14 Jun 2021

EV rebate scheme may drive rise in prices in short-term - dealer

4:39 pm on 14 June 2021

The government's rebate scheme for electric vehicles (EVs) could lead to a temporary spike in prices due to low supply.

Power supply for electric car charging.  Electric car charging station. Close up of the power supply plugged into an electric car being charged.

The rebate scheme will encourage more consumers to switch to EVs or hybrid vehicles, a dealer says. Photo: 123RF

Over the next year, the government will roll out rebates for the importation of hybrid and electric vehicles, and levies on high-emissions cars.

The maximum rebate a consumer would receive is $8625 for an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, and $3450 for a used one.

New Zealand Automotive Investments (NZAI), which operates the used car retailer, 2 Cheap Cars, imports about 11,000 vehicles per year, of which about 15 to 20 percent are petrol alternatives.

Electric vehicles make up about 1 percent of the company's imports.

NZAI chief executive David Page said he supported the rebate scheme because it would likely encourage more people to think long and hard about their next vehicle.

"We're already getting enquiries from Japan around how many vehicles we're looking at based on this announcement.

"We're also seeing enquiries here in New Zealand coming through yesterday around what people can do to place hold on a vehicle and look to potentially purchase it after the first of July," he said.

However, Page said the increased interest could see prices rise in the short term because of the relatively low supply.

"I think there's always a risk of that any time there's a short change in the market, so that could have a short-term impact on price.

"However, I think what you will see is that the free market will operate and people will start to bring in what's in demand and what's affordable."

The availability of used EVs in Japan was still relatively low compared to hybrid and petrol vehicles but registrations were increasing, he said.

He added that Japanese car manufacturer Toyota's commitment to offer a suite of new EVs to consumers by 2025 was encouraging.

Last week, the Climate Change Commission recommended the government should ban the import of petrol or diesel-powered vehicles by 2035.

Such a move would see New Zealand join UK, and some states and cities in US, Canada and Germany which have committed to similar bans.

Page said the global demand for used EVs would be competitive, but New Zealand is fortunate that the roads required right-hand-drive vehicles for which there was less demand.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs