10 Cheapest Electric Cars in New Zealand
Over the last year, EV prices have increased; the combination of the semi-conductor shortage and intense demand has seen incremental price rises in several brands.
However, the market is changing rapidly as new brands and models arrive in New Zealand. BYD, in particular, has pushed the average price down.
At the beginning of 2022, the average price of the ten cheapest EVs was $57,070 (rebate applied). The introduction of the BYD Atto 3 has lowered the average to $53,949 (rebate applied).
1. MG ZS EV
The second-generation ZS EV adds over 50 km range with its new LiFePO battery. The popular small SUV is a New Zealand favourite due to its aggressive pricing.
With two trim levels, Excite and Essence, the new generation also claims a towing capacity of 500 kg.
2. BYD Atto 3
The Atto 3 crossover is the first EV from the massive Chinese BYD marque to hit NZ shores. Although very similar in spec to the 2022 MG ZS EV, it is marginally quicker (with 0-100 km/h in 7.3s compared to 8.6s).
3. BYD Atto 3 Long Range
The Long Range variant of the Atto 3 is similar in all aspects to the standard range but with a larger 60.5 kWh battery. The range per price offers outstanding value, making it the cheapest EV per 100 km range in New Zealand.
4. MINI Cooper SE
The electric Mini has had slow but steady sales since introduced in 2020. The small hatchback has a shorter range compared to other EV hatchbacks (note that Mini claims a 233 km range - but this is only possible if you are driving on 50 km/h roads).
In March 2022 price increased from $59,990 to $60,400, then to $61,340 in July.
5. Nissan Leaf (40kWh)
The second-generation Leaf is a significant upgrade to its popular predecessor. The 5-seat hatchback is roomier, with multiple feature upgrades (such as one-pedal driving). It continues to be a popular choice, with most customers opting for used imports rather than NZ new.
Its 200+ km range is starting to look dated as newer EVs hit the market.
Note that the Japanese import version has only a 3.6 kW charger.
6. Peugeot e-208 GT
The electrified version of the Peugeot 208 offers a good range for its price. With modest but steady sales, in 2022, it is selling at the same rate as its petrol-powered variant.
In March 2022, price increased from $59,990 to $61,990.
7. Kia Niro Plus
The Niro Plus is higher than the regular Niro. The extra space allows for a boot capacity of 1,497 litres (seats folded flat). The seats are also 5 cm larger than the standard Niro.
8. Hyundai IONIQ
The Series II IONIQ Electric has been a preferred choice of fleet vehicles. Despite its relatively modest battery and engine performance, its efficiency allows a more extended range than similar vehicles.
However, for an extra $10k, the Tesla Model 3 is superior in almost every sense and explains why it outsells the IONIQ by ten to one.
9. Kia Niro
The second-generation Niro has a slightly increased range but significant interior and exterior design upgrades. It has a small front trunk and can tow up to a 750 kg braked or a 300 kg unbraked trailer.
Two trims are available: Light and Water (+$6,000). Water offers V2L ability, fog lamps, composite leather interior, heated front seats, a larger 10.25" screen, Harman Kardon 8-speaker sound system, and wireless phone charger.
10. Hyundai Kona 39 kWh
The smaller-battery Kona has a lower price point than its 64 kWh sibling but accounts for less than 20% of Kona EV sales. The lower range and lack of power may be the reason. Other SUVs such as the ZS EV and Atto 3 offer a superior range at a 30% cheaper price - we can expect the 39 kWh variant to disappear into obscurity.
What is the cheapest electric vehicle with the longest range?
The BYD Atto 3 Long Range is the best value for money in terms of range.
When looking at the upfront price compared to the range, the top 10 look pretty different.
Why are EVs so expensive?
Batteries are expensive to produce.
The metals in a lithium-ion battery (including cobalt, nickel, lithium, and manganese) are expensive to extract. Despite a decade-long decline in battery prices, the price levelled off in 2022 due to increasing mineral costs.
However, forecasts indicate prices will continue declining from about 2024. New battery technologies (such as solid-state batteries) are also in the pipeline.
When where will there be price parity?
For many years pundits have tried to predict when EVs would cost the same as a similar combustion car.
The predictions change often, so they are not that helpful. The idea of price parity is becoming less relevant;
- New generation EVs are unique cars from the ground up
What can you compare the Kia EV6 to? It looks like a cross between an SUV and a station wagon. It has V2L capability – allowing you to plug your fridge into it (if you so wish).
- The upfront cost is different from the total cost of ownership (TCO)
EVs are expensive up front, but when you compare running costs over five years, the vehicle may work out cheaper. As diesel and petrol price rises, EV TCO improves.
That said, current predictions of parity range from 2025 to 2028 – however, smaller cars will take much longer to reach parity than larger cars.
For case in point; the base petrol Suzuki Swift costs around $20,000 (rebate applied). That’s cheaper than a decent-sized lithium-ion battery all by itself.
By James Foster
Updated as at July 31, 2022