EV orders and interest soar in New Zealand

 18 March, 2022 - Hyundai New Zealand says petrol price turmoil has doubled the number of Kiwis buying its electric IONIQ 5, driven enquiry online and in dealerships, and quadrupled the number of New Zealanders interested in buying electric vehicles. 

Hyundai New Zealand General Manager Chris Blair says deposits on the IONIQ 5 electric vehicle, named NZ Car of the Year in 2021, doubled in the past week. Visits to the company website to review electric vehicle options have increased by four times (440.5%) compared to the same week in 2021.

“Orders and inquiries for electric vehicles are as strong as when the Government announced its clean car rebate last year.

“Anecdotal feedback from customers ordering cars and asking our dealerships about EV options is that this is a direct response to the increase in petrol prices and global supply uncertainty.

“Each day quickly fills up with bookings for test drives.” 

Blair says the number of people researching EVs ahead of orders has jumped dramatically. Last weekend Hyundai New Zealand saw an increase of twice as many visits to its EV product pages in comparison to the week prior.

Google Trends show that ten days ago there was a major spike in New Zealand searches for EVs as fuel prices continued to climb, breaking the $3/litre mark (Figure 1). The rate of new searches was maintained as observers, including Finance Minister Grant Robertson, predicted prices could continue to rise. 

Figure 1 - NZ Google searches for EVs since March 2021

 While the Government announced a three-month fuel tax decrease to temporarily alleviate the impact of fuel pump increases, this has not yet lowered orders and interest in EVs.

“Customers are telling us that they’re looking at the long-term trend – they want a vehicle which will overcome future changes to petrol price and supply.

“We know that many Kiwis have already thought about EVs as their next car purchase – so the current crisis has been a catalyst to bring forward that purchase decision or plan.”

Hyundai New Zealand has the largest range of EVs of any car brand in New Zealand. It has three 100% electric models (IONIQ 5, Kona Electric and IONIQ Series II) with 12 variant options combined.

Hyundai and the IONIQ 5 headed the top five searches in the past week of New Zealanders looking for “electric cars”.

Blair says that while the surge in demand has emptied out other suppliers of many new EV models, Hyundai has stock arriving on a monthly basis, meaning customers have good choice on which EV they take home.

“We’re fortunate in comparison to many other distributors or subsidiaries, that we have a good supply of all three of our newest EV models on the ground now. If they want to, customers can drive away in a Hyundai EV today.

“If customers are seeking a specific colour, spec level or variant our dealer network will be able to advise what we have in the country now and what we’d need to order in, which could typically take 3-6 months.”

The local distributor has more EV options arriving. The Santa Fe PHEV was recently announced as arriving in the country in the second quarter of this year, as well as the 100% electric IONIQ 6 which will arrive late 2022.

Blair says there are many good reasons to consider buying an EV. Rebates are available to anyone purchasing an EV — up to $8,625 for new vehicles. The discount applies to cars with a star safety rating of at least three, and under $80,000.

EVs emit 80% less CO2 than an equivalent petrol vehicle when being driven in New Zealand because electricity generated here is typically at least 80% renewable (mostly from hydro, geothermal and wind).

Charging at home off-peak is like buying petrol at around 40c/litre, depending on your electricity retailer. And battery EV motors have so few moving parts there is less to maintain or go wrong.