The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid will reach showrooms from August, alongside electric and plug-in hybrid derivatives.
The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid will reach showrooms from August, alongside electric and plug-in hybrid derivatives. Mark Bramley

NZ Govt to pay for discounts on cleaner cars

NEW Zealand has announced plans to slash prices for electric, hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles and penalise gas guzzling cars with a new fee, as it looks to make greener cars more affordable.

The government is proposing discounts of up to $NZ8,000 ($A7,601) for zero-emission new vehicles and a fee of up to $NZ3,000 ($A2,850) for new vehicles that emit in excess 250 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (CO2/km).

The scheme would begin in 2021.

Tesla Model S.
Tesla Model S.

The plans, however, were criticised by environmentalists who said the penalty would only apply to new cars and newly imported used cars, and the sums were not significant enough to stop New Zealanders from buying polluting cars.

New Zealand also imports many used vehicles, where the highest available discount would be $NZ2,600 for zero-emissions and the highest fee would be $NZ1,500. The policies would not apply to vehicles already registered when on-sold.

The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid will reach showrooms from August, alongside electric and plug-in hybrid derivatives.
The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid will reach showrooms from August, alongside electric and plug-in hybrid derivatives. Mark Bramley

"Most Kiwis want to buy a car that's good for the environment, but tell us the upfront cost and limited choice makes it a challenge," Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said.

The government also said it plans to set annual emissions targets for new vehicles, which would be phased in gradually, with an aim of reaching a target of 105g CO2/km in 2025.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Labour-led coalition in New Zealand has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Hybrids are leaving traditional fossil-fueled cars for dead in the highest-performance competitions, including Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship.
Hybrids are leaving traditional fossil-fueled cars for dead in the highest-performance competitions, including Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship.

Governments around the world have been encouraging automakers to sell more electric vehicles.

Almost half of new cars sold in Norway in the first six months of 2019 were powered by fully electric engines, as the Nordic nation leads the global ranking in electric vehicle sales.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which includes hybrids when counting electric cars, has said the global electric car fleet exceeded 5.1 million in 2018, up 2 million from the previous year.