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New Zealand Considers ICE Car Import Ban by 2040

The New Zealand government has plans to ban the import of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040 as part of its net-zero efforts.

According to local publication Stuff, a draft document prepared by the country’s Climate Change Commission suggests that “Decarbonising transport will require a rapid increase in electric vehicle (EV) sales so that nearly all vehicles entering the country are electric by 2035.”

The move will be part of a push to achieve an almost complete electrification of transport that assumes that nearly all car sales by 2040 will be electric, including used cars.

“Road transport can be almost completely decarbonised by 2050 by switching to low emissions vehicles alongside increasing uptake of active transport, such as walking and cycling, public transport use, and reducing vehicle travel,” according to the draft.

According to the latest car sales data for New Zealand, March saw a total of 605 fully electric vehicles sold in the country, along with 353 plug-in hybrids. The two groups together represented a market share of 9.3% in that month.

As of the end of 2023, EVs represented 39.3% of new passenger car registrations in New Zealand, resulting from a surge in EV purchases during the last month of the year as buyers took advantage of government incentives set to expire the next month.

Sure enough, January saw a sharp drop in EV sales, especially as the start of the new year also hit New Zealand drivers with a higher road use tax. The tax, however, did not seem to have affected ICE car sales negatively, with these rising fourfold between December 2023 and 2024.

It seems plans for the future of EVs in New Zealand rest on expectations of a multitude of low-cost Chinese models making it into the country and competing successfully with internal combustion engine vehicles.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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