Feature article

The top 5 EVs in NZ...that aren’t a Nissan Leaf

Interested in an EV but want something a little different to a Nissan Leaf? Here are 5 of the top alternative EVs in NZ.

When buying a car in New Zealand, more and more people are going electric. We may still trail behind the likes of Norway, where EVs accounted for a remarkable 55% of new car sales in 2019*, but New Zealand is in the top 20 of countries making the switch to electric cars**. When you think of an EV, you inevitably think of a Nissan Leaf, and this model accounts for over 50% of EV sales in NZ, but there are other excellent options. Let’s take a look at five of the top alternative EVs currently available in Aotearoa.

Hyundai IONIQ

While it might lag behind the Nissan Leaf for used car sales, just like every other EV, the IONIQ is the most popular EV for Kiwis to buy new. Even our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has one! Sleek, stylish and nice looking, while also being fully emission free, you can see why it appeals. The IONIQ comes with an optional fast charger wall box that’ll have your battery fully charged and ready to hit the road in four or five hours.

BMW i3

EVs are sometimes criticised for being a little too unusual looking, but the i3 is eye-catching in the best ways possible. Lightweight - owing to the fact that the body is built from reinforced plastic - zippy, reliable and compact, it’s a perfect city runaround. In 2015, the i3 won the coveted New Zealand Car of the Year award. It has also been awarded a full 5 star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) – meaning it’s safe as well as environmentally friendly and economically efficient.

Nissan e-NV200

The Leaf is such a phenomenon that it’s easy to forget that Nissan actually have another excellent EV in their ranks – the e-NV200. This model is a van, so if you run a small business, this could well be the EV for you. Available in either cargo or passenger friendly versions, this is a versatile van that can be tailored to best suit your needs. Its battery range of 170km is decent rather than exceptional, so the e-NV200 is best used as a town or city business runaround, rather than something in which you transport goods further afield in NZ.

Volkswagen e-Golf

An electric version of one of the most popular and reliable hatchbacks of all time – that’s a fairly irresistible combination. The e-Golf combines Volkswagen solidity and heritage with modern electric car technology. Capable of travelling 201km on a full charge, the 2nd generation e-Golf has enough range to cover you pretty well for a day’s travel on a single charge. If you’re reluctant to say goodbye to your beloved Golf, but want to go electric, you now have an excellent option.

Tesla Model 3

While we appreciate that, at close to $80,000, the Model 3 will be a bit rich for a lot of Kiwis’ tastes, this price actually represents a degree of, dare we say it, affordability compared to most other new Teslas. Yes, it’s cool, desirable, sophisticated and an absolute head-turner, boasting superior handling and performance, but the most noteworthy thing about the two different versions of Model 3 is the range: 402km for the Standard Range Plus, a stunning 523km in the Long Range model. Goodbye range anxiety, you won’t be missed.

EV in NZ

So, while we love the Nissan Leaf and find its increased presence on our Kiwi roads a pleasing, exciting sight, we hope this article has helped you realise that it’s not a case of Leaf or bust. It might currently be the popular choice for a used EV in the country, but it’s not the only option. If you want to join the ever-expanding ranks of EV drivers, but would prefer a car that’s a little less ubiquitous, we hope we’ve given you some food for thought.

* Norwegian Road Federation 2019

** Ministry of Transport New Zealand 2019