Too poor to buy EV? New Zealand govt to pay citizens to afford electric power

New Zealand will provide financial assistance to around 2,500 families if they choose to exchange their petrol or diesel cars for electric vehicles.&n
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File photo used for representational purpose. (REUTERS)
File photo used for representational purpose.

Electric vehicles (EVs) may be the future but the current crop of options aren't exactly affordable to buy. With the need for clean mobility being felt more than ever before, governments across the globe are looking at various ways to popularize battery-powered vehicles and New Zealand has come up with a plan to financially aid those who want to purchase such vehicles but may not necessarily have the monetary means to do so.

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According to the ‘scrap and replace’ scheme of the government under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, around 2,500 low-income families will be given financial support to help them replace their petrol or diesel-powered vehicles with EVs. Transport Minister Michael Wood has outlined that the eventual objective of the scheme is to ensure that EVs replace conventional vehicles entirely by 2035 and aren't just the ride of choice for the rich but for the society at large. While exact details of the scheme haven't been worked out as yet, Wood says that it would eventually expand to more citizens in the country.

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New Zealand has taken out its first Emissions Reduction Plan which will cost the country around $ 1.88 billion. It is an action plan that will be put into force over the next four years and includes mass adoption of EVs as one of its central focus areas. The eventual goal is for the country to achieve its stated objective of slashing carbon dioxide emissions to net-zero by 2050.

But the latest move to help financially weaker families trade in their petrol or diesel vehicles with EVs isn't the first attempt to take such vehicles to the masses. Last year, in 2021, the country had announced the Clean Car program which provided subsidies of around NZD 8,625 for new EVs and NZD 3,450 for pre-owned EVs. The surcharge on import cost of high-emission utility vehicles was also increased. The move hasn't exactly had the immediate results that may have been desired.

Registration of EVs account for just 2.3 per cent of all vehicle registrations in the country. On an average, the price of an entry-level EV is around three times higher than the price of an entry-level internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. As such, EVs have remained more of an indulgent buy and beyond the reach of most families here. While the government remains doggedly determined to take EVs to more and more people, many experts suggest strengthening the mass transport options in cities across the island country.

(With inputs from AFP and Road Traffic Technology)

First Published Date: 16 May 2022, 10:49 AM IST
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