Advocates of electric cars may one day look back on July 2021 as being a momentous one for New Zealand motoring. It marked the first month of government rebates for full electric vehicles and plug-in vehicles, new and used.
As reported yesterday, a record number of plug-in vehicles were registered on Kiwi roads in July, with most crediting the shift to the aforementioned Clean Car Discount rebates. Only time can tell whether this momentum continues for the rest of the year, but the numbers are nevertheless a feather in the cap of those who support the legislation.
So, what were the best-sellers in the new-vehicle fleet? Were they all models impacted by the rebate? Let’s dive in. (Prices quoted are for entry-level variants, on-road costs not included).
10. Mazda MX-30 EV, 29 registrations
Price before rebate: $74,990
Price after rebate: $66,365
Launching in May, Mazda’s first electric car is one of the more premium entries to the national top 10 — blending Mazda’s new interior and exterior styling ethos with electrification. Surprisingly or not, the fully electric variant sold in greater numbers in July than the hybrid Limited equivalent. Our full review of the electric MX-30 is in the upcoming August edition of NZ Autocar Magazine.
9. Mini Cooper SE, 33 registrations
Price before rebate: $60,400
Price after rebate: $51,775
The Mini Cooper SE is often a curiously overlooked fixture among the clump of pure EVs priced around the $60,000 mark. It’s credit to BMW and Mini that it outsold most of its logical rivals in July, most notably the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq. The SE’s sales data for the year shows how much of an impact the rebate had. Despite being on sale all year, July was only the second month that its monthly sales exceeded double digits.
8. Mini Countryman Hybrid, 37 registrations
Price before rebate: $68,290
Price after rebate: $62,540
The recently updated Countryman Hybrid pipped its pure EV cousin at the post, perhaps stealing away a few curious buyers wanting to cash in on the rebate but needing more practicality and range than the Cooper SE musters. The plug-in Countryman is arguably one of Mini’s most well-rounded offerings, blending signature ‘go-karting’ handling with plenty of space, novelty styling, and a plug.
7. Kia Niro Electric, 49 registrations
Price before rebate: $77,990
Price after rebate: $69,365
A little like the Mini Cooper SE, the Kia Niro Electric has always been a little overlooked by the market, too. This is particularly true when you compare it to its Hyundai Kona cousin. It remains a nifty buy, given that all models come standard with a 64kWh battery and a 455km range (WLTP rating). No dinky 39kWh batteries here.
6. MG HS PHEV, 63 registrations
Price before rebate: $52,990
Price after rebate: $47,240
A few months ago I suggested the plug-in HS was MG’s secret weapon. Come July, and the model was edged only by two Mitsubishis in the PHEV stakes. Sized similar to the Outlander PHEV, the HS boasts more current architecture and more standard tech. Its sole available trim is the Essence — the model’s flagship spec. It was the model’s first proper month of sales, too, with just seven having previously been registered between April and June.
5. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, 99 registrations
Price before rebate: $52,990
Price after rebate: $47,240
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the cockroach that won’t die, delivering reliable sales for Mitsubishi worldwide, even in its old age. An all-new model is coming; internal combustion versions will be here before the year’s out, and the new PHEV is expected to be unveiled this month. It’s worth noting that Mitsubishi’s local dealers are among the most likely to give cheeky discounts. Even in writing this story we found that the entry-level XLS had had its price generously trimmed down from its previous $61,990 sticker.
4. Hyundai Kona Electric, 151 registrations
Price before rebate: $69,990
Price after rebate: $61,365
You’d have bet that Hyundai’s electric Kona would’ve cracked the podium finishers for the month (technically it does if you’re exclusively counting pure EVs). Regardless, 151 registrations for July is almost three times more than Hyundai’s managed to register in any previous month this year. In late June the company confirmed it would finally be bringing in lower-price 39kWh models, lowering the cost of the cheapest Kona EV by $10,000.
3. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV, 156 registrations
Price before rebate: $49,990
Price after rebate: $44,240
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV was the country’s best-selling plug-in hybrid for July, finishing within touching distance of the predictable lead pairing. Hitting the Kiwi market slightly under the radar, the Eclipse’s $49,990 price is a special ‘launch price’, although if past ‘lauch prices’ are anything to go by expect it to be widely available for this figure for a while yet.
2. MG ZS EV, 180 registrations
Price before rebate: $48,990
Price after rebate: $40,365
We’d quietly tipped MG’s award-winning ZS EV to claim the national top spot for July, given its bargain-basement pricing and popularity. But, the model came just 17 vehicles short. The 371km, 44.5kWh ZS thoroughly outsold its ICE cousins two-to-one, helping the model crack the overall New Zealand top 10 sellers for the month. NZ Autocar understands that there’s supply issues with the model, with some customers reportedly on a waiting list. But, they’re unlikely to be alone.
1. Tesla Model 3, 197 registrations
Price before rebate: $66,900
Price after rebate: $58,275
The Tesla Model 3 has been the country’s best-selling plug-in for most of 2021, so it’s no surprise to see it continue that momentum. The rebates will have played a significant role in the model’s success, but it’s worth remembering that only the entry-level Standard Range Plus variant can claim the rebate. A spate of recent discounts across the line-up have ensured ongoing interest in the model. Taking bets now to see whether the Model Y will be priced underneath the $80,000 threshold when it eventually arrives…