Hyundai has announced that it will be the first car manufacturer to sell electric cars in New Zealand. It has already sold the first vehicle which will be delivered in November.

The cars will be fully electric, plug-in Hyundai Getz models, which are already available with petrol engines. The vehicles will be retro-fitted with batteries and an electric motor to replace the original engine. The retro-fitting will be done by Blade Electric Vehicles, which will set up a production facility in New Zealand based on projected sales of 200 vehicles a year.

David Crawford, general manager land transport environment and safety for the Ministry of Transport, said the Government saw this "as an important first step towards achieving transport-related targets in particular, the Government’s target to become one of the first countries in the world to widely use electric vehicles".

Electricity company, Meridian Energy, also plans to introduce electric vehicles. It will have several Mitsubishi MiEV vehicles for trial and promotion purposes early next year