10 Cheapest Electric Cars in New Zealand

Over the last year, EV prices have increased; the combination of the semiconductor 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).

At the start of 2023, the average is $52,976 (rebate applied).

  • 1. MG ZS EV

    PRICE$49,990
    AFTER REBATE$41,365
    RANGE320 km

    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.

    See specs

  • 2. Hyundai IONIQ

    PRICE$57,990
    AFTER REBATE$49,365
    RANGE311 km

    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.

    See specs

  • 3. BYD Atto 3

    PRICE$58,990
    AFTER REBATE$50,365
    RANGE345 km

    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).

    See specs

  • 4. Opel Corsa-e

    PRICE$59,990
    AFTER REBATE$51,365
    RANGE383 km

    The Corsa-e is available in the top spec SRi variant.

    See specs

  • 5. SsangYong Korando e-Motion

    SsangYong Korando
    PRICE$59,990
    AFTER REBATE$51,365
    RANGE339 km

    The SsangYong Korando e-Motion is a small-medium SUV EV that is priced similarly to its closest competition, the Atto 3 Extended model. The Korando e-Motion has a single motor that provides 140kW and 360Nm of torque.

    The interior of the Korando EV is more straightforward than the Atto 3, and it is more intuitive to use. The rear seat is surprisingly generous, and the boot space is 551L.

    See specs

  • 6. BYD Atto 3 LR

    PRICE$62,490
    AFTER REBATE$53,865
    RANGE420 km

    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.

    See specs

  • 7. Nissan Leaf

    PRICE$63,990
    AFTER REBATE$55,365
    RANGE270 km

    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.

    New price increased from 61990 to 63990 (October 2022)

    See specs

  • 8. Kia Niro Plus

    PRICE$64,990
    AFTER REBATE$56,365
    RANGE427 km

    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.

    See specs

  • 9. Peugeot e-208 GT (1st gen)

    PRICE$67,990
    AFTER REBATE$59,365
    RANGE362 km

    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.

    The 2022 model year included optimisations that slightly increased the range (from 340 to 362 km).

    See specs

  • 10. Mazda MX-30

    PRICE$68,590
    AFTER REBATE$59,965
    RANGE200 km

What is the cheapest electric vehicle with the longest range?

The Tesla Model 3 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.

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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 leveled 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 will there be price parity?

For many years pundits predicted when EVs would cost the same as similar combustion cars.

The predictions change often, so 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 example, 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

James has been tracking the NZ EV transition since 2016.

Updated as at December 31, 2022