Content, News 12.07.2022

The State of Play for Electric Vehicles in New Zealand

Are you thinking about transitioning your fleet to electric vehicles in 2023? It pays to know what’s happening in the world of EVs.  Electric vehicles (EVs) have never been more popular in New Zealand. Last year was the biggest year for clean cars, with EVs and Plug-in Hybrids making up 20% of new passenger car […]

9 MIN.

Are you thinking about transitioning your fleet to electric vehicles in 2023? It pays to know what’s happening in the world of EVs. 

Electric vehicles (EVs) have never been more popular in New Zealand. Last year was the biggest year for clean cars, with EVs and Plug-in Hybrids making up 20% of new passenger car sales in March/April 2022.  

And it’s not just consumers. For Businesses, the case for electric vehicles is becoming much clearer. EVs are environmentally friendly and have lower maintenance costs and higher driver satisfaction, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).  

What’s more, the pressure on businesses from regulators, customers and employees is hard to ignore. According to new research by Shell and Deloitte, more than two-thirds of fleet owners expect the pressure to decarbonise to increase over time.  

If you’re part of the growing group of New Zealand companies thinking about transitioning to EVs, it’s essential to understand the latest advances in the market to make an informed decision.  

Here’s your quick guide to the current state of play in New Zealand: 


New Zealand Government incentives boost demand for EVs 

The New Zealand Government actively encourages demand for low and zero-emissions vehicles with its Clean Car Discount Scheme.  

Changes made from the 1st of April 2022 mean that electric vehicles and low-emissions vehicles registered for the first time in New Zealand are now eligible for rebates up to a maximum of $7,500+GST, based on the vehicle’s CO2 emission values.  

There are a few eligibility rules, such as the vehicle must have been purchased for less than NZ$80,000.  

EVs are also exempt from road user charges until 31 March 2024, which can save owners $600 a year on average. 

By incentivising electric vehicles, the goal is to phase out imports of fossil-fuelled cars to New Zealand by at least 2035.  

And it’s already making an impact: 57,000 EVs and Hybrid vehicles were registered in the first year of the clean car scheme – a 56% increase on the previous year. 

The Government isn’t just talking the talk – its electric vehicles first procurement policy means certain agencies must choose a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) when purchasing fleet vehicles.  


Model availability is better than ever 

For years, the major drawback for businesses wanting to electrify their fleets has been the need for vehicle choice. However, that’s all changing fast with car manufacturers accelerating efforts to offer new electric options, including commercial vehicles.  

In fact, there were five times more models to choose from in 2021 than in 2015.  

In October, NZ Post added 60 new all-electric Mercedes-Benz eVito panel vans to its fleet as a $20 million initiative to replace diesel and petrol vans and significantly reduce carbon emissions. 

Currently, there are three different types of EVs: 

  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs): Current BEVs are powered only by electrical energy stored in the battery. They have no internal combustion engine, exhaust pipe or exhaust pipe emissions, meaning they are known as “zero-emission vehicles”.  
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs): These hybrids are not fully electric and not entirely based on fossil fuels. The petrol engine takes on most of the workload, with the assistance of electric motors under low load conditions to reduce fuel consumption.  
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs): Plug-in hybrids run using two motors – an electric motor and battery that can be charged and an internal combustion engine fuelled by petrol or diesel. Unlike HEVs, plug-in hybrids typically operate on electric mode first and use the internal combustion engine to recharge the batteries or give a boost if needed.  


Say goodbye to range anxiety 

One of the historical arguments against electric fleets has been their range – otherwise known as the maximum distance a vehicle can travel on a fully charged battery.  

Until recently, EVs with a sizable range (300 km plus) didn’t exist on a large scale. Combined with the fact that New Zealand’s network of public charging stations was also limited, it’s easy to see why businesses were reluctant to make the switch.  

But that’s all changed. 

Most electric vehicles now feature a range of at least 400 km, with many travelling up to 500 km or even 600 km without needing to recharge.  

Added to this is the growth of the on-road charging network. For example, New Zealand’s largest national fuel and electric charging network, ChargeNet, offers over 280 charge points across the country, with more being installed throughout 2023;  

To simplify EV charging for drivers and fleet managers, CardSmart has launched the new CardSmart Electric. Using the CardSmart electric fob alongside their CardSmart card, drivers charge all their EV fueling and vehicle expenses back to the CardSmart account. Then, the fleet manager receives one IRD-compliant invoice for all fuel and electric vehicles.   

This is particularly useful to support companies who are transitioning and have both Internal Combustion and EV cars and want to manage one invoice, and great for owners of PHEVs who want to save money on fuel by charging on the go. 


Charging times hit top speed 

As a fleet manager, you don’t want your drivers sitting idle while waiting for their vehicles to charge. With faster charging stations, that’s no longer a problem.  

ChargeNet’s hyper-rapid charging stations are the fastest publicly available EV chargers in New Zealand. For some vehicles, the 300kW hyper-rapid charging stations can add up to 400 km range in 15 minutes. That’s just enough time for a coffee break! 

With the support of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and the Low Emission Transport Fund, ChargeNet is building more hyper-rapid sites across the country.  


Over to you

Want to learn more about transitioning to an Electric Vehicle fleet? We will continue to share relevant information through our newsletter so please make sure you’re signed up.   

Related stories


FLEETCOR rebrands to Corpay

On March 25th, FLEETCOR, a leading global payment company and the parent company of CardSmart, announced its rebranding ... Read more >>


2 MIN.

Content, News

CardLink Launches First Card Covering Both Traditional Fuel and Electric

New Zealand’s first multi-brand fleet card covering both traditional fuel and EV vehicles has just been launched by in... Read more >>


7 MIN.

Content, News

New CardSmart +Electric: One card is all it takes.  

We’re excited to launch the new CardSmart +Electric – the only fuel card in New Zealand with technology allowing dri... Read more >>


5 MIN.