While the Motor Industry Association’s official New Zealand registration data has yet to be revealed in full, Ministry of Transport figures show that July was a record-breaking month for plug-ins.
According to the ministry, 1,944 new and used electric vehicles were sold in July — more than one thousand sales up on the previous record month of March 2021.
July was the first month of the New Zealand Government’s new Clean Car Discount scheme, which saw discounts of up to $8,650 handed out for new and used plug-in vehicles.
In a statement, Drive Electric chair Mark Gilbert praised the Clean Car Discount for prompting interest in plug-ins to “skyrocket”.
“The Clean Car Discount started on 1 July and appears to have driven unprecedented demand for EVs. We will continue to monitor the uptake over the coming months, but early signs are very encouraging, particularly given some importers faced stock shortages,” he said.
“Members are telling us that they have never seen consumer interest in electric vehicles quite like it. Hits on the Drive Electric website, which independently details EV models available are also up by tens of thousands.
“There has been some public debate about this policy, but at its core it’s about encouraging the uptake of e-mobility, while maintaining choice. From a climate change perspective, we all benefit when someone chooses to buy an EV instead of a petrol vehicle.”
The surge sees the number of plug-in vehicles registered in New Zealand hit 29,854, with the 30,000 mark sure to be eclipsed by this time next year. By comparison, less than 500 plug-in vehicles were registered in the equivalent month in 2020.
The Clean Car Discount has been a topic of fierce debate since it was first revealed. The scheme involves adding an emissions-based levy to the price of high-emission vehicles from January 2022 onwards.
This has seen the legislation become colloquially known as the ‘ute tax’, particularly among those who rely on utes for work. It helped recruit plenty of disillusioned tradies and farmers at the recent Groundswell NZ protests; 55 of which were held around the country simultaneously last month.
The Clean Car Discount scheme is currently only scheduled to go until the end of the year, although it’s suspected that a second round will come into effect for 2022.