One of Whanganui's leading electric vehicle (EV) advocates has just got his hands on the market's crème de la crème.

Whanganui district councillor Hadleigh Reid has purchased a 2018 Tesla Model S after more than a decade of following the progress of the premium electric car maker.

Reid has been an advocate of getting EV charging stations to Whanganui and once converted his Toyota MR2 to electric.

But Tesla is a premium EV with a range of 350-500km depending on specifications, has countless technological features and can reach 100km/h in about 4.4 seconds.

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"What I reckon is that electric cars are just superior in every way," Reid said.

"They're quiet, they're smooth, they handle better. Teslas are cool because they've got a decent range."

Reid said he could get a full charge for about $17 at a charging stations or even less at home.

"I guess the only slight limitation is finding spots to charge but it's just like having a petrol car when there weren't many petrol stations around."

Sometimes it required a bit more planning.

"It's just a different mentality. In some ways it's easier. If I drive to a hotel which has a charger it's easier than me going to a petrol station - I just plug it in and go to bed."

Teslas are still a rare sight in New Zealand and come with a hefty price tag - a similar vehicle to Reid's is priced on Trade Me at $126,000.

He bought his three weeks ago as a ex-showroom car "so a little bit cheaper".

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"I guess you look at is as if you're buying 10-20 years of fuel upfront," he said.

"They're just better cars. Everything's, nicer and cheaper, it's just that you've got an upfront capital cost in the battery that you've got to fork out for."

A Tesla S Model starts from about $120,000. Photo/ Zaryd Wilson
A Tesla S Model starts from about $120,000. Photo/ Zaryd Wilson

Reid first became interested in Tesla when it released the Roadster 2008.

"They did it well. It was a car that went fast and it looked cool and it wasn't just a crappy little golf cart."

There are much more affordable cars on the market, such as the Nissan Leaf, and while Reid said "they're quite limited" at the moment he didn't think it would be long until EVs were the norm.

Battery prices are getting cheaper with scale the price will fall.

"All that gets better," he said. "I reckon within 10 years," he said. "Although it depends on which country because in New Zealand we don't buy new cars very often."

He said there were few incentives at the movement, aside from EVs not yet attracting road user charges, but more would be required to rapidly switch New Zealand's fleet.

"There are some vehicles where you don't have a choice yet and some vehicles where it's not appropriate.

"The next few years there's a lot that are coming out and it's all going to become a lot more accessible."