New Zealand’s most popular electric cars revealed

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Words: Matthew Hansen
8 Jun 2021

As the country moves closer to more legislation around electric cars and hybrids, it’s logical to ask which brands are ‘winning’ in the segment at the moment — even in its relative infancy.

The Motor Industry Association has released registration data for low-emissions vehicles for the first five months of 2021, showing who’s top of the EV pops and who’s perhaps not quite punching at their desired weight.

It’s probably not a big surprise that the Tesla Model 3 is the national number one, with 483 registrations for the year so far.

Tesla sales are a fascinating thing, with followers of the brand moving to its latest release like moths to a flame. The older Model S and Model X have recorded paltry sales by comparison, with just four and three for the year respectively.

In second is the new MG ZS EV. Launching late last year, the country’s cheapest EV (priced at $48,990) has had 225 registrations this year so far. Not a bad effort given that the MG brand was only relaunched to New Zealand a few years ago, and doesn’t carry the national cache of other legacy marques.

The Hyundai Kona Electric rounds out the podium with 209 registrations between January and May. An updated version of the Kona (both in electric and internal combustion form) arrived in the country a few months ago.

What follows is a slew of contenders from the $60,000–$80,000 EV bracket — all well behind the leading trio. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Kia Niro Electric, Mini Cooper Electric, and Nissan Leaf registered 77, 46, 29, and 25 registrations for the opening one-and-a-bit quarters.

Interspersed among the entry-level EVs are the arguably more impressive sales figures from the premium marques. This group was led by the Porsche Taycan, which recorded a credible 68 registrations nationwide. That’s nothing to sniff at given that the model starts at $203,900.

The Audi e-tron narrowly beat the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Jaguar I-Pace in the European SUV stakes. The three competitors have had 54, 36, and 22 registrations this year thus far. Expect the Mercedes-Benz EQA to be right amongst all of these players by the end of the year. It’s set to launch soon, with 11 of them already registered.

In the plug-in hybrid segment, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the clear leader on 248 registrations, followed by the Mini Countryman plug-in (60), BMW X3 (38), Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 (20), and the Kia Sorento and Mercedes-Benz GLC (both on 18).

Hybrid sales, meanwhile, continue to be dominated by Toyota. The RAV4 (1513) leads the Corolla (779), C-HR (546), Yaris (436), and Yaris Cross (379). The Suzuki Swift and Honda Jazz are the best of the rest, with 209 and 201 registrations, respectively.

It’s worth noting that the Jazz has only been offered for a few months. Expect it to jump up the order by the end of the year.

New Zealand’s most popular electric cars: January 2021–May 2021

1. Tesla Model — 383 registrations
2. MG ZS EV — 225 registrations
3. Hyundai Kona Electric — 209 registrations
4. Hyundai Ioniq Electric — 77 registrations
5. Porsche Taycan — 68 registrations
6. Kia Niro Electric — 46 registrations
7. Mercedes-Benz EQC — 36 registrations
8. Mini Cooper Electric — 29 registrations
9. Nissan Leaf — 25 registrations
10. Jaguar I-Pace — 22 registrations

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