Road-user charges exemption for light electric vehicles

Why I'm sick of the government trumpeting their championing of electric cars...

Examples of light electric vehicles available, or soon to be available, are the Hyundai electric Getz, and the Mitsubishi iMiEV. According to the Ministry of Transport, the applicable road-user charges would otherwise be $37.71/1000 km, a saving of around $372 (sic)/year (I think they might mean $377) for the average road user, or $31/month.

This more than halves the vehicle’s running costs: the estimated cost of electricity for charging the vehicle is 3c/km, or $300/year for the same average road user. For a small fuel efficient (6 litre/100 km) petrol vehicle driven the same distance, at $1.69/litre, the annual cost would be $1014/year.

However, a Hyundai electric Getz retails at around $45,000, which makes the government’s concerns about a possible, allegedly prohibitive, $1500 increase in vehicle purchase costs of the least fuel efficient type of 4WD look a little ridiculous.

Put it another way: a new Toyota Yaris costs $25,000, $2500/year over the 10 year life of the vehicle’s first 100,000 km. At $4500/year for the first 10 years, the electric Getz costs around an extra $170/month, to save $60/month on petrol and feel the environmental love -- a net cost of $1320 every year.

The policy is an interim measure to 2013, when it will cease unless continued. Nationwide, twenty vehicles currently qualify, one of which is Dr Nick Smith’s.