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Owners of electric or hybrid vehicles under 3500kg who haven’t bought their first road user charge (RUC) license yet are now facing fines of approximately $200 according to the New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA).

In a statement, the NZTA said that they will be receiving a road-side police infringement and an invoice that’s backdated to 1 April 2024, plus penalties for late payment.

“It’s an offence for a RUC vehicle to not have a current and valid RUC licence. We hold details of all EVs and PHEVs in our system, so we’ll know who hasn’t bought their first licence and will be following up directly,” said Head of Strategic Regulatory Programmes at NZTA Tara MacMillan.

To ensure compliance, the NZTA will use odometer readings from vehicles during warrant of fitness inspections to identify unpaid RUCs.

“Every time a vehicle goes for a warrant of fitness, we’ll also get the odometer reading, which means we can match that to any unpaid RUC – so buy your RUC licence if you want to avoid any large bills,” MacMillan added.

RUC Computation

The RUC cost is based on distance travelled, starting at $76 for 1000km for an EV and $38 per 1000km for a PHEV. PHEVs have a lower rate because they also pay the fuel excise tax. Additionally, there is an administration fee of $12.44 for online payments or $13.71 for in-person transactions.

To register, owners need their number plate and current odometer reading. The licence must be displayed in a pouch on the vehicle’s windscreen, adhering to New Zealand’s requirement for visible registration details.

Traditional hybrid and mild-hybrid vehicles, along with electrified vehicles weighing more than 3500kg, remain exempt from the RUC until January 1, 2026. However, government officials have indicated that all vehicles will eventually be required to pay this distance-based charge.

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