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Electrification and the future of motoring

As the latest round of the Climate Change conference gets underway at COPS26 in Glasgow, it is a very pertinent time to be discussing the future of personal mobility. 

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The next generation in Toyota technology, the production photos of the 2022 Toyota bz4x - an all electric SUV. 

This article is as real as it gets from the perspective of a company that has been in the business of providing transportation solutions to the top of the South Island for nearly 80 years.

The simple fact of the matter is that we all need to move about from place to place, sometimes transport heavy things, or move families of either very young people, or very old people, longer distances than they can comfortably walk. The arguement with the last point can be made for a more efficient and better functioning public transport infrastructure, but the realities of our present system make this somewhat unrealistic in the top of the south. Our region is very large, and our relatively small population is spread far and wide, and spread very thinly in some areas. 

Personal mobility is at the core of this conversation. As a culture we have become very time sensitive, and most of us feel we have the need or urgency to do things immediately. Car pooling is certainly a positive step toward enabling that a single trip is as efficient as possible but getting into work or school and home again is just one of the many uses we all have for cars. Once you add in the commercial sector into the conversation it begins to get very complicated very fast. 

If we want to address the elephant in the room, that being the changing climate, maybe it is time to start looking at our own options when it comes to the choices we are making around personal mobility. This is a BIG conversation, so let's jump into it.

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The Lexus UX300e electric SUV available in early 2022 from Bowater Toyota. 

The pressure to make change.

The recent announcements by the government of the need to rapidly shift to an electrified fleet of vehicles for the whole country really just galvanised the conversation.

Incentivising the population into purchasing new electric vehicles is a fantastic thing, and enabling a rebate scheme to make this more of a financial reality for more of the population has certainly been helpful. We have seen a very large uptick in sales and enquiries of electric vehicles and hybrids as a direct result of this.

We are in a unique position within this conversation as we provide the region with the world's leading hybrid vehicles from Toyota and Lexus, as well as also providing emerging global titans in electric vehicle technology from Hyundai. Let us not forget Renault's recent step into the EV space as well with the zippy little EV Zoe, with more in the range to follow. 

The collective sales teams at Bowater Toyota, Bowater Hyundai and Bowater Renault have up to the minute training on the vehicles they sell, and are very knowledgeable about the technology, how it works, and where it is heading. 

The government has signalled that we all need to embrace the electrification of the nations fleet and as a society we have seemingly embraced this concept as well. If you are able to drive a hybrid or EV right now, you are in the righteous camp of being a part of the solution, not the problem. This however is not a reality for everyone. Farmers, tradies, forestry gangs, freight carriers and the like all still have a need for light commercial vehicles. There are no electric options for them right now. There may well be over the coming years though, with most of the major car manufacturers pouring mountains of money into developing the technology to make this happen.

Heavy vehicles such as trucks, trains and ships may convert to non fossil fuels sooner, with the rolling out of Hydrogen as an alternate fuel source in a lot of countries around the world. In New Zealand we are currently trialling hydrogen buses in Auckland, with the 2 year trial beginning in March 2021. Overseas heavy trucks are already using hydrogen fuel cell technology. 

Unfortunately part of the pressure of the change we all need to make is the reality that New Zealand is a very small market. It is not easy to gain access to large volumes of electric vehicles, especially those that meet our now established expectation of what constitutes a safe vehicle, that is, the 5 star ANCAP and Euro NCAP Safety Rating systems. The recent supply chain issues within the car manufacturing process have only exacerbated this, with production of some of these vehicles becoming considerably hindered.  


The evolution of the modern passenger car.

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Let us all take a minute to review the current position that we all collectively find ourselves in at the moment. 

Most of us use our vehicles for very small portions of the day, and usually travel less than 30kms per day. Most of us travel in our cars alone for most of the trips that we make.
In light of this most of us have a fair case for switching to a hybrid or ev to lighten the footprint of our everyday travel. 

The technology behind hybrid and electric vehicles has certainly turned a corner within the last 5 years.
They have become lighter and more efficient, with ranges in new models of electric vehicles now universally exceeding 500km on a full charge. The safety features of all cars have been transformative, with automated systems such as pre-collision braking and lane keep assist correction now quite common, along with a suite of non intrusive safety measures which keep you extremely safe like radar cruise control, and blind spot monitoring and cameras everywhere.

