Operators of electric vehicles (EVs) are set to benefit from rule changes which will see heavy electric vehicles exempt from road user charges and potentially allow drivers of electric vehicles to use bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
From 1 September 2017 heavy EVs will be exempt from road user charges, which otherwise apply to vehicles that do not pay for petrol at the pump, until they make up two per cent of New Zealand’s heavy vehicle fleet.
“Light EVs are already exempt from paying road user charges until 31 December 2021. On top of all of the other benefits that EVs generate, extending this exemption to heavy EVs will offer a significant cost reduction to the operators of these vehicles,” Mr Bridges says.
Changes have also been made to Land Transport rules, which from 1 September, will enable road controlling authorities, such as the NZ Transport Agency and local and regional councils, to make bylaws to allow EVs access to special vehicle lanes, such as those dedicated to buses and high occupancy vehicles.
“The positive acceptance of EVs in New Zealand is having real benefits. We are now offering more choice in new EVs than ever before. We are also seeing an increase in the number of used EVs importers are bringing into the country,” Mr Bridges says.
“It is great that both private and public sector organisations are helping uptake by choosing EVs over conventional petrol or diesel vehicles for their fleets.
“Over the past year we’ve also seen an increase in businesses opting for EVs as non-passenger vehicles, including light vans for food delivery, public transport and refuse trucks, all of which are great uses for EVs. We want to see this extend to operators of heavy vehicles as well with these latest changes designed to encourage this growth.
“Going electric is not only good for business, but makes best use of New Zealand’s plentiful renewable energy supply, improves air quality and minimises greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Bridges says.
In May 2016, the Government announced its Electric Vehicle Programme, a wide ranging package of measures to encourage the uptake of EVs in New Zealand. The target is to double the fleet each year, reaching 64,000 EV registrations by the end of 2021.
Note to editors
In May last year, the Government set a target to double electric vehicle, or EV registrations each year to reach 64,000 by the end of 2021. An EV has a different engine to a petrol or diesel fuelled car – it has a motor that is powered by a battery which can be charged by plugging it into an electric power point (a bit like charging your cell phone battery).
For more information about electric vehicles visit www.electricvehicles.govt.nz
For more information about the special vehicle lanes visit www.nzta.govt.nz/ev-special-vehicle-lanes