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When will New Zealand switch to 100% electric vehicle imports?

Posted on May 21, 2021 – Electric Cars

As countries around the world commit to banning non-electric vehicle imports by 2030, it would not be surprising if the New Zealand government announces that they will operate within a similar time frame.

Despite a tumultuous economic climate last year, over 3.1 million electric and hybrid vehicles were sold globally, bringing the number of plugin vehicles on roads across the world to over 10 million. With massive manufacturers such as Honda and Volvo committing to phasing out non-electric vehicles, and Tesla and Chinese manufacturers preparing to release cheaper electric vehicle (EV) models, it is clear that EVs are not only becoming more popular, but more accessible.

The Climate Change Commission has called for a ban on fossil fuel vehicle imports to New Zealand by 2035, along with investments in transport and EV charging infrastructure to make this feasible. However, the United Kingdom has accelerated their ban on imports of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2030; given that the UK is also a right-hand drive market, New Zealand needs to act faster too. Otherwise,we risk becoming a dumping ground for non-electric vehicles rejected by the UK, which will make it much harder for us to transition the country to electric vehicles in the near future. 

The government’s introduction of a Clean Car Import Standard in January was a first step towards managing the transition away from fossil fuel vehicle imports. When the Climate Change Commission releases finalised advice on EV policy in the coming months, it is likely that the government will adjust their policies accordingly, especially because an uptake of electric vehicles will be a key strategy in meeting our emissions reduction goals. 

Given the electric vehicle movement picking up speed around the world, and our government’s new focus on combating the climate change crisis, it is more than likely that fossil fuel vehicle imports will be banned by 2035, if not sooner!


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