What all EV drivers need to do before Friday

Damien O’Carroll
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From the 1st of April electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) became subject to Road User Charges (RUCs), with owners being given a two month grace period to buy their first RUC licence before enforcement of the scheme began.

Now, on Friday the 31st of May, the grace period ends and all EVs and PHEVs must display a current RUC licence on their windscreen or run the risk of receiving a roadside police infringement, as well as an invoice from the New Zealand Transit Authority (NZTA) backdated to the 1st of April and even late payment penalties.

According to the NZTA more than two thirds of the country's 105,000 EVs and PHEVs already have a RUC licence and it is expecting a surge in purchases as the deadline approaches this Friday.

Purchasing a RUC licence is a simple process and can be done online at the NZTA's website, or in person at an NZTA agent such as Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ), Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ), the Automobile Association (AA) and NZ Post.

RUC licences are pre-paid and drivers need to pay for the distance they are going to travel (in units of 1000km) ahead of the time they actually travel them.

EVs are charged at the same rate as light diesel vehicles (light commercials like vans and utes), which is $76 per 1000km, while PHEVs are charged $38 per 1000km, the lower rate reflecting the fact that they also pay the fuel excise duty on the petrol they use.

An admin fee that covers processing, printing, and postage is also payable at the time of purchase. This is $12.44 if done online or $13.71 if done in person at a sales agent.

Drivers will need to provide their vehicle's number plate and current odometer reading when purchasing a RUC licence for the first time. If an inaccurate odometer reading is supplied, it is likely to be picked up at the vehicle’s next WOF and an invoice for any differences may be issued.

Once the licence has been paid for a RUC label will be issued, either via the mail if purchased online, or immediately if done in person.

The RUC licence label is similar in appearance to a registration label and will need to be displayed on the windscreen in a similar way – on the inside of the windscreen on the passenger’s side of the vehicle, with the side of the licence showing the plate number visible from outside the vehicle.

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