New Zealand Electric Vehicle Market Sees Flat Sales in August 2023

The New Zealand car market experienced a rebound in August 2023, with 18,000 light vehicles registered. However, sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) remained flat. Two out of every three vehicles sold had some form of electric propulsion. The market breakdown consisted of 35% conventional plugless hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), 32% petrol vehicles, 12% BEVs, 11% plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and 8% diesel vehicles.

HEVs have seen a significant increase in sales over the past three years, growing from 8% to 35% of the market in 2023. Toyota dominates this segment. While the New Zealand government has provided support for electric vehicle adoption, the high cost of BEVs remains a barrier for many consumers. The country also imports used cars from Japan, which includes a substantial number of Toyota HEVs and a few Nissan LEAFs.

The top-selling BEVs in New Zealand in August 2023 included the BYD Atto 3, MG4, Tesla Model Y, MG ZS EV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia Niro, Volkswagen ID.4, Kia EV6, Tesla Model 3, and Hyundai Kona EV. The introduction of the MG4 to the market has been particularly successful, making SAIC the leading EV producer in New Zealand.

Looking at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the top-selling models in August were the Mitsubishi Outlander, Mitsubishi Cross, Kia Sorrento, Ford Escape, and Mazda CX 60. Toyota, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, and Lexus were the top five HEV manufacturers, while Kia, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Nissan were the top five petrol car brands.

In the upcoming national elections on October 14, a right-leaning coalition is expected to win, potentially leading to the removal of New Zealand’s clean car discount. Without this incentive, some EV prices may increase. However, the market may also see an influx of more affordable vehicles, such as the GWM ORA, MG4, and BYD Dolphin.

The New Zealand National Party has mentioned expanding the charging network but has not provided clear details on their plans for electric vehicles. The party’s electrification policy does not mention EVs specifically. However, if they win the elections, they have committed to investing $257 million over four years to accelerate the rollout of EV infrastructure.

Volkswagen New Zealand believes that if the National Party eliminates the Clean Car Discount rebate program, prices of popular electric vehicles in the country may go up. The rebate currently grants a $7,015 discount for EVs priced at $80,000 or below. The Nationals have also criticized the “ute tax” system, which taxes high-emitting vehicles to fund rebates for low- or zero-emissions vehicles.

Barriers to EV adoption in New Zealand include limited model options, high prices, and a lack of charging infrastructure.

Sources: CleanTechnica