National Party's plan to scrap electric vehicle rebate casts shadow on future

New figures indicate New Zealanders are eagerly adopting electric vehicles.

Between 2021 and 2022 we had the third-highest increase in EV sales of any country in the world. 

Aotearoa has been supercharging its uptake of electric vehicles.

"It's been a massive uplift in electric vehicle interest in New Zealand over the past few years," said Richard Edwards from the Auto Media Group.

Fresh data from United Kingdom company Drive Electric showed a 300 percent increase in India's EV sales, while Brazil had a near-200 percent bump. 

We weren't far behind, up 179 percent.

"We've got something like 63,000 electric vehicles buzzing around, plus another 25,000 plug-in electric vehicles," said Ralph Sims, from Massey University.

"That's about 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide that won't be emitted because of this uptake in electric vehicles."

It's partly due to the Clean Car Rebate. 

"People initially were getting about $8500, and now $7000 from the Government when they bought a new electric vehicle," Edwards said.

But the man set to lead the country has planned to scrap the rebate within his first 100 days in power - despite his family benefitting from it.

"If we lose that, then [fewer] people will buy electric vehicles and [they'll instead] go for the cheaper option which will be the diesel ute or car, or the petrol one," Sims told Newshub.

"That will be producing greenhouse gases for the next 15 years."

The National Party has instead promised 10,000 public EV chargers by 2030.

That compares to the 1200 they say we already have.

"We think that it's so important to overcome the single-biggest barrier for customers and New Zealanders - thinking about why they wouldn't buy an EV - which is range anxiety," Luxon claimed in September.

And Edwards said the EV market is stronger than people might think. 

"The business and Government fleets [are] a huge driver of automotive choices in New Zealand. They are massive buyers of electric vehicles. And with the subsidy going, they're still going to buy those vehicles," he told Newshub.

And as petrol prices keep soaring due to massive production cuts by OPEC+ countries, Edwards says they aren't coming down any time soon. 

"If I look over there the price of a litre of petrol is $3.25. That's massive - that's not going away."

If National sticks to its 100 days promise to scrap the rebate, the EV market will be one to watch in the lead-up to the end of the year.