An extension for road user charges exemption for light electric vehicles (EVs) could save drivers up to $600 a year.

Currently light EVs were exempt from paying road user charges which otherwise applied to vehicles that don't pay for petrol at the pump.

This exemption would be extended to 2021 as part of the Government's Electric Vehicles Programme, Minister of Transport Simon Bridges said.

"We're committed to accelerating the uptake of EVs in New Zealand because the benefits of going electric are clear.

"They're cheaper to run than petrol or diesel vehicles, they're powered by our abundant renewable electricity supply, and they'll reduce the amount of emissions that come from the country's vehicle fleet."

"Charging an EV is equivalent to buying petrol at 30 cents a litre, compared to current petrol costs of just under $2 a litre. By exempting RUC, an EV owner could save up to $3000 over five years. We are also working on introducing a RUC exemption for heavy EVs such as buses and trucks."

The exemption would be extended from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2021 and will come into force on 22 September this year.

It was one of the 14 initiatives the Government announced in May to help achieve its goal to double the number of EVs on New Zealand roads each year to reach 64,000 by 2021.

"Recently I announced details of the first round of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, the EV Leadership Group and that we're seeking to include more EV providers in the Government's vehicles contract to increase the EV options available to public sector agencies," Mr Bridges said.

Further information on the Government's electric vehicles programme is available at