The Insider: What does the future hold for electric vehicles in New Zealand?
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It was 2019 when we launched our first all-electric vehicle to the New Zealand market, the Jaguar I-PACE. Like many other automotive brands, this was a defining moment for us and a leap into new territory as we raced to beat our competition to market with one of the first luxury Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs).
Fast-forward three years and the charge to electrification is only just getting started, with a growing number of automotive brands announcing bold plans towards electrifying their fleet. Mini, Ford, General Motors, Bentley, Volvo and we at Jaguar have all committed to an all-electric fleet in the next several years.
For our local Jaguar team, the announcement to move the brand to fully electric by 2025 was honestly quite a shock, especially as the ambition is almost futuristic for a brand somewhat viewed as traditionalist.
However, while this may seem like a big leap based on the current New Zealand automotive landscape, looking at trends from the UK it’s easy to see a commitment to electric vehicle innovation at play. Latest reports show UK petrol registrations are down 50.6 per cent from 2020 to 2021 while BEVs are up 54.4 per cent. According to Schmidt Automotive Research, European BEV market share in 2025 is forecasted to reach 13 per cent.
The topic of electric vehicle adoption among manufacturers is therefore no longer shrouded in doubt but instead backed with assurance as governments push forward to support climate action via alternate fuel sources.
It’s true that electric vehicle adoption in New Zealand has moved at a slower trajectory compared to other regions, however I believe this is set to change, with the market showing much validation over the past two years via the introduction of quality EVs from Audi, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz.
As further reinforcement, the Jaguar I-PACE went on to win World Car of the Year as well as a wide number of international awards including European Car of the Year, German Car of the Year, British Car of the Year and New Zealand Car of the Year.
As a result, we made 112 I-PACE sales during our first year in market, a strong result for the first all-electric Jaguar.
Given our own Government directive towards supporting electric vehicles (current exemption from road user charges, lower ACC payments, preferential parking), BEV sales are expected to account for 80 per cent of New Zealand's EV sales by the end of 2025, up from our previous forecast of 67 per cent, according to Fitch Solutions. And while other buyers in the market have taken more time to get their heads around pure electric, mainly due to a lack of financial incentives, we are seeing hybrids become more common place on New Zealand roads, which are acting as a stepping stone to BEVs.
The launch of Formula E has also been valuable for many brands including BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, etc when it comes to supporting electric vehicle advancements.
While motorsport and electric vehicle technology haven’t come hand-in-hand before, Formula E has pivoted over the past four years to allow focus on vehicle enhancements, providing manufacturers the opportunity to improve their technology on the track before applying it to their road cars.
Jaguar has doubled down on this with the addition of the all-electric I-PACE eTrophy, a support series to Formula E from 2018-20, won by our very own Kiwi racer, Simon Evans.
From this series, we have seen very encouraging improvements in critical areas like battery range improvements, with the Jaguar I-PACE battery now boasting up to 470km (under theWLTP test cycle).
The EV market is no longer exclusively the domain of the innovators and has well and truly begun to move more mass market with early adopters. For our products, the next group of buyers have become more interested now that we have removed the major unknown; residual values. For us, this has been achieved by guaranteeing the future value of pure electric and hybrid vehicles in our range.
Coupled with the increasing battery range the pain points are largely dissipating and the visions outlined by the premium manufacturers become less visionary and instead wholly achievable.