Inside the 18 electric cars that Kiwis can buy today
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The arrival of the new Nissan Leaf electric hatchback in showrooms this week seems a timely point to take a look over New Zealand’s steadily expanding electric vehicle market.
Customer choice in the EV category has been growing month-by-month with the focus split between new premium models — the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron priced from just under $150,000 — and newcomers closer to mainstream pricing such as the Leaf and Kia Niro EV.
The second-generation Nissan Leaf has gone on sale from $59,990 (plus on road costs). It is one of the more compelling EV equations to date when evaluating purchase price, performance, battery capacity and claimed full-charge driving range.
It’s the same price as the entry-level Hyundai Ioniq hatch but the Leaf has a larger 40kWh lithium-ion battery — compared to 28.2kWh capacity for the Ioniq.
That equates to about a third more driving range for the Leaf while a car with similar range is the Kia Niro EV 289 with 39.2kWh battery capacity and a $69,990 price-tag.
The Leaf is the latest zero-emissions model that would fit under the Government’s suggested $80,000 threshold to qualify for the full $8000 “feebate” under its proposed Clean Car initiative.
Other EVs that meet the Clean Car requirements are the EV 289 and EV 455 versions of the Kia Niro EV, both Hyundai Ioniq models, the Renault Zoe mini car and Renault Kangoo EV van, the LDV EV 80 van and Volkswagen e-Golf.
The lower-spec versions of the Hyundai Kona electric and BMW i3 just slip under the $80k cut-off.
Tesla has recently confirmed its new Model 3 lineup with the standard range and rear-wheel drive entry-level version priced from $73,900 although Long Range and Performance models with all-wheel drive start from $94,200 and $101,100 respectively.
In the luxury realm — and well above the $80,000 threshold — the Jaguar I-Pace starts at $144,990, the new Audi e-tron 55 quattro is priced from $148,500 while recently reduced Tesla pricing sees the Model S and Model X start at $146,500 and $156,000.
A price gap of almost $60,000 exists in the EV market between the BMW i3 S at $85,990 and the Jaguar I-Pace SE at $144,990 with only the Long Range and Performance upgrades to the Tesla Model 3 filling that space.
The next vehicles expected to debut in the Kiwi EV sector are the Mercedes-Benz EQC, set for a late-2019 or early-2020 launch date, along with the Porsche Taycan and Audi’s e-tron Sportback and e-tron GT.