All the rebate-eligible electric vehicles for every budget

With the arrival of a new rebate to encourage New Zealanders into EVs, more people than ever are considering trading in their gas-guzzler for a cleaner alternative. So what’s on the market, and how much will it cost you? Joe Canham runs down your options.

This weekend the government announced it will be following countries like Norway and Germany in incentivising the purchase of electric vehicles, in an effort to make them accessible to more New Zealanders. To fund the programme, fees will be added to higher emission vehicles (including many utes and SUVs) from January 2022.

Valid concerns about costs were immediately raised by people who need utes and the like to do their job. The good news is that there are already electric van options, and the range of EVs on the market is widening fast, so it’s only a matter of time before we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to electric-powered utes and light trucks. In the meantime, here’s hoping that the Remuera Tractor trend dies out.

All this talk of cheaper EVs may have you wondering what your current options are, and what they’ll cost under the new programme, so we’ve put together this guide to the electric vehicles available right now on the New Zealand market. Whatever you have your eyes on, remember that to be eligible for a rebate the vehicle must cost $80,000 or less, its date of registration must be 1st July 2021 or later, and it needs to have a safety rating of three stars or higher.

Tip – if you’re searching for a used vehicle on Trade Me, the “excludes on road costs” disclaimer is likely to mean it’s a fresh import and not yet registered, making it eligible for the rebate. But check before buying!

Some quick definitions 

Battery electric vehicle (BEV): a vehicle that runs completely on battery power, with no tailpipe

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV): a vehicle that charges from the wall and can run without tailpipe emissions for a distance, with an engine that kicks in after the battery power runs out to keep you moving

Electric vehicle (EV): blanket term that encompasses the above two types of vehicle

The rebate amounts

NZ new battery electric vehicle: $8625

NZ new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle: $5750

Newly imported, used battery EV: $3450

Newly imported, used plug-in hybrid electric vehicle: $2300

Many hybrids and efficient combustion cars may also become eligible for a rebate from next year, but they’ll get less than amounts above and the figure will vary based on the vehicle’s emissions rating. For now we’ll just be looking at EVs which are either NZ new or fresh used imports, as these vehicles will be eligible for rebates from July 1.

Now you’re clued up on the basics, let’s see the options.

$0 – $5,000

At the time of writing, there aren’t viable EV options on the market under $5k. This is an issue the rebates should help change in the coming years.

$5,000 – 15,000

Mitsubishi i-MIEV, used, 2009+

2014 i-MiEV Aqua (Photo: Mitsubishi)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 3 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $6,000 – $8,000

Note: this model is quite rare, but we may see more used imports coming soon in response to the rebates.

Nissan Leaf, used, 2013-2014

The Nissan Leaf, circa 2013-2014 (Photo: Nissan)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 4 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $8000 – $15,000

Note: Prices are highly variable based on battery condition – see The pros and cons of buying a Nissan Leaf in New Zealand

Toyota Prius PHV, used, 2012-2013

Toyota Prius PHV (Photo: Toyota USA)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $10,500 – $12,000

Photo: Toyota USA

$15,000 – $30,000

Nissan Leaf, used, 2015-2017

A Nissan Leaf (Photo: Nissan)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 4 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $13,500 – $21,000

Note: Prices are highly variable based on battery size, battery condition and trim level – see The pros and cons of buying a Nissan Leaf in New Zealand

Nissan e-NV200, used, 2015-2016

The e-NV200 (Photo: Nissan)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $16,500 – $21,000

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, used, 2013-2015

The Outlander PHEV (Photo: Mitsubishi)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety rating: 4 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $18,000 – $28,000

BMW i3, used, 2014-2015

The i3. (Photo: BMW Group)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $26,000 – $30,000

Note: If in the market for this model, ensure you’re looking at the battery electric version, not the ‘REx’ which is a plug-in hybrid.

$30,000 – $50,000

Toyota Prius Prime, used, 2017-2018

The Prius Prime (Photo: Toyota USA)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $30,500 – $32,000

Nissan Leaf, used, 2017-2018

Another Leaf. (Photo: Nissan USA)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $32,000 – $37,000

Note: See The pros and cons of buying a Nissan Leaf in New Zealand

BMW i3 REx, used, 2014-2016

The i3 REx (Photo: BMW Group)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $33,000 – $34,000

MG ZS EV, NZ new

The MG ZS EV (Photo: MG Motor UK)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 4 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $41,000

Toyota Prius Prime, NZ new

A current model Prius Prime (Photo: Toyota USA)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $44,000

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV (base), NZ new

Eclipse Cross PHEV (base). (Photo: Mitsubishi Motors)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $44,750

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid, NZ new

The MG HS Plug-in Hybrid. (Photo: MG Motor UK)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety Rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $47,250

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, NZ new

A current model Outlander PHEV. (Photo: Mitsubishi)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $47,250

Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid Series II (entry), NZ new

The Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid Series II. (Photo: Hyundai Motors USA)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $48,500

LDV eDeliver 3 (base), NZ new

LDV eDeliver 3 (base). (Photo: LDV)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $49,000

$50,000 – $80,000

Hyundai IONIQ Electric Series II (entry), NZ new

The Hyundai IONIQ Electric Series II. (Photo: Hyundai Motors USA)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $51,500

Kia Niro PHEV SX, NZ new

The Kia Niro PHEV SX. (Photo: Kia Media)

Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $55,000

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, NZ new

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus. (Photo: Tesla Motors)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $61,500

Renault Kangoo EV, NZ new

Renault Kangoo EV. (Photo: Renault Group)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $66,500

Kia Niro EV, NZ new

Kia Niro. (Photo: Kia Media)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $70,000

Hyundai Kona Electric Series II (entry), NZ new

Hyundai Kona Electric Series II. (Photo: Hyundai USA)

Vehicle type: Battery electric

Safety rating: 5 stars

Approximate cost after rebate: $71,500

And that’s where we stop. Vehicles with a purchase price of over $80,000 aren’t eligible for a rebate, so you can enjoy paying full price if you fall into this budget category. Be sure to do your own research and calculations before making any purchasing decisions. Happy travels!




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