Transport Minister Steven Joyce announced today that the government will excuse light electric vehicles from paying road user charges (RUC) for four years
Joyce says it is a first step towards encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles in this country.
At the moment, light electric vehicles (weighing up to 3.5 tonnes) are classed as diesel vehicles for the purpose of road-user charges. This results in a cost of about 3.6 – 4 cents per kilometre.
“This technology can make a significant contribution to improving the efficiency of our vehicle fleet. Electric cars can also decrease our reliance on imported fossil fuels and improve our energy security,” says Joyce.
“Combining highly efficient electric motors with our competitive advantage in renewable electricity generation will reduce the greenhouse gases produced by the transport sector, as well as the harmful emissions affecting air quality.”
The RUC exemption will come in effect on 1 October 2009 and will apply until 2013. The government will reassess the initiative at this time.
This initiative aligns electric vehicles with that of biofuels.
“There are very few electric vehicles currently in the fleet and the forgone revenue costs will not be significant. This is about government supporting a new fuel technology and encouraging early adopters,” says Joyce.