastructure expands.
We led the development of national guidance for public EV charging infrastructure, and supported the development of standards for residential and commercial EV charging infrastructure.