Since July last year, people who bought a new EV, or plug-in hybrid EV, have been eligible for rebates of up to $8,625. From April 1, 2022, the Clean Car Programme will extend to petrol and diesel cars too, as part of the government's efforts to encourage buying low emissions options.
Reduce emissions and save
Transport makes up around half of New Zealand's energy-related emissions, so buying a no- or low-emission vehicle is an impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Since the rebate was introduced in 2021, EV sales have increased dramatically. At the end of January, there were 39,598 EVs registered in New Zealand, an increase of over 14,000 on the same time last year. By way of comparison, just over 5,000 were registered across the entire year in 2020 (Ministry of Transport(external link)).
While the rebates that are already in place for EVs will continue, smaller rebates on new and used import hybrids and other low-emission vehicles will be introduced on 1 April. New Zealand has one of the highest vehicle ownership rates in the world, and one of the oldest fleets, so if an EV isn't right for you yet, a low-emission petrol car might be your next best option, and still attract a rebate.
How does it work?
From 1 April the Clean Car Discount will consist of rebates and fees for new and used eligible vehicles the first time they are registered in New Zealand, based on CO2 emissions. The higher the CO2 emissions, the greater the fee in recognition of the increased environmental and economic costs they are imposing. These fees will fund the rebates. Buyers choosing zero or low-emission vehicles may be eligible for a rebate. The lower the emissions, the greater the rebate. Vehicles with moderate emissions will not incur a fee or be eligible for a rebate.
- Cars that emit between 0 and 146g CO2/km may be eligible for a rebate up to $8,625.
- Cars that emit over 192g CO2/km will attract a fee up to $5,175.
- Cars with emissions between 147g and 191g CO2/km won't receive a fee or a rebate.
- To be eligible for a rebate, a car must retail for less than $80,000 incl. GST and on-road costs, and have a safety rating of at least three stars.
- If you're selling or buying a second-hand car, fees and rebates don't apply – the Programme only covers New Zealand new and used imported vehicles registered in New Zealand for the first time.
Fee or rebate?
Rebate may be available for cars that emit up to 146g CO2/km
Fee may apply for cars that emit over 192g CO2/km
For cars that emit 147-191g CO2/km
How do I know what a vehicle's emissions are?
When you're researching new cars, there are plenty of tools you can use.
Our Total Cost of Ownership calculator has carbon emissions information, and lets you compare purchase and running costs across the whole life of a vehicle. It demonstrates another benefit to buying low-emission vehicles – their running costs are always lower, too, thanks to being more fuel efficient, or using no fossil fuel at all if they're electric.
Waka Kotahi's Right Car website(external link) displays carbon emissions, energy efficiency and safety ratings, as well as indicative rebates or fees.
When you're at the car yard, or searching online, traders must display a Vehicle Emissions and Energy Economy Label (VEEEL), which rates a car's emissions and energy efficiency, and gives an estimate of annual running costs. EECA administers the VEEEL.
What you need to know
- The Clean Car Discount is administered by Waka Kotahi/NZTA. Get full details of the Clean Car Discount at nzta.govt.nz/cleancar(external link)
- To receive the rebate, buyers of an eligible car will be able to visit nzta.govt.nz/cleancar(external link) and supply their bank account number and matching proof of vehicle ownership.
- Vehicles with less than a three-star safety rating as listed on Right Car(external link) are not eligible for the Clean Car Discount.
- Clean Car Discounts are not available for vehicles with a purchase price (including on-road costs) of $80,000 incl. GST or higher.
- Each year, the level of rebates and fees may be adjusted to make sure the scheme is self-funding.
- Vehicles that have an emissions rating in the middle of the emissions target range will not attract a fee or be eligible for a rebate.
- Car dealers will be required to clearly display the Vehicle Emissions and Energy Economy Label on vehicles for sale from 1 April so buyers can consider CO2 emissions and fee/rebate information to make informed purchasing decisions.
- The Clean Car Discount supplements the Clean Car Standard which was announced in January 2021. The Standard will require vehicle suppliers to import more fuel-efficient vehicles every year, starting in 2022.
- Businesses will include the discount or fee when calculating Fringe Benefit Tax and depreciation for vehicles they buy. This change will make buying an electric vehicle even more attractive to businesses.