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How much has the Green Car Rebate distorted EV prices?

If you believe the doomsayers the Clean Car Rebate has caused EV prices to go through the roof, thus negating the benefit of the rebate. There are no cheap Nissan Leaf available in New Zealand and the rebate has hindered used car buyers rather than helped them by pushing up prices, they claim.

But is that really what has happened? Boost Auto is here to look at some data to reveal the facts.

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Leaf - July cheapest

Firstly July new vehicle sales for NEV (New Energy Vehicles, the catch all for Battery Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles) jumped dramatically. Most brands who offered new NEVS, saw their sales rate increase by a factor of at least three (the exceptions generally being brands whose models were above the $80K cap). Tesla's

BEV sales jumped from 0.8% of all passenger car and light commercial sales in July 2020 to 5.2% of sales in July 2021. For PHEV the jump was less dramatic, yet still significant, from 0.6% to 3.0%. YTD the sales share was 2.5% (up from 1.1%) for BEV and 1.1% from 0.7% for PHEV. Therefore it is clear that new vehicle sales demand has strengthened.

Also our share of EV volume versus Australia gives an interesting insight. New Zealand is around 15% of Australia's new car volume, yet it is 89% of its new EV volume YTD. We can expect New Zealand's new EV volume to exceed Australia's very soon, possibly as early as next month. The result will depend upon supply, as most brands are holding large EV sold order banks.

In used vehicle sales, quality data is a little tougher to get. However the benchmark car is undoubtedly the Nissan Leaf. Used vehicle dealers historically sold 208 Nissan Leaf per month last year, and even this year that number has been very similar (202 per month for the first five months of the year). Bear in mind that for new and used, the mid-month policy announcement truncated June registrations; any car sold but not registered got pushed into July. In July there were 488 Nissan Leaf registrations.

The challenge in data is because used vehicle sales aren't classified by fuel type whereas the MIA (the Motor Industry Association ) data is.

Boost Auto took screen shots of the cheapest available Nissan Leaf on the day of the Clean Car Programme. Here is what we found.

And here is what is available today. Cheap Leaf are still easy to find. A closer look however indicates that most are all registered, which in turn means that they are not eligible for the Rebate. But the one loser here is possibly the used car importer who is unable to source cheaper Leaf at the moment, the competition and therefore demand having driven up used auction prices in Japan.

Cheapy Leafy - August

For consumers, cheap Leaf's are still available - but they wont be fresh imports. For new vehicles there is no evidence that any manufacturer has increased MRRPs since the announcement, and one, Tesla, reduced their entry level Model 3, Standard Range Plus, by $3000. It was already under the $80,000 price ceiling, and is now $66,900 plus ORC before rebate.

As if to illustrate how important the rebate has been to stimulate sales, a Tesla rep reported to me that they have orders for 1000 Model 3 since the Clean Car Rebate was announced, and an MG dealer commented that over 600 MG ZS EVs have been ordered. How accurate this data is, will be borne out by registration data over the coming months. Right now consumers are the winner.

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