Long thought of as the weird and slightly kooky younger sibling of the auto industry, electric vehicles are starting to gain traction – and that means they are right in the cross-hairs when it comes to focusing on ideal vehicles for importing to New Zealand.
Cars2NZ has seen considerable growth in the number of EVs brought into the country over the past twelve months, with a real boost in numbers since the start of 2016.
General Manager Joe Steele says that as well as the commercial vehicles – such as Nissan’s e-nv200 – and the popular domestic vehicles – such as the Nissan Leaf – that the company brings in from Japan or the UK, there has also been a boost in the number of Teslas imported from across the Tasman.
“We started importing electric vehicles early last year – but it has really come on in the past six months to a point where we’re bringing them in every week,” Joe said.
“And they really cover the whole range of types of vehicle, from those for people who don’t travel much and are in the city all the time to those Teslas we bring in from Australia which are the other end of the scale.
“Ever since Tesla’s announcement that they were producing electric vehicles, they’ve really taken off.”
Although many buyers of electric vehicles at the moment are early adopters who enjoy the idea that they are making a statement about using renewable energy and low-emission vehicles, the future of motoring in New Zealand has EVs very much in the centre of the picture.
Because we already boast around 80% renewable energy sources for our national electricity generation, the idea that we could run cars as well as public and commercial transport via electricity would see huge cuts in the amount of fossil fuels used to keep the country moving.
Add into the picture the predicted rise in domestic solar energy generation and the advent of affordable battery home storage technology and we’re not far off the scenario where your transport is fully integrated with your home energy use – with minimal effect on the environment.
Tesla is at the forefront of this type of innovative thinking with their focus on developing both battery storage technology and vehicles.
And, according to this NZ Herald review of their 2014 Model S P85+, it’s easy to see why people are buying in to the hype around their EVs. Tesla’s EVs aren’t little urban run-arounds, they are great performers offering 0-100kmh in less than five seconds, 310kW/416hp engines and 600nm of torque. And, for all those drivers who fear the sit-up-and-beg look of tiny, city street cars, the Tesla reviewed by the Herald carried seven people, was “fun to drive” and had the added cache of having “people stop whatever they’re doing and ask what kind it is.”
The practicalities of driving one of Tesla’s Model S EVs (the company’s Model Xs and Model 3s are due next year and are causing a considerable stir in the media already) usually centre around the distance the vehicle can travel between charges – after all, it’s fine having a good road car for long distances, but if you can’t get from Auckland to Hamilton without finding yourself stuck on the side of the road miles from a suitable plug-in point then it's less than ideal.
Thankfully, there’s already a growing network of charging sites throughout New Zealand thanks to the team at charge.net.nz (see their charging map here) and plenty more planned to open throughout 2016 and the coming years. And, according to Tesla’s range-per-charge calculators, the range tends to fluctuate around 400km depending on model, speed, outside temperature and whether you’ve got the heater running. 400km should be enough for most Kiwi drivers.
Joe said the attraction of lower fuel costs, good environmental sustainability and Tesla’s design and innovation smarts were certainly making the option of importing EVs from Australia attractive.
“Teslas are priced at more than $100,000 so they’re obviously not for everyone and we’re not seeing an enquiry, say, every single day,” he said. “But because they are coming out of Sydney or Melbourne they are near to us now and people are finding out more and more about them. We are currently importing a handful every month and we expect that number to increase significantly over the next year or so.”
For more information on how Cars2NZ can help you import a Tesla electric car into New Zealand from Australia – including all the required paperwork, customs and MAFF clearances – call us on +64 9 303 0075, get a quote, contact us via the website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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