New Zealand has emerged as a global frontrunner in electric vehicle (EV) adoption, surpassing its neighboring country Australia. This achievement can be attributed to the pioneering government initiatives implemented by New Zealand to reduce vehicle emissions. Despite facing initial opposition and criticism, the country’s Clean Car Discount and Clean Car Standard programs have revolutionized the automotive market.
The success of these programs lies in their ability to accelerate the acceptance and uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand. As a result, the country has surged ahead of Australia in terms of EV adoption, establishing itself as a significant player in the worldwide shift towards clean transportation.
A recent study conducted by the Carbon Tracker Initiative highlighted the crucial role of legislation in promoting global EV adoption. The report emphasized the potential risk of certain regions, particularly in the global south, becoming dumping grounds for high-emission vehicles rejected by other markets. Notably, New Zealand managed to avoid being listed among these countries lacking sufficient decarbonization targets for passenger cars, unlike Australia.
According to the study, the growth of the EV market in the global north will eventually lead to a plateau in the number of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles on the roads by the 2030s. This implies that surplus ICE vehicles may be redirected to the global south, perpetuating their dependence on imported fossil fuels.
In contrast to New Zealand, Australia has struggled to keep up with EV adoption due to the absence of clear EV targets and a nationwide rebate scheme similar to New Zealand’s Clean Car Discount. The presence of different rebate programs at the state level in Australia, combined with the discontinuation of some of these programs, has further hindered progress. As a result, New Zealand has become the preferred market for launching new EV models.
Consequently, New Zealanders have been fortunate to witness the early introduction of various EV models, including the Skoda Enyaq, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Fiat 500e. On the other hand, Australia has faced challenges in terms of limited supply and higher prices for EVs, particularly European imports. In both countries, Chinese-built EV models have gained popularity due to their affordability.