AA Buyer's Guide: Manufacturers of the future
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Sustainability is at the forefront all around the globe as carmakers move towards reducing their carbon footprints. Investment in Electric Vehicles (EVs) is one of the primary ways they are doing it.
The Government recently proposed a Clean Car Standard which, if approved, will take effect next year. The bill would require car importers to meet increasingly lower emissions targets, falling to 105 grams of CO2/km average by 2025.
Currently, New Zealand is way behind other countries – we have an average of 171g/km.
In the press over the last few weeks we’ve seen different sides of the argument on the topic. For instance, the chairman of the Climate Change Commission, Dr Rod Carr, issued a statement pushing for EVs to account for over half of all vehicle imports by 2028, as well as a ban on petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035.
On the other hand, chief executive of Toyota NZ, Neeraj Lala, argues that importers may struggle to get a good amount of EVs and hybrids, and will have to look at alternative countries (other than Japan) should the Clean Car Standard become legislation.
“Less than one per cent of Japan's total light vehicle sales last year were EV. Importers will be forced to look elsewhere to meet local emissions standards,” Lala told the NZ Herald.
“There will be a supply of new, and potentially, cheap Chinese-made EVs,” continues Lala. “But therein lies the problem. Chinese cars are not designed for NZ roads and very few, at present, are ANCAP safety tested and rated.”
No matter which side of the fence you’re on, there’s no doubt that EVs are increasing in popularity. An impressive 511 Tesla Model 3 vehicles were sold in 2020 alone.
Tesla was founded less than 20 years ago and is considered one of the “new kids on the block”, despite record sales and a share price of over US$660 at the time of writing. Since then, manufacturers including Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have all launched EVs.
We thought it would be a good idea to look into some of the other EV manufacturers who could become household names in the future.
Fisker is an American company named after its founder Hendrik Fisker, and has been around for 14 years, despite going bankrupt in 2013. Previous investors include actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
The company has already released a performance EV – the Karma – but intends to sell an intriguing crossover SUV at around US$40,000. The model will be called Ocean and would suit markets in the US, UK and NZ.
Rivian is an American automaker that plans to launch an all-electric ute (pictured above in blue) and SUV in North America in 2021. The Launch Edition of the ute, the R1T, has a range of over 482km and a battery pack option giving 643km. The entry Explorer model starts at US$67,500.
The company has also announced a rollout of the North American charging network called the Adventure Network, which has promised 600 charging stations by the end of 2023.
Byton is a Chinese manufacturer that plans to make a medium SUV called the M-Byte. An expansive, futuristic 48-inch screen is the showpiece on this car, along with rotating seats which swivel to let the driver and passenger absorb the experience of such a large display; many of us don’t have a screen this big in our lounges, let alone on the dashboard of a car.
There are 200kW rear-drive and 300kW AWD options, with overall range ranging from 430-550km. It can fast charge from 0-80 per cent in just 35min.
Lordstown Motors has been in development of a US$52,500 ute called the Endurance and is looking to target fleet customers.
The cars are being assembled in Lordstown, Ohio using equipment that was once used to make the Holden/Chevrolet Cruze.
Unfortunately, this model received some bad press in January after a prototype caught fire 10 minutes after the initial test drive.
BYD (it stands for Build Your Dreams) is another Chinese manufacturer, and we’ve spotted a few imported examples of its cars on our roads already. The BYD Han’s long-range model (pictured above in red) has a remarkable single-charge range of 605km and starts at approximately US$32,800.
The 4WD high-performance version possesses acceleration of 0-100km/h in just 3.9 seconds, making it China’s fastest production EV.
The BYD Han is estimated to cost $49,995 in NZ and it’s been announced that it will be available for direct online sale in October 2021 from BYD Australia.
How the AA is helping
The AA recently submitted on the Climate Change Commission’s draft advice on lowering transport emissions. We think there needs to be much more investment in biofuels to help bridge the gap before EVs are widely available.
The AA is also committed to showing the ongoing action our Association is taking to live and work in more climate-friendly ways. This includes providing practical tips, tools and ideas for how our members might do more with less.
Most recently, AA Smartfuel has partnered with carbon offsetting company Carbon Click to make it simple for its 2.8 million customers to take measurable action on their carbon footprint.
For more info about the AA’s sustainability journey, visit aa.co.nz/sustainability