Testing Electric and Hybrid cars on our roads.
It doesn’t seem like long ago that electric cars were on the horizon and being touted as “the way of the future”. Many of us might have been reasonably un-inspired by these claims due to un-practical ranges, high prices, and a lack of options in the market. However, since then there has been a boom in the electric car market with manufacturers realising the increased demand for sustainable travel options in a world faced with climate issues. As a result, there are now several options available to suit all budgets and preferences in the NZ market.
EV’s can be split up into two main categories based on their reliance on electric motor power:
Fully electric: This refers to cars that rely solely on electric motors to power them and do not take any petrol
Hybrids: This is a car in which combining petrol/diesel and battery power for better efficiency. Its battery can be recharged by plugging it into an external power source, by its onboard petrol-powered engine or a generator system.
The distance ranges of EVs are tested under the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). This creates a consistent accuracy across the industry and gives customers complete confidence with what they are buying. Concerning plug-in hybrids, we have scored them based on fuel consumption to give you a comparative understanding.
Interested in becoming more sustainable with your daily driving? This is our list of the best EV’s on the market for each body style in NZ right now:
Nissan Leaf (Hatchback)
In 2019/2020, the Nissan Leaf was the world's best-selling fully electric vehicle due to its market-leading reasonable price point, small-car practicality, and innovative technology. In New Zealand specifically, the Nissan Leaf is one of the most readily available cars on this list with extensive Nissan dealer support for getting its customers into the EV market. Unlike many competitors on this list, it does not come with a huge ‘EV premium’ making it a great entry point for anyone looking to get into the EV space. With slow, fast, and rapid charging options in public spaces, it is a great choice for anyone looking for all of the small-car convenience without the petrol stops.
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range (Sedan)
Courtesy of Tesla, Inc
WLTP Range- 410km
It’s likely if you have heard of electric cars, you have heard about Tesla. The Model 3 is the flagship sedan that has led the Tesla charge due to its industry-leading range, unique interior experience, and unrivalled performance over its counterparts. With the base model offering a blistering 0-100 of 5.6 seconds, a range of 410km, and supercharging stations in NZ that recharge 300km of range in 15 minutes, it is unrivalled for those looking to drive the family around in style.
Kia Niro EV (Compact SUV)
The Kia Niro EV is the perfect combination of practicality and useability. It takes all the best aspects that Kia is known for including safety, impressive interior technology and combines it with the new chapter of electric mobility. If you would like to learn more about Kia, you can read our profile on Kia (here). Not only this, in NZ there is a complimentary battery warranty, 5-year warranty, and roadside assistance to let you drive away in complete confidence. If you are looking for the perfect all-around electric vehicle from an up-and-coming brand, don’t look any further!
Jaguar I-Pace (SUV)
Jaguar is an industry leader combining performance and luxury no matter what body style. So what do you get when you combine these qualities with the demands of the modern buyer? The I-Pace, an all-electric SUV with 696Nm and captivating styling. With over 470km of range from its 90kWh battery and 1453 total load space, it also has the practicality to match. For those looking to get their hands on a true luxury electric all-rounder and who aren’t as budget-conscious, this could be the perfect option.
With production spanning over 40 years and 8 generations, the Volkswagen Golf has set the benchmark of style and performance for hot hatchbacks. The best part is, the new eGolf hasn’t lost any of this, with 290Nm of torque while being based on the same body style as its petrol cousin. Taking the intuitive technology, safety considerations, and attention to detail that Volkswagen is known for, this sustainable hatch continues to set the benchmark in EVs, just like its petrol counterpart.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (medium-SUV)
The Outlander PHEV is one of the only plug-in hybrids in the SUV class all-around at a reasonable price level, almost the same price as a petrol variant. This combined with its great dealer discounts, 25-minute fast charge, and perfect size has made it hugely popular in the NZ market. Furthermore, the Outlander PHEV has a 55km range from its electric motor alone and the potential for 1.9L/100km in normal driving. So if you are looking for a highly efficient, well-priced SUV with no compromise, this could be the perfect car!
BMW 330e (Sedan)
The BMW 330e is the result of adding electric power to an already exceptional platform, the 330i. The 330e is identically equipped to the 330i, but now hosts an extra 28kW and 20Nm of torque. This means the same huge luggage capacity, the same exceptional infotainment, the same luxurious ride but more power to play with. The best part, it is only a fraction more than the petrol 330i so you don’t pay a premium for no reason. Tried, tested, and simple- the 330e is the perfect hybrid sedan for a luxury buyer.
Hyundai Ioniq PHEV (hatchback)
While Hyundai offers both a fully-electric Ioniq and hybrid, the PHEV gives you the freedom of choice allowing you to flip between a fully electric mode and hybrid mode. This means you have the efficiency of the electric system for short journeys but the long-range freedom when you need it. With its compact hatchback design, it’s both practical and versatile to suit the freedom you need. So if you are looking for a reasonably priced hatchback giving you more choice in how you drive, the Ioniq PHEV is for you.
Volvo XC90 T8 (luxury-SUV)
The XC90 is the ultimate full-size luxury SUV combining the best of Volvo’s design and engineering. The top of the range T8 combines a twin-charged petrol engine driving the front wheels with an electric motor driving the rear, providing both exceptional handling, performance, and also efficiency. If petrol isn’t your thing, there is a mild-hybrid diesel engine that utilises electric power to supplement the turbocharger spin. This luxury SUV has retained the heavy family focus that made it popular in the first place but at the same time does not skimp on the interior elegance. So if you are in the market for an ultra-luxury all-rounder but want a more sustainable approach, despite being a bit pricey the XC90 T8 remains a good option.