AA BUYER’S GUIDE: The Clean Car story
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Clean Car subsidies have been in place since last year and have been accelerating the uptake of plug-in vehicles. Last year we saw an incredible rise in the volume of new Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) registrations. These were up by 345 per cent compared with 2020.
The Government is trying to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and is using the Clean Car Programme to reduce CO2 emissions of vehicles; $301.8 million was allocated in the 2021 budget to the Clean Car Discount.
Rebates are available for eligible light BEVs and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) registered between 1 July 2021 and 31 March 2022 (new or used imports). As funding permits, applications will be accepted up until 31 May 2022 for vehicles registered between 1 July 2021 and 31 March 2022. But a vehicle must be able to charge from an external power source to qualify.
The main requirements
- The vehicle must be registered for the first time in New Zealand between 1 July 2021 and 31 March 2022.
- The vehicle must have a safety rating of 3 stars or more on the Rightcar website.
- The vehicle must have been purchased for less than $80,000 (New Zealand dollars), including GST and on-road costs (the purchase price).
- A trade-in can be associated with the vehicle purchase, but this is considered to be a form of payment towards the vehicle, rather than a reduction in the vehicle price.
There are four rebates available, based on electric vehicle type and whether it is a used or new vehicle. A new BEV is $8625, or $3450 for used import. A new PHEV is $5750, or $2300 for a used import.
From 1 April 2022, the Clean Car Discount will provide a range of rebates for new and used imported low-emission and hybrid light vehicles and will charge a fee for high-polluting vehicles based on the CO2 rating of the vehicle.
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Vehicles that fall below 146g/km would receive a rebate and vehicles that exceed 192g/km would incur a fee. Anything between these limits would neither receive a rebate nor attract a fee.
This will mean that other low emitting vehicles such as hybrids could be eligible to a rebate. Driven has set up a Clean Car Calculator that will assist in calculating possible rebates and fees.
How to get a rebate from 1 April 2022
You can apply online once the vehicle has been registered and receives its number plate. The rebate will only be paid into the registered person’s bank account, with the exception of lessors, who may be eligible when they are not the registered person.
To apply, fill out the application form on the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency website and upload the required supporting information.
Are manufacturers concerned?
Both Isuzu and Suzuki have expressed concern. Suzuki New Zealand chief executive, Ian Peck, says “If the Clean Car Standard progresses (in its current form) it may become difficult for us to sustain our business in New Zealand, and this has potential repercussions for both owners of our vehicles and our dealer networks.”
What rebates or fees could apply if I buy a car today?
Both phases are based on the date of registration in NZ, so if you were to buy a car today and it arrived after April 1st 2022 you could incur a fee on a higher emitting vehicle even if it was purchased prior to the change.
Likewise, if you bought a lower emitting vehicle such as a hybrid vehicle and it arrived after April 1, you could be eligible for a rebate. This is something to bear in mind, as there are quite long waiting lists for popular models.
Has it made an impact so far?
According to the Motor Industry Association, vehicles sold last year accounted for a greenhouse gas reduction of 4.7 per cent compared with 2020. This was the largest reduction since records began in 2006. However, according to the MIA, for our sector to meet the 2025 targets we would need to reduce greenhouse emissions by 10 per cent.