Probably don’t buy a car right now. There are so many incredible vehicles just around the corner that you wouldn’t want to miss out. Plus, no one has any stock.
Here’s my pick of the electric vehicles coming out before the end of the year.
The new players
BYD Atto 3
Fiat importer Ateco has done the deal to bring in massive Chinese manufacturer BYD. Its first model will be the mid-sized crossover SUV the Atto 3. It will come in two variants, with a range of 320 kilometres or 420km, priced at $52,990 or $57,990 before the $8625 clean car rebate. Pre-orders are now open at bydauto.co.nz. The cars have a six-year/150,000km warranty, including roadside assistance. The battery is covered for eight years or 160,000km.
Warren Buffet-backed BYD plans to have five models on sale in the next couple of years in New Zealand.
BYD is about to start supplying its batteries to Tesla and expects to sell 1.5m vehicles this year – supplying one-third of China’s electric vehicles. Key to its growth is its innovative blade electric battery, which is denser and safer than competitors’ batteries. BYD is now the third-largest car maker by value in the world, according to Bloomberg.
Ora Good Cat
GWM already has its Haval and GWM ute on sale here, but will now launch Ora with its little electric car, the Good Cat, which is slightly smaller than a Toyota Corolla.
The Good Cat is a quirky, retro-looking hatchback that I expect to be the cheapest EV on the market when it launches – undercutting the MG ZS EV’s $49,990 driveaway price.
Converting the Chinese entry-level price to NZ dollars, the vehicle could potentially cost as little as $28,000, including GST, or $20k after rebate.
MG ZS EV
The next generation of the now Chinese brand MG lands in August and will be a solid improvement on the one I tested last year. It's priced at $49,990 for the entry model, which will have a 320km range, improved battery management and nicer styling. For only an extra $3k you get a safety upgrade to include blindspot monitoring, panoramic sunroof and electric seats. Not only do you get the $8625 clean car rebate on the ZS EV, but MG will throw in $500 to subsidise a charging unit for your home for the first 500 sales before the end of this month (so, hurry). For an EV, this remains a fantastic bargain.
The big German brand is launching a range of electric vehicles in NZ. The Mokka-e, Corsa-e and Grandland PHEV will all be here later this year. An Astra PHEV will be early next year. All of Opel’s vehicles qualify for a rebate and they’re looking to have their cars at just below competitor pricing. They’re also offering no-deposit, low-interest financing through a programme called iOWN. They’ll also sell a range of electric vans.
The performance cars
It is fair to say that Polestar’s launch into the NZ market has been nothing short of spectacular. The wait time for even a test drive is over a month for its current model, the Polestar 2, which I rate really highly.
Orders open in October for the SUV Polestar 3 which, like the far more expensive Lotus Eletre below, will feature advanced Lidar tech.
Polestar 3 has a dual-motor drivetrain and a range of more than 600km. Other details, such as NZ price, are still scarce.
Polestar uses blockchain tech to trace the precious metals needed to make its batteries.
Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron
There’s a pre-production model currently sitting at Westfield Newmarket for Audi’s latest electric car. The e-tron series has set the standard for EVs from the German carmakers up until now, so the Q4 e-tron should be right up there with the best.
It will launch in NZ within the next six months with three variants, offering a range of up to 520km and 220kW of power, giving a 0-100km/h of 6.2 seconds. The entry model has a smallish 54kWh battery (349km range) but the two other models sport 77kWh batteries. (500km-plus range).
Both cars have a carbon-neutral footprint, Audi says.
The dream cars
Mercedes-AMG EQS 53
I’m flying to Sydney later this week to drive this car and it looks amazing. Mercedes performance arm AMG promises irrepressible driving force from this $310,900.20 beauty. From what I have seen, the whole dashboard is a screen. It has two motors delivering up to 560kW and a mind-boggling 1020Nm of torque – that’s nearly 200Nm more than the Audi e-tron GT. It will do zero to 100 in 3.4 seconds.
A 107.8kWh battery gives it a range of up to 580km and it can charge to do another 300km in about 19 minutes.
Coming next from AMG is a GT 63 hybrid that’ll do the speed limit in 2.9 seconds thanks to 1400Nm of torque. That’s the most powerful production car they’ve ever made.
A rear-engine hybrid supercar from the British car firm with NZ heritage. It weighs under 1500kg when fully fuelled thanks to McLaren’s new carbon fibre architecture. McLaren chairman Paul Walsh calls the car the “distillations of everything we’ve ever learned”.
The petrol engine is a twin-turbo three-litre V6 capable of 0-100km/h in 3.0 seconds. It has a combined fuel efficiency of 4.6 litres per 100km. Priced at $418,000 "fully loaded", the first cars hit NZ this month and McLaren has promised me a test drive. Yippee.
The Eletra is a unique-looking squashed flat SUV and is the first four-door vehicle in Lotus’s history. Lotus claims it will do 0-100km/h in under three seconds, and its abundance of scoops and air intakes make it look like nothing else on the road. If anything, it resembles sculpture.
The range is above 600km and the battery is “more than” 100kWh. Lotus says it has power “from 600hp”. The Eletra is the first car to employ a Lidar system as part of its intelligent driving system.
The Eletra is built in Wuhan, China, as the marque is now part of the all-powerful Volvo and Polestar owning Geely.
Worth a mention
Toyota’s battery electric bZ4X is apparently delayed in NZ until next year as other markets bought them all. It should sneak under the $80k rebate cap. A laggard in the world of battery electric vehicles, the Hilux ute maker is planning seven new vehicles in the next four years.
There will be single and double-motor versions, with the latter able to do 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds. The range is 450km and a 150Kw charger can top it up to 80% in half an hour.
Kia EV6 GT
I loved the Kia EV6, but I tested only the GT Line version. The actual GT looks like a beast. It packs 340kW of power and will do 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds. Kia is debuting it at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, which is a gutsy move from the Korean manufacturer. There is also an EV9 SUV on the way at some stage, but no date yet.
Tesla Model Y
On sale, well, now, so not a future car, but will still be a big seller. It has a range of up to 514km and features all of the flash and bling you’d expect of Tesla. Priced from $76,000, the Model Y is a crossover SUV that should be among the best available.
I was talking to someone the other day who told me about a family that uses their Tesla Model 3 as a second lounge. If the kids want to watch a movie or have a dance party, they do it out in the garage in the car. Tesla did that.
Maserati GranTurismo Folgore. Just wow.
Range Rover Sport Electric