Kiwi’s seem to have got into a flustered state over the latest EV rebate announcement, worried that their precious utes won’t be the same electric or that they will stop being imported with the new fees driving up price. The reality is that drastic change is needed to reduce emissions so pushing those that don’t need to be in high emitting vehicles into alternatives is something people need to come to terms with. For those with their hearts set on a big social status ute however, here is a list of electric alternatives to swap into in the near future. And don’t worry mate, it will still handle the hills and has enough range for your runs to the back paddock, boat ramp or local bakery.
Firstly, arriving in the next couple years is the SsangYong electric ute, as well as an SUV for the Mrs. Announcements promise more than two tonnes of towing capacity, 800kg payload and dual motors. More than enough to drag your boat out to the beach house on the weekend! No further technical details have been released yet but this should be an exciting and affordable option for Kiwi’s.
The Rivian R1T is an exciting truck that we hope comes to the New Zealand market. With over 480km of range, quad motor and a massive 4900kg towing capacity, the R1T is made for adventure. The lack of engine means more room for storage with a front boot, tray, under seat storage, gear tunnel and camp kitchen. Driver+ comes as standard allowing for a complete hands free experience and increased safety. The R1T is a ute like no other and a staple for Kiwi’s that love the classic summer roady and camping.
In 2022 comes the Ford F-150 Lightning, the Ford classic that is now all electric. 480km of range, dual motor, 4x4 plus it includes all the tech you now come to expect from an EV, making it a great user experience throughout. Beyond this it offers Ford Intelligent Back Up Power which allows your vehicle to power your home in a black out for up to 3 days on a fully charged battery. Furthermore it is a tradies dream allowing you to charge/power your tools from your car with up to 240v outlets. Sadly there is yet to be any announcement of this model reaching our shores, or of an electric Ford Ranger, a model many are familiar with.
The futuristic Tesla Cybertruck continues to be talked about. Personally, I see this becoming more of the new Remuera tractor than a ute used by the agricultural and trade sectors of NZ; yet it does have the grunt for the job. Over 800km of range with the tri motor model and 6350kg towing capacity. Seating 6, there is space for the whole family, friends and camping gear in the Cybertruck. The exterior ‘exoskeleton’ is ready for an apocalypse (which is the type of movie this truck looks like it should be in) with armoured glass and Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-rolled stainless steel structural skin. After the pandemic however, the world does seem rather post-apocalyptic so perhaps this is the perfect vehicle for us in reality.
Of course we have seen from the Prime Minister's blunder that New Zealand’s leading ute dealer, Toyota, is not planning on rolling out an electric Hilux anytime soon. Likely a hybrid version will arrive first, but we aren’t holding our breath on a pure electric. Toyota has been hesitant in this area even with their Prius hybrid being one of the first emissions conscious vehicles that hit the market. Despite their years of hesitation when it comes to pure electric, Toyota recently announced their first concept the BZ4X, an electric SUV, which aims to be launched in 2022 in partnership with Subaru.
Sadly the small NZ market means that we are not as high on the priority list when it comes to manufacturers shipping to us. Hopefully with the new incentives in place for EV’s we will see an increase in options available for Kiwi’s as our EV sales increase. Naturally as the technology grows too the options will also increase as manufacturers become able to replicate certain combustion models performance as electric. We can already see from discussions post the rebate announcement that having options for everyone will be the only way we will see a full uptake of electric transport in NZ. The attachment to utes is something of a cultural aspect to our country so I don’t think they will be given up easily, if at all. Therefore, meeting this demand will be key, but with government incentives we are finally in the game when it comes to really having a crack at lowering our carbon emissions.