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China leads electric vehicle imports to New Zealand

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-02 12:55
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An employee works on an electric vehicle assembly line in Ningde, Fujian province, in August. [Photo/Xinhua]

WELLINGTON -- China leads electric vehicle imports to New Zealand, taking up 58 percent of the share of imports during the 12 months to March 2023, according to data released by the statistics department Stats NZ on Tuesday.

The top four countries by share of electric vehicle imports in the 12 months to March 2023, ranked by import values, were China, South Korea, European Union and Japan, Stats NZ said.

"As electric vehicle imports increase, we are seeing a diversification of supply as more and more manufacturers release fully electric models," Stats NZ international trade manager Al Allen said.

New Zealand electric vehicle imports continued to climb. Imports of fully electric vehicles more than doubled in value during the 12 months to March 2023, amid a series high for vehicle imports, Stats NZ said.

The total value of passenger motor vehicles imported in the 12 months to March 2023 was NZ$6.8 billion ($4.2 billion) -- an increase of 13 percent on the previous year. This represents the largest value of vehicles purchased within any 12 months to March, it said.

Rises in imports were seen across vehicles of all reduced-emission propulsion methods, with electric vehicle imports having the highest increase of 127 percent, statistics show.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and the less common plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) increased 79 percent and 123 percent, respectively, Allen said, adding the combination of all passenger internal combustion vehicles increased 1.7 percent.

"While traditional internal combustion vehicles are still the most popular choice overall, we are seeing a clear shift towards electric power among New Zealanders when selecting their next passenger car," Allen said.

Since mid-2020, imports of reduced-emission passenger vehicles (HEVs, PHEVs, and fully electric, combined) have grown from a share of 8.2 percent to 37 percent of the value of passenger vehicles imported in the 12 months to March 2023, he said.

Electric vehicle numbers have increased from 2.6 percent to 11 percent of passenger vehicle imports during the same time period, he added. 

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