Battery electric vehicles

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are 'pure electrics' — they're powered only by electrical energy stored in the battery. A BEV has no exhaust pipe or exhaust pipe emissions.

BEV charging

To charge a BEV, you plug it into an external electricity source such as a regular electrical socket, a dedicated charging unit or a public charging station.

The battery recovers and stores energy generated when the car brakes, a system known as regenerative braking.

A battery EV is best if you:

  • Mostly travel within battery range
  • Can charge overnight at home or at work
  • Have off-street parking and access to a plug
  • Want an economical second car
  • Sit in traffic a lot
  • Want low running costs.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have two motors — an electric motor and battery that can be charged from an external power supply, and an internal combustion engine fuelled by petrol or diesel.

Most drive in EV-only mode until most of the power stored in the battery is used, then the petrol/diesel engine automatically takes over.

PHEV charging

Regenerative braking charges the battery in both modes. During heavy acceleration, such as driving fast up a steep hill, the two motors work together.

Some PHEVs use a small petrol engine (a range extender) to generate electricity and power the electric motor once the battery charge decreases to a certain point.

The range of a PHEV in EV-only mode varies significantly between models. Some can only do 15-20km while some newer models can do 60km or more.

A PHEV is best if you:

  • Often need to drive beyond the battery range
  • Need the car for a mix of long and short trips
  • Can charge overnight at home or at work
  • Have off-street parking and access to a plug
  • Sit in traffic a lot.

Choose the right EV for your business

Take these steps to feel more confident before you make the switch.

  • Record vehicle daily travel for a month. Knowing where they go, how far they go and how many hours they’re on the road will help you choose the right EV and decide how to charge up.
  • Bring staff on the journey. Everyone has questions about new technology, no matter how cool it is. Arrange test drives for them – or take an EV on short-term lease – to give them confidence.
  • New or used? Some Kiwi businesses have bought a fleet of cheaper second-hand imports. Others have gone for new, knowing the vehicles will supply the second-hand market.

Big moves — vans, buses and trucks

The race is on to develop low-emissions, pollution-free vehicles for business.

If you're after an electric van, check out the Nissan e-NV200 or Renault Master ZE, both with a battery range of 200km, or the Renault Kangoo (160km range).

Electric buses are already cruising the streets of Auckland and Wellington, some with the support of EECA co-funding.

Our first electric trucks have hit the road — but big trucks that need to cover long distances are a tough nut to crack. With today's technology, most would need massive batteries that take a fair while to recharge, or else special infrastructure.

As an alternative, hydrogen fuel cell EV (FCEV) systems look promising for trucks, buses, boats and trains. Manufacturers around the world are piloting vehicles while here in New Zealand, steps are underway to figure out the best way to use this low-emissions fuel.

More information