Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund

The Government's contestable fund encourages innovation and investment to accelerate uptake of electric and other low emission vehicles in New Zealand.

Latest updates

Round four applications opening soon

The dates for round four of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund are expected to be announced soon. While not yet confirmed, it is anticipated that applications will open in late February and close around six weeks later.

The investment focus is likely to be the same as round three, so please refer to the round three documentation below as a guide.

Round three successful projects announced

Successful projects from the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund round three have been announced. $3.74 million will be provided to fund 20 projects.

Minister's press release

 Successful projects from previous funding rounds

Key documents from round three RPF

Sample documents and FAQs from the round three RFP process are available for reference below.

Contestable fund background

The Government established the contestable fund to encourage innovation and investment that will accelerate uptake of electric and other low emission vehicles in New Zealand that might not otherwise occur, so we can reduce carbon emissions from road transport.

The fund provides up to $6 million per year to co-fund, up to 50%, projects with private and public sector partners in areas where commercial returns aren’t yet strong enough to justify full private investment.

These projects will need to contribute to at least one of the following objectives:

  • Increasing the variety and supply of electric vehicles (EVs) available
  • Improving the availability of servicing or charging infrastructure in areas where demand is not fully developed
  • Increasing demand for EVs
  • Developing innovative products or systems to take advantage of growing EV usage.


There are four criteria under which projects are assessed:

  • Contribution to the fund’s objectives
  • The project’s fit with the investment focus for this funding round
  • The applicant’s ability to deliver
  • The value for money the project offers.

Assessment process

The EECA Board makes funding decisions based on recommendations from an assessment panel. The assessment panel is chaired by EECA board member Elena Trout and comprised of experts from the energy, transport and freight sectors.

Investment focus

To ensure that investment is phased over the life of the fund in a way that matches New Zealand’s progress towards electric vehicles, each year will have a particular investment focus.

The fund’s investment focus for Round Three (closed September 2017) was to:

  • Support the development of the EV charging network by filling key gaps in the network
  • Facilitate the scale-up of EV technology, especially in vehicle fleets
  • Enable the demonstration and uptake of light and heavy EVs and associated technologies in sectors of the economy where EVs remain relatively unproven.


The fund is limited to projects involving mainstream vehicles (and related technologies) that operate on roads used by the public, such as passenger vehicles, buses and trucks.

The following vehicles or related technologies are currently outside the scope of the fund:

  • Maritime, aviation and rail vehicles
  • Vehicles intended for off-road purposes such as forklifts and diggers
  • Conventional hybrid vehicles and those fuelled with biofuel – as they do not use electricity from an external source
  • Two and three wheeled vehicles, such as power-assisted cycles and motorcycles
  • Quadricycles and “neighbourhood” electric vehicles.

The following projects or activities are also outside the scope of the fund:  

  • Any activities that would represent an ongoing financial liability for EECA, such as insurance underwriting
  • Projects that are purely focused on training or professional development
  • Projects that are purely focused on education and information provision, as this is a focus of the EECA information campaign
  • Research – being defined as original and planned investigation undertaken with the prospect of gaining new scientific or technical knowledge and understanding
  • International travel
  • “Business as usual” costs of an organisation, such as the costs associated with existing staff.