Norway's electric vehicle organisation has praised New Zealand's moves to encourage EVs, but says this country is playing catch-up to most developed nations.
The Government plans to slash the price of imported electric and hybrid vehicles by up to $8000 to make greener cars cheaper. It also plans to slap a new fee of up to $3000 on the importation of vehicles with the highest greenhouse gas emissions.
The level of the discount depends on total net emissions. That would be $6800 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and $4800 for hybrids.
The plans have drawn approval from most industry groups but there has been some political opposition and concerns from those worried they will penalise poorer families needing big, older cars and tradespeople with large vehicles. Although the electricity sector is confident it can generate enough power to meet increased demand in a sharp uptake, there are worries the distribution system will be strained in some areas.
Norway is a leader in introducing EVs to its fleet. Norway Electric Vehicle Association secretary general Christina Bu is familiar with New Zealand's transport system and said the Government here had made the right move.
"I applaud the NZ Government for proposing a clean car standard [but] you could say it is about time, as New Zealand is one of only three OECD countries without any kind of vehicle fuel efficiency standard," she said.
"This plan is essential to push for cleaner cars and to ensure a greater EV supply. It also sends a message to car manufacturers that NZ is no dumping ground for outdated technology."
The plan proposes a target of 105g of CO2 per kilometre for cars imported to the country in 2025.
She said it was important to set a target and this could now be reached with the right measures.
The average in NZ last year was 180g/km. The average emissions from new cars sold in Norway in 2018 was 71 g/km, managed because of EVs.
So far this year, 45 per cent of new car sales in Norway were battery electric vehicles and the country has almost 140,000 battery vehicles, out of a total of 2.8 million passenger cars.
New Zealand has about 12,000 EVs — mainly hybrids — in a light vehicle fleet of more than 3.5 million. However, the rate of growth in battery vehicles is accelerating.
In Norway, the most popular passenger cars this year are all fully electric — Tesla's Model 3, the eGolf, BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf.
Norway has a range of incentives including higher taxes on the purchase of higher emitting vehicles. It has a value added tax of 25 per cent on petrol vehicles, while while battery vehicles are exempt.