Car importers are scrambling to get as many electric cars as they can to accommodate a sudden surge in sales after it was announced the clean car rebate scheme would be scrapped by December 31.
Auckland City Electic Vehicles is expecting its biggest shipment, with more than 40 cars on the way.
“That will get us right through to Christmas and we’ve got more vessels on the water and more stock in Japan that we’re trying to get in as quickly as possible,” managing director Nick Jackson told Focus.
Electrified vehicles currently account for almost half of new car sales in New Zealand.
The clean car discount has significantly boosted the uptake in recent years and pure electric cars now account for 25 per cent of the market year-to-date.
But the new Government was never a big fan of the scheme and has not wasted time in scrapping it.
“They think that it’s not fair that wealthy people are being subsidised by taxpayers who are essentially getting their money off to buy an expensive EV, although the advocates of the policy say it’s actually to help people on lower incomes into cars and it actually helps with the secondary market as well,” said Newstalk ZB chief political reporter Jason Walls.
Others say it’s due to the rebate being “too successful”
“Too many people have bought the clean cars and fees for the high-emitting cars aren’t actually covering it,” Driven Car Guide deputy editor David Linklater said.
“So it’s running at a loss.”
Meanwhile, the Government has committed to having 10,000 chargers by the end of 2025 but would need to open more than three new EV chargers a day to reach the goal.
New Zealand has around 400 public chargers at present, representing installations over six years.
Even though the rebate won’t be sticking around, the clean car standard will force dealers to stay focused on vehicles that produce fewer carbon dioxide emissions.
The price point is also expected to become more affordable over time.
The MG4 is a good example and the first battery electric vehicle to take out the AA Driven Car of the Year awards.
“It’s a really landmark car because it’s at a mainstream price, it starts at $47,000,” Linklater said.
“So by the time you take that clean car discount off … it’s down at a really good price point. It’s down in the thirties — just.”
Despite a busy month ahead, dealers are uncertain how the start of next year will play out and they’re putting out calls for the Government to be clear on what the future looks like.
“We think it will stay lumpy probably for the next three months, maybe after March time, once the Government comes in possibly with its road user charging,” Jackson said.
“We just need to see a bit of consistency through the Government understanding where our playing field is really and what regulations are in place.”