Nearly three-quarters of New Zealanders would consider going electric with their next vehicle purchase, according to a recent Trade Me survey.
Head of Motors at Trade Me, Alan Clark, said over 1,300 New Zealanders took part in the survey, which looked at Kiwis’ perceptions of electric vehicles (EVs).
“We were keen to see how much EVs had come onto the radar of petrol-head New Zealand. We were stunned to find out that nearly three-in-four New Zealanders would consider an EV for their next vehicle.”
Mr Clark said New Zealanders had recently warmed up to EVs.
“Just last year we asked Kiwi motorists the same question and only half of respondents said they’d look at an EV for their next vehicle. That is a huge shift in mindset in just 12 months.
“With climate change top of mind for many people, a range of new models on the market, rising fuel costs and the government’s new plan to subsidise EVs, we think more Kiwis will make the switch in the near future.
“The initial outlay, however, is the biggest deterrent for New Zealanders, with 69 per cent claiming the cost of buying an EV is the number one reason why they haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon.”
Mr Clark said the average cost for an EV on Trade Me in June was approximately NZ$25,000, while the average petrol/diesel car was just NZ$16,000.
Despite the progress in EV interest, Kiwis are still more likely to buy a petrol vehicle than any other.
“While three-quarters of respondents said they would consider an EV, when the rubber hits the road they are most likely to buy a petrol vehicle next,” Mr Clark said.
“Cost is, of course, a motivating factor to New Zealand consumers. While you can pick up a used EV onsite for around NZ$13,000, they don’t fit into everyone’s budget. On the whole, EVs are slightly more expensive to purchase, so while people are considering EVs more and more some just can’t justify the spend at this stage.”
Mr Clark added that there are not a lot of EVs in New Zealand in comparison to petrol and diesel vehicles; of the 95,000 vehicles for sale on Trade Me, 1,000 are electric.
“Kiwis are also concerned about running out of charge before reaching their destination, with range concerns being the second most common reason for not purchasing an EV. As a nation we love a road trip, and stopping at regular intervals to charge doesn’t appeal to many people,” Mr Clark said.
“These factors will be overcome by time and technology advancement though, and it will be interesting to see how the Government’s proposed subsidy on electric vehicles will impact buying habits. Our survey suggests there’s certainly an appetite for EVs and we’ll probably see more of them on the road if prices dip.”
There has been a 34 per cent jump in the number of EVs being added to Kiwis’ watchlists when compared to last year. The number of EVs for sale on the Trade me website has also increased, rising 17 per cent on June last year.
Mr Clark said this had been driven by an increase in the number of Dealers importing and supporting used EVs to offer New Zealanders a wider range.
The survey showed that the longer it takes to commute, the more likely New Zealanders were to consider an EV.
“Respondents who have a total daily commute of 60 minutes or longer are more likely to think about joining the EV revolution, with 80 per cent saying they’d consider it. On the other hand, of those who have a daily commute of 20 minutes or less, 71 per cent would think about an EV for their next vehicle,” Mr Clark said.
The future of EVs
“Like with any new technology, EVs will only get better as advancements are made in their range, charging speed and abilities. You only need to look at a company like Tesla to see just how far these vehicles have come,” Mr Clark said.
“New Zealand’s charging infrastructure is relatively weak too; as more charge points pop up around the country they’ll become more of an option for Kiwi motorists.
“As electric vehicles become more common on our roads and we see a rise in the number of used models at a lower price point, we expect more Kiwis will get behind the wheel of an EV.”