Confirmed: the new Nissan Leaf EV is coming to New Zealand
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Last September Nissan whipped the covers of its new Leaf EV — and while we were rather excited to see it, it came with a caveat of not knowing whether it would come to New Zealand. All we knew at the time was that it would come here in 2019 'on evaluation'.
That's a treacherous term that describes a manufacturer's hesitance to bring a 'risque' platform into a country. And that's something of a surprise for the Kiwi market, given the buzz around EVs and the huge volume of second-hand Nissan Leafs (Leaves?) that are populating car dealerships all over the country. Sales still aren't anywhere near what utes and SUVs are shifting, but change is coming ... they say.
Anyway, this is all brought up because overnight Nissan confirmed that the Leaf would indeed be hitting New Zealand shores. No word yet on the specifics of when they'll arrive, or obviously how much they'll cost. All the company have revealed is that Europe will get their share of the new EV this month, and the rest of us will get them after that.
“The New Nissan LEAF is the most advanced, yet accessible 100 per cent electric vehicle on the planet,” says Yutaka Sanada, Nissan's regional senior vice president. "This ingenuous car will make you feel more confident, more excited, more connected than any other mainstream electric vehicle.
“The launch in so many markets shows our commitment to playing a leading role in electrification in this dynamic region, and to delivering the future of mobility to the region now.”
The Leaf when it lands will walk into an interesting pool of rivals.
The Hyundai Ionic probably leads that charge (heh, electricity pun, unintentional), having comfortably topped last year's EV numbers in New Zealand according to the MIA's registration data (206 Ionics joining the Kiwi fleet).
But beyond the Ionic, few other 'entry level' EVs broke big numbers. The next best sellers were both Teslas (Model S and Model Xs), with the wonderfully-quirky-but-not-so-cheap BMW i3 next in line. After the Ionic, the next most commonly registered new EV of 2017 was the Volkswagen E Golf, on a relatively minor 28.
It's hard to really read anything into these numbers, however. As the EV game transitions from early adopters to the mainstream (and as charging infrastructure improves nationwide), cars like the Leaf should become a more common sight on local showroom floors.
And then the Model 3 will land, and all hell will break loose.