2021 was the year of the electric vehicle here in NZ with the government providing the needed push of incentive to get kiwis into a cleaner driving option. The Clean Car Discount introduced in July offered up to $8,625 in rebate to make the switch more cost effective than buying another ICE vehicle. Further incentive was the lack of road user charges on EVs as well as the consistently rising gas prices that has many kiwis becoming keener on the cheaper to run EV.
The Motor Industry Association data shows December sales of 1,143 pure electric vehicles (BEVs) registered, the second highest sales month behind the stellar September that had over 1,500 BEVs sold. These numbers are not including the further sales of plug in hybrids (PHEVs) and used imports that also contributed to reducing our carbon emissions from transport. As the EV charging network still develops many Kiwis are still preferring the piece of mind of having gas in the tank that PHEVs offer as a backup on road trips. As the technology improves and more EV models make it to our shores we will see the ranges increase for EVs making them even more appealing and reducing range anxiety.
Over the whole year, 6,899 new BEVs were sold and 2,461 PHEVs. Comparatively there were 1,554 BEVs and 756 PHEVs sold in 2020. The uptake has grown significantly and is expected to improve even further in 2022 as more options become available. The Clean Car Discount has also been extended to 31 March 2022 from the original 31 December 2021 cut off to give Kiwi’s even more opportunity to make the switch more cost effective.
The Tesla Model 3 has been the stand out vehicle when it comes to BEVs for 2021. They made up almost half of all EV sales in NZ with 3,283 sold in the year. The MG ZS EV followed up second for the year with 874 units and the Hyundai Kona with 826 units.
In the US they have seen similar rapid uptake of EVs in 2021 with their sales reaching almost the same as 2020 by halfway through the year. California alone added 121,000 EVs in the first 6 months of 2021. The Green Car blog estimates that worldwide, EV sales are up an astounding 98 percent over 2020. Based on current estimates, over 4 million BEVs and 2.4 million PHEVs were sold in 2021, for a total of over 6.4 million EVs sold during the first half of the year.
Schemes such as the Low Emission Transport Fund through EECA offers up to $25 million a year to assist with co-funding projects to support the demonstration and adoption of low emission transport technology, innovation and infrastructure. This government funded support ensures that NZ’s infrastructure continues to grow with the uptake of EVs. However, funding will likely need to increase further to combat carbon emissions if we want to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
It will be exciting to see how the EV space grows and evolves in the next few years as technology improves and more manufacturers enter the market. The more that join the better as it will help push the whole market into a new era with competition within brands to offer the best vehicle for customers. It is a thrilling time seeing the different technologies that emerge and we can't wait to see what 2022 brings the industry!