Maximise that EV cashback: New Zealand's 10 cheapest new plug-ins post-rebate
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If you’ve been thinking of buying an Electric Vehicle (EV): the first phase of the New Zealand Government’s Clean Car Programme has already kicked in, with big rebates available to purchasers of new plug-in models costing below $80,000.
The money’s on offer to used-import buyers as well (providing the vehicle is being newly registered in NZ), but the really big savings come if you’re purchasing a brand-new vehicle: the rebates are larger for a start, meaning that high-capital-cost new EVs are looking a whole lot more affordable. The generous warranties being offered on batteries by new-car distributors also mean peace-of-mind for many buyers that will be embracing EV technology for the first time.
Buy a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle, or pure-electric) and you’ll get $8625 back from the Government after you’ve registered your new car. Opt for a PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicle, which combines a plug-in battery with a petrol or diesel engine) and it’s $5750. The rebates for used BEV/PHEV vehicles are $3450/$2300, by the way.
Which now-within-reach new EV should you buy? We’ve come up with list of the 10 least expensive EVs, according to their post-rebate prices.
They’re an interesting bunch and most come in under $50k – while not exactly cheap, certainly mainstream family car money. Factor in drastically reduced running costs and they look even more viable.
MG ZS EV
From $48,990/BEV rebate price $40,365
MG’s little pure-electric SUV has been making headlines since it launched earlier this year. It was already the cheapest new BEV on sale prior to the “feebate” announcement, but $8k-plus back to the buyer takes it right down to $40k. It’s properly affordable.
It also happens to be a really good car. It’s loaded with active technology, well-made and the 44kWh battery gives a real-world range of 263km.
Toyota Prius Prime
From $49,490/PHEV rebate price $43,740
Toyota NZ has quietly dropped the “standard” Prius from its lineup. But the Prime PHEV continues and now represents outstanding value – as well as continuing to fly the flag for what was arguably the world’s first mass-produced eco-car.
The Prime’s plug-in battery gives up to 45km of EV range and is matched to a 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV
From $49,990/PHEV rebate price $44,240
The Eclipse Cross PHEV is a new model on the block, but with familiar technology. It essentially takes the plug-in powertrain from the best-selling Outlander PHEV and packages it in a smaller body.
That means proven mechanicals, including a clever AWD system thanks to the twin-motor setup. The plug-in battery gives 55km range and is paired to a 2.4-litre petrol engine in hybrid mode.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
From $52,490/PHEV rebate price $46,740
The Outlander PHEV is the vehicle that has introduced more Kiwis to new-car EV motoring than any other model. The current model is essentially on runout as we wait for an all-new version, which is why it’s very close to the smaller Eclipse Cross in price: the next version will presumably move upmarket from here.
As per its sister model, there’s AWD, a plug-in battery giving 55km range and a 2.4-litre petrol engine.
MG HS PHEV
From $52,990/PHEV rebate price $47,240
We’ve not yet made the acquaintance of the MG HS PHEV at DRIVEN, but it looks like a promising package. It’s larger than the ZS EV and differs in being a plug-in hybrid, combining a plug-in battery pack (EV range 63km) with a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine.
From $53,990/PHEV rebate price $48,240 (also available as BEV)
The Ioniq is in the last stages of its model life, being replaced by the sleek-looking new Ioniq 5 BEV later this year. However, only one model from the new range sneaks in under the $80k cap for EV rebates, making this outgoing version look like a real bargain.
The Ioniq PHEV’s plug-in battery gives 52km of EV range, while a 1.6-litre petrol engine fires up in hybrid mode. The Ioniq is notable among most EVs in having a dual-clutch gearbox rather the usual e-CVT.
Note that the current Ioniq is also available in BEV configuration, starting at a post-rebate price of $57,365.
From $55,990/PHEV rebate price $50,240 (also available as BEV)
Niro is Kia’s electrified-only SUV range. The cheapest model that qualifies for a rebate in 2021 is the PHEV, which blends a plug-in battery with 55km EV range into a hybrid powertrain that also uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine.
There’s also a cheaper Niro hybrid (no rebate for that until 2022, but it’s only $40k) and a long-range BEV model: post-rebate it costs $69,275.
Peugeot e-208 GT
From $59,990/BEV rebate price $51,365
Peugeot NZ fast-tracked the little e-208 hatch (and the closely related but more expensive e-2008 SUV) to market following the Government’s feebate announcement. The French brand now has 100 BEVs available to Kiwi buyers for delivery in time take advantage of that $8625 rebate.
The e-208 has a range of 340km; the larger e-2008 offers 320km (although it doesn’t make this shortlist, with a post-rebate price of $61,365).
$60,400/BEV rebate price $51,775
Minis are never cheap… but the Mini Electric is now looking like a great-value BEV. It’s primarily a city car and comes only as a three-door hatch, with 233km range from its battery pack (borrowed from the BMW i3).
But it feels truly premium and it’s a lot of fun to drive, with perky city performance (0-60km/h in 3.9 seconds for the Traffic Light GP) and responsive handling.
There’s also a PHEV version of the larger Mini Countryman SUV, although at a post-rebate price of $62,540 it doesn’t quite make our list.
From $61,990/BEV rebate price $53,365
When you say “EV”, most people probably think of the Nissan Leaf. It’s been with us for over a decade and was the first truly mass-produced BEV.
Unlike previous versions, the latest-generation model is a permanent part of Nissan NZ’s new-vehicle range, which means it qualifies for the biggest BEV rebate. The Kiwi model with 40kWh battery (some international/used-import versions have 64kWh) offers 270km range.
There are a number of EVs that didn’t quite make the top 10 cut but still stand out as post-rebate bargains.
Hyundai has added a downsized 39kWh battery version of its popular Kona Electric II (joining the more expensive 64kWh model) that costs $69,990, or $61,395 after the BEV rebate.
If BEV SUVs are your thing, there’s also the previously mentioned Peugeot e-2008 (like the Kona, $69,990/$61,395) or Mazda’s new MX-30 Takami ($74,990/$66,365).
As a PHEV-SUV alternative, there’s the Mini Hybrid Countryman ($68,290/$62,540), which blends a plug-in battery pack with a 1.5-litre turbo-three-cylinder petrol engine to give AWD ability.
Mercedes-Benz’s A 250e PHEV hatch is something of a quiet achiever ($73,100/$67,350) and the entry Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus RWD ($69,990/$61,395) is impossible to ignore.
The Kia Sorento seven-seat PHEV shows you can go big and still get a rebate: the EX AWD model is $73,990 or $68,240 with the Government rebate.