Clean Car questions and answers

About the Clean Car Discount

  • How did the Government decide on the eligibility threshold changes taking effect from July 2023?

    The existing eligibility thresholds were reviewed and recalibrated taking into account a number of factors including the:

    • changes in the supply, pricing and uptake of low-emission vehicles since the scheme began in July 2021
    • scenarios of potential future vehicle uptake and emissions by vehicle type
    • the balance of rebates and fees of the scheme over time
    • the need to encourage a shift to lower emissions vehicles by incentivising a shift away from higher emissions vehicles.
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  • Why has the Clean Car Discount been introduced?

    The Government is accelerating the response to climate change to achieve a carbon neutral target for New Zealand by 2050. The Clean Car Discount aims to help bring down transport emissions by making the purchase of zero and low-CO2 emission vehicles more affordable.

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  • What is the Clean Car Discount?

    The Clean Car Discount encourages the purchase of zero and low emission light vehicles by reducing the cost of eligible new and used vehicles coming into New Zealand and putting a fee on high emission vehicles. For vehicles first registered in New Zealand, fees and rebates are applied according to the CO2 emission of vehicles. The higher the CO2 emission value the greater the fee because of the increased environmental and economic costs they are imposing. The lower the CO2 emission value the greater the rebate. Vehicles with moderate emissions do not incur a fee or be eligible for a rebate.

    Clean Car Discount overview

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  • Will the Clean Car rebate fund run out?

    Fees for vehicles with high CO2 emissions are expected to fund zero and low emission vehicle rebates. In this way the scheme is intended to be cost neutral. However, if funds are exhausted at any given time, rebates will not be paid out. Once the rebate scheme restarts, only vehicles registered from the restart date that meet the eligibility requirements will qualify for a rebate. 

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Rebates and Fees

  • What vehicles are exempt from the Clean Car fee or rebate?

    Disability vehicles, which means a light vehicle that is used for the transportation of a person with a disability and is modified to do either or both of the following:

    • enable a person in a wheelchair to safely enter and exit the vehicle and enable the person and the wheelchair to be safely restrained while the vehicle is moving
    • provide a person in a wheelchair or of limited mobility with assistance to enter and exit the vehicle through the use of a swivel or swing-out seat

    Disability vehicles are exempt from fees, but not rebates.

    • Special interest vehicles are excluded from both fees and rebates (permit is required). See special interest vehicles
    • Vehicles manufactured 40 years or more before the date on which it was certified for entry into service in New Zealand (are excluded from both rebates and fees)
    • Motor sport vehicles, as defined in the Land Transport Rule: Frontal Impact 2001 are excluded from both fee and rebates. See Land Transport Rule(external link)
      Frontal Impact 2001 (external link)
    • A vehicle specified in paragraph (a) of the definition of low volume vehicle in Part 2 of the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002 that is certified in accordance with the Low Volume Vehicle Code (are excluded from both rebates and fees)
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Other frequently asked questions

  • What is the difference between a hybrid vehicle and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)?

    A hybrid vehicle gets its energy simultaneously from an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor. The ICE and the electric motor work together to power the car, which reduces petrol consumption and CO2 emissions. The ICE uses petrol to recharge the vehicle’s battery, which powers the electric motor.

    A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) also uses an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor, but it has a larger battery and electric motor than a hybrid. The battery can be plugged in and charged, and usually gives the vehicle a short electric-only range – up to 50km at lower speeds. When vehicle speeds or power demands are higher, or the battery is running low the ICE provides most of the power to the vehicle. The battery is recharged both from a plug-in charger and the ICE. Once the battery is mostly depleted the vehicle operates like a conventional hybrid until plugged in and charged again.

    In both a hybrid and a PHEV the battery is also charged as the vehicle slows down by using regenerative braking. This further reduces fuel usage and emissions.

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  • What is a light vehicle?

    A light vehicle is a car, SUV, ute, van or truck with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of no more than 3.5 tonnes. The GVM is the weight of a vehicle plus the maximum weight it can carry. See eligibility criteria for details.

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Clean Car Standard

  • What is the purpose of the Clean Car Standard?

    The Clean Car Standard incentivises importers/distributors to supply cleaner cars to those living in New Zealand. If more vehicle buyers purchase electric vehicles because there are more low-emission options available, the vehicle carbon emissions in New Zealand will be reduced, helping achieve the Government’s target of being carbon neutral by 2050.

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  • Why am I having to pay two fees for importing and registering my vehicle in NZ?

    The Clean Car Standard is a charge or credit on vehicles imported into New Zealand based on their annual CO2 target.  If the CO2 value of your vehicle sits above the annual target you will be required to pay a charge or receive a credit in your CO2 account. 

    The Clean Car Discount is a fee or rebate on vehicles being registered for the first time in New Zealand based on their CO2 emission value.  If your vehicle has high emissions it will be charged a fee at the time of registration. If your vehicle has low emissions you may be eligible to apply for a rebate.

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