Ten things you need to know about the Clean Car Feebate scheme
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Will this affect my current car?
The short answer is no, this Clean Car Programme only applies to vehicles that newly registered into the country. This means that both new cars and used imports are covered by the ‘feebate’ scheme, so expect to be receiving/paying money on anything that needs a plate. This is unless it falls into the ‘Zero Band’, which means that it’s exempt from the fees and rebates.
Is this just about EVs?
For the first six months, the rebate scheme will only include EVs and PHEVs, but from 2022, it will be calculated based on C02 emissions, and will encompass all vehicles.
How does the government work out the rebates/fees?
The Clean Car Programme is based around a vehicle’s C02 emissions, meaning that it doesn’t matter what sort of powertrain it has, this emission figure is the bottom line. In this graphic released by Waka Kotahi we see that any vehicle that emits less than 146 grams of C02 per kilometer is eligible for a rebate, vehicles that fall between 146 and 192 avoid any regulations, and anything above this faces a fee. So it doesn’t matter whether it’s a plug-in hybrid, a regular hybrid, petrol, or diesel-powered vehicle, everything is considered.
In terms of rebates, the most you can get back on a new pure-electric vehicle is $8625, and that moves down to $3450 if it’s a used import. It’s a similar story for PHEVs, which will get $5750 back if new, and $2300 as a used import.
Another aspect to note is the rebate value cap, meaning that you won’t get any money back on an EV/PHEV worth more than $80,000. This rules out most of the Tesla line-up, except for its best-seller — the $69,900 Standard Range Plus Model 3.
Can I get a rebate on a privately sold used vehicle?
As long as the vehicle hasn’t been registered in New Zealand, you are eligible to claim a rebate. This means that both dealer and private sales are included.
How is the government paying for this?
In theory, the Clean Car Programme is fiscally neutral, with the fees intended to cancel out the rebates that will be paid out. If, due to high demand, rebate funds are exhausted, Waka Kotahi will notify that the rebate window is closed and no discounts (rebates) will be offered during this time.
Will utes become more expensive?
We can assume that every ute will incur a fee based on its carbon emissions come 2022, so prices will be driven upwards. At 200 grams of C02 per km, the Nissan Navara is the cleanest ute that Waka Kotahi mentioned, but buyers will still have to fork out $830 in fees. At the other end of the spectrum, Toyota Hilux buyers will be facing a hefty $2900 fee given that it is the worst emissions offending on the list.
Are we going see any electric utes?
We are, but not any time soon. The first generation of plug-in hybrid utes is expected to land in New Zealand in 2025, with all-electric offerings coming after that. If you’re looking for a practical vehicle that falls within the scheme, a few electric vans are already available, with more models expected to land in the coming year or so.
Will a dealer take care of the rebate/fees, or do I have to?
Rebates and fees will be handled differently.
The focus is on rebates at the moment, as they come into effect from July 1 for EVs. A vehicle has to be registered first in order to claim the rebate back from the Government, which means the buyer will have to pay the full retail price up front, then get the rebate back afterwards.
The Government hasn’t been as forthcoming with detail about the logistics of paying fees on vehicles above 192g/km after January 2022, but according to the NZTA: “The fee will be paid to Waka Kotahi at the time of registration, and a vehicle will not be deemed registered until payment has made.”
In short, you won’t be able to drive away in your new car until the Government has its money. Whether this can be covered as part of vehicle financing (ie you include the fine in the purchase price and ask the dealer to pay it) will depend on individual sale/finance agreements.
How do I actually get the rebate?
If you’ve chosen a BEV or PHEV that’s being registered in NZ for the first time, has a three-star safety rating or above and costs less than $80,000, you apply online to Waka Kotahi providing the sales agreement, plate number and your bank account. If it’s all in order, Waka Kotahi will transfer the rebate to the registered owner’s bank account within 20 days.
Rebate applications for July-December will be accepted until 28 February 2022.
I’m buying in July; should I buy a BEV, PHEV or hybrid?
Larger rebates are offered for BEVs than PHEVs, but then the former is often more expensive to start with. As long as you’re fully aware of the rebates being offered for 2021 (new BEV $8625, used BEV $3450, new PHEV $5750, used PHEV $2300), you can do the maths depending on what vehicle you’re interested in.
But just be aware of the difference between BEV, PHEV and hybrid. A BEV is a pure electric car, while a PHEV is a plug-in hybrid that also has a petrol or diesel engine (which is why the rebate is lower). But the key aspect of both is that they qualify as EVs, because you can recharge then from an external power source. They have plugs in other words.
A petrol-electric hybrid, like a Toyota RAV4, is not technically an EV because you can’t plug in it. So it doesn’t qualify for the initial 2021 rebate.
But you will reap the benefits of its fuel efficiency when the graduated feebate scheme kicks off from January 2022, with vehicles lower than 146g/km also eligible for rebates (amounts for individual models yet to be announced).
So outwardly it doesn’t make sense to buy a hybrid, or indeed any other sub-146g vehicle, before 2022. But with stock shortages and months-long waiting lists for popular models, it would still pay to start thinking about your choice now.