Check out this comprehensive video from Adam of Bowater Hyundai talking about the new hyundai IONIQ 5. 

The new Hyundai IONIQ 5. It is a totally futuristic Electric Vehicle from Hyundai and it is a total game changer. The styling is off the hook. The tech is amazing and the performance breathtaking. This is a thorough look at this new model. Strap in. Adam has a lot to say! You can see it for yourself at Bowater Hyundai right now.

Posted by Bowater Motor Group on Wednesday, 27 October 2021


If your house has a solar setup, and you have installed a smart charger, you could technically be charging your electric car for free; if you remove all of those setup costs out of the equation. If you put all of those setup costs back into the equation, and calculate out the charging cost for your vehicle as a porportion of the other solar gains of your system, you are still probably looking at a cheaper personal transportation cost per kilometre travelled for day to day commuting. 

Where the greatest gains have occurred is in the hybrid vehicle space. The 2021 Toyota Prius Prime Plug In (PHV - plug in hybrid vehicle) has the ability to drive on full EV mode for about 50kms if you are careful. With a fast charger it takes approximately 1 Hour 50 minutes (110 mins @ 230V/16A) to achieve full charge. If you need greater range and you switch to Hybrid mode you will consume just 1.5 litres of petrol per 100 kms of combined highway and urban driving. 

If you have a need for more space, want to transport 7 humans, and even the ability to tow up to 2000kg braked, you can now jump into a Toyota Highlander and achieve fuel economy of just 5.6 litres per 100 km, which is less than what a family sedan could achieve a couple of years ago. 

As we move towards an alternate fuelled fleet of vehicles, Toyota continues to provide petrol electric hybrid solutions that marry fuel efficiency with real world use. The all new 2021 Hybrid Toyota Highlander is a large 7 seater SUV that can tow the boat or caravan and still get 5.6 litres per 100km fuel efficiency! That’s a long way on a just one tank!

Posted by Bowater Motor Group on Sunday, 4 July 2021


Taking the leap into an electric future.

If you have made up your mind that you are going to make your next vehicle a hybrid or electric vehicle then you need to think about the costs. 

New onto the scene is the Lexus UX300e, a fully electric and super stylish SUV that will start at just shy of $80,000 making it eligible for the government rebate of $8625

Surprisingly some of the Toyota Hybrid models are around the same price as their traditional petrol alternatives. The 2021 Toyota Yaris Hatch Hybrid starts at $29,290 drive away for a small compact city car. The much larger Toyota RAV4 Hybrid with 1500kg braked towing starts at $44,990 drive away. 
Currently Bowater Toyota offers the following models as hybrid options:

  • Yaris
  • Corolla Hatch
  • Prius 
  • Prius Prime
  • Camry
  • Yaris Cross (compact suv)
  • C-HR (compact suv)
  • RAV4
  • Highlander

Bowater Hyundai offer the IONIQ as a full electric compact SUV (IONIQ 5) for under $80,000 making them eligible for the government rebate of $8625, as well as a small standard IONIQ as a hybrid, full electric and plug in hybrid. The Hyundai Kona also comes as a fully electric option and is eligible for the government rebate. 

Can't buy new. What are the options?

Even within the used market, purchasing a later model hybrid or ev that will give you peace of mind in regard to functional range reliability of the battery systems is now possible with used models entering the market for considerably cheaper than new prices. These do sell like hot cakes, so if you are seriously in the market, call one of the team and get onto a list!

Buying a cheaper older model EV or even hybrid can lead to disappointment and perhaps even a move back to traditional internal combustion fueled vehicles for some. Much like an old cellphone, these older lithium ion batteries do not hold the charge that they once did, and so many end up coming up short of expectations. If you do want to go there, you just need to be realistic of what the technology is capable of delivering. 


What does the future hold?

We are very obviously hurtling towards an electrified future very fast, but we must not discount alternative technology such as hydrogen. Both Toyota and Hyundai have vehicles testing in New Zealand right now that are available from stores overseas, the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai Nexo. Both of these are purely Hydrogen fuelled, get amazing range and only emit water vapour. As we move towards a hydrogen fuelled heavy vehicle freight infrastructure it will become more realistic to introduce hydrogen passenger cars. 

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The 2015 pre-production version of the hydrogen powered Toyota Mirai.   


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