Electric Vehicles

The last few years has seen rapid acceleration of interest in EVs around New Zealand with an ever expanding range of vehicles now available (see https://www.energywise.govt.nz/on-the-road/electric-vehicles/ and http://www.electricheaven.nz/ ). 2nd hand imports are available from around $12,000 (Nissan Leaf) up to $65,000 (BMW i3). The total cost of ownership is now, in some cases less than conventional cars (see https://www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/tools/vehicle-total-cost-of-ownership-tool/ ). In New Zealand EV registrations have grown from a few hundred in 2014 to over 4000 in 2017. By international standards numbers are still small but the Government expects numbers to reach 64,000 by 2021. Professor Tony Seba of Stanford University predicts “All new mass market vehicles will be EVs by 2030”.


EV benefits:

  • ZERO carbon emissions (if pure electric). The average petrol car emits over 2 tons CO2 annually. EVs thus offer an obvious means for reducing CO2 emissions.

  • Low “fuel” costs for pure EVs – electricity is equivalent to about 30c a litre equivalent. Improved fuel efficiency (if PHEV hybrid).

  • Uses “home grown” electricity from New Zealand’s 80% renewable sources.

  • Low running costs – the all-electric car has no internal combustion engine and there’s no road tax for EVs until 2021. Around 25 moving parts compared to over 2000 in a conventional car.

  • They perform on the road - the Tesla sedan can go from 0-100kmh in 2.6 seconds, the Audi e-tron in 7.6 seconds, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV in 11 seconds, and the Nissan Leaf in 10 seconds.

  • It’s like having your own gas station. Wake up to a car fully charged every morning.


EV Challenges

Cost – new EVs currently cost more to buy than equivalent petrol/diesel cars, but they cost a lot less to run. This helps offset the higher purchase cost. If you buy a “near new” secondhand import you can benefit from the subsidies given EVs in their country of origin, and save considerably on purchase cost.

The more limited range for most EVs is often cited as a drawback. A single charge may take some EVs 100 km (e.g. older model Nissan Leaf), other makes can travel several hundred km on a single charge (e.g. Tesla Model S). Its worth noting though that the average daily distance driven by car in New Zealand is less than 29 km, and EECA report that 90% of all journeys are under 90 km. Battery and car tech is constantly improving (as is range on a single charge) and the fast charging network is rapidly expanding so range will become less of an issue. See where to charge here https://www.plugshare.com/ . Also see https://charge.net.nz/map/

Charging at home

Charging a LEAF costs about the same as a cup of coffee in terms of the electricity used and charging at home is straightforward. Overnight “trickle” charge from any 10amp socket using an 8 or 10 amp charge cable (available through “JuicePoint” for example). Fitting a 16amp caravan socket onto your garage allows a Nissan LEAF (imported from Japan) to fully charge in 6 to 7 hours using the charge cable that comes with the car. Most LEAFs in New Zealand have a 3.3kw on-board charger, though some come with a 6.6kw on-board charger which can be fully charged in 3 to 4 hours using a 30amp charge point from suppliers such as “JuicePoint” see http://www.juicepoint.co.nz/ and “YHI power” (your electrician can obtain these) see https://yhipower.co.nz/catalog/ac-e.v-charger-103410.htmx .


National Charging infrastructure

In New Zealand there are several exciting developments occurring. Electricity Networks and a private consortium (Charge.Net https://charge.net.nz/ ) are rolling out extensive DC fast charging networks for EV. By the end of 2018 these networks of over 100 fast chargers are expected to be completed. DC chargers allow much faster “topping up” of EV batteries, e.g. the LEAF will charge to 80% from empty in around 30 minutes.


Find out more..

Several T3 members now drive EVs and can offer independent advice and test drives. Also check out http://betternz.org/ . There’s a great facebook group as well, see https://www.facebook.com/groups/NZEVOwners/ .

2013 - 2016 Quarterly periods.