Forget the rebates: premium BEVs are absolutely booming in New Zealand
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With the introduction of the Government's Clean Car Discount on July 1, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are suddenly a hot topic in the New Zealand new-vehicle market.
With the maximum rebate of $8625 available to buyers of BEVs (pure-electric vehicles) that cost less than $80,000, this new technology is suddenly becoming mainstream. BEVs are much more affordable and we already know that they are very cheap to run. It's all about saving money.
Or is it? While there was definitely a big boost in sub-$80k BEVs in July that contributed to sales doubling compared with June, what's perhaps more surprising is the consistent demand for premium BEVs. Luxury buyers are really embracing the concept of high-priced, high-performance BEVs. Makes sense, really: it's relatively new technology that appeals to early adopters and risk-takers - wealthy business people, in other words.
Year-to-date, at least four (arguably five) of the top 10-selling BEVs are luxury models. While Tesla's big-selling Model 3 is finding an even greater audience thanks to a new rebate-friendly price of $66,990 for the entry-level Standard Range Plus model, don't forget that every other variant is over the $80k cap. And it outsells its closest, much more affordable, BEV rival nearly two to one.
Audi's e-tron (presumably including not only the SUV models but also a handful of the e-tron GT sports car just launched) has racked up 93 sales. On the topic of the German brand's new GT BEV, Audi NZ already holds orders for another 60 cars in NZ.
That takes us neatly to the GT's close relation, the Porsche Taycan. Porsche NZ has sold an incredible 80 units of the specialised super-sports car (which costs a minimum of $178,500 and goes all the way up to $373,400) so far this year.
Even Mercedes-Benz's EQC 400 (reigning NZ Car of the Year and DRIVEN's latest long-term test vehicle) is finding its feet after a slow start, with 48 sales year-to-date. Significantly, the EQA (essentially a downsized version of the EQC) has racked up 28 sales after a very short time on the market.
Compare all of the above to what many would consider the quintessential mass-market BEV, the Nissan Leaf, which has accumulated just 55 sales year-to-date.
It's true that supply is an issue for many mainstream BEVs and those brands that can source cars are doing well (Tesla and MG being good examples). But don't discount the important of premium models as technology and sales pioneers in the market shift towards BEVs. Even though they don't actually get a discount...
NZ'S TOP-SELLING BEVS FOR 2021 SO FAR
1. Tesla Model 3 (903)
2. MG ZS EV (427)
3. Hyundai Kona (385)
4.Hyundai Ioniq (118)
5. Kia Niro (98)
6. Audi e-tron (93)
7. Porsche Taycan (80)
8. Mini Electric (68)
9. Mercedes-Benz EQC (48)
10. Nissan Leaf (55)