An EV costs the equivalent of 40c per litre to “fill up” when charged at home, which is the easiest and most convenient way to charge.
In fact 82% of EV owners do most of their charging at home, but it’s good to know the ins and outs of public charging too, for when you need a bit of extra juice for a longer trip.
Kiwi rally champ and EV fan Hayden Paddon has the low-down on charging at home and while you're out and about - check out his videos below.
Places to charge
Charging at home off-peak is the cheapest and cleanest option. You need off-street parking and access to a 3-pin power socket — or a dedicated charging unit. You'll have to sort out who pays the bill — installing a smart charger can help divvy it up. Make sure you're comfortable with the health and safety aspect too.
At your business
Super-convenient but there's a lot to consider. If vehicles are parked up overnight, charging overnight is the cheapest and cleanest option — the charging units are much cheaper than fast chargers too. Install a smart charger or use the EV's charging controls to manage when the EV is recharged.
On the road
The public charging network is growing all the time. If chargers are near the routes you travel or your business premises you could use them as your main charging option, or mix and match with home or business charging. Record vehicle daily travel for a month and map journeys against public chargers to see how well they match.
Charging at home
The most economical way to run your EV is to charge at home off-peak. That's when the demand for electricity is at its lowest across New Zealand — so it's cheaper and highly likely to be generated by sustainable sources like hydro, geothermal and wind.
Charging at home off-peak is like buying petrol at around 40c/litre, depending on your electricity retailer. Prices vary at peak times and at public chargers when you're out and about.
Types of home chargers
Home charging requires either a wall-mounted charging unit or a portable 3-pin cable.
- Dedicated wall-mounted charging unit — makes charging your EV simple, safe and efficient. Many have 'smart' features, which give you greater control over charging, and could allow your electricity supplier to signal low cost and low demand times to charge. Hayden Paddon, New Zealand’s most successful rally driver and EV fan, has the details – check out the video.
- Portable 3-pin cable — a portable back up charger is typically supplied with your EV when you buy it. These can be used when other charging options aren't available, but are slower charging.
Charging on the road
There are public chargers at least every 75km on most of New Zealand's state highway network. The charging network is growing all the time, with a focus on covering major routes and increasing the numbers available at places like supermarkets, malls and gyms.
Check out Hayden Paddon’s video, and our advice, below.
Types of public chargers
- Fast chargers — These are the chargers along the main routes. They can add around 100km of range to the battery in 20-30 minutes. They typically cost about $12.15 per 100km. Plug-in hybrid EV can’t use them.
- Slow chargers — You'll find these at places like shops, hotels and tourist attractions. Bring your own supply lead. Top up while you do something else. Charging is usually free and can take several hours.
Tips for using a fast charger
Companies installing fast charging stations include local electricity networks, ChargeNet and Chargemaster.
- No cable required. All fast charging stations have tethered CHAdeMO and/or CCS Type 2 cables.
- Create an account online first. Once signed up, you can access the fast charging network and enjoy easy billing and payment.
- Fast charge occasionally rather than frequently. It seems to be better for your battery.
- In a hurry? Charge to 80%. The last 20% of the battery takes longer to charge, so use the option to charge only to 80%.
- Check with your manufacturer to find out what's best for your particular vehicle.
Find a public charger
Websites and apps show the locations of public chargers, whether they're fast or slow, if they're in working order and what type of connectors or sockets are provided or required.
- EVRoam(external link) — find public chargers and plan your journey by EV.
- ChargeNet(external link) — a nationwide network of fast chargers.
- AA time and distance calculator(external link) — tick 'charging stations' to add them to the time and distance map.
- Plugshare(external link) — crowd-sourced map and chargers from all networks.
Mind your EV Ps and Qs
Public chargers can be in hot demand, especially during peak travel times, like school holidays. Make it easier on yourself and your fellow EV drivers by planning your trip and charging stops, and remembering good public charging etiquette:
- There are several resources for planning an easy, stress-free trip. Check out the PlugShare app for the full list of chargers within NZ. Make sure to take note of the kW rating, so you understand how long your charge will take.
- While it may be tempting to charge your EV right to 100%, it is encouraged to take only what you need, or only to charge to 80%.
- Only use public chargers if you cannot charge at home. Keep them free for those that need them.
- Parks displaying an EV charging sign are for charging only. Do not park there if you are not charging, even if you’re in an EV.
- Only unplug another vehicle if you are certain it has finished charging, or you have been given permission, eg: on the Plugshare app.
- Make use of apps or txt alerts to monitor the state of charge. Plugshare is a safe way to communicate, but is optional.
- Stations are designed to allow you to leave your vehicle charging. But you must be back before charging stops, and before any parking time limits are up.
- Check for Parking/Charging Limits.
- Look after the stations, cables and plugs. Report any damage to the service provider, & ensure cables are safely tucked away
The Better NZ Trust, Zilch, and Drive Electric are all good sources for more information on public charging.
Leading the charge | Better NZ Trust(external link)
Car share or hire electric cars by the hour (AKL and CHCH) | Zilch(external link)
A cleaner, better transport future for New Zealand | Drive Electric(external link)
How to charge an EV
Charge an EV by just plugging it in
- Charge inside or outside. It's all good, rain or shine, so long as all equipment is designed for use in New Zealand and for the conditions in which it will be used.
- Smart home chargers make off-peak charging easy. Smart wall-mounted units can receive a signal from your electricity supplier to charge when the cost to you is lowest.
- Choose the right power company. Check off-peak times and tariffs, and if they offer special rates for EV owners.
Get more out of a single charge
- Fully charge your EV before you set off.
- Warm up the interior before you unplug the EV.
- Inflate tyres to the right pressure.
- Drive smoothly at a steady speed.
- Be aware that cold weather reduces an EV's range, particularly if heaters and demisters are used.
- Remove heavy luggage or accessories you don't need, such as roof racks.
How to charge an EV safely
It's important to use the right equipment, in the right way, to protect your wiring and keep everyone safe.
- Never use extension cables.
- Never take a cable across a footpath to charge.
- Do not use devices to connect the charging cable to the power supply (such as multi-boxes, double plugs or travel plugs).
- You can use an adaptor to connect the charging cable to the car, provided it is confirmed for use by the manufacturers of the vehicle and the cable.
- Never use modified charging equipment such as overseas equipment that has been fitted with a New Zealand plug. Never use damaged or faulty charging equipment. Have it checked by the manufacturer.
EECA commissioned Standards New Zealand to develop a free guide to buying and using an efficient, smart home charger.
Download the guide: Electric vehicle chargers for residential use(external link)
Read Worksafe's advice on safely charging your EV at home(external link)
Equipment safety checks
When buying an EV, including a used import, you should only be supplied with charging equipment (such as cables) designed for use in New Zealand.
Do not use equipment that doesn't display a voltage range that includes 230V, doesn't have a New Zealand plug, or has been modified (even to fit a New Zealand plug). It isn’t suitable for New Zealand’s electricity supply. Even if it appears to work, you can’t be sure the in-cable safety device will work when it needs to.
Some cables come with an industrial or caravan plug that allows faster charging. These require an electrician to install a special wall power point.
When buying a charging cable or wall-mounted charging unit, or purchasing an EV with a charging cable included, ask the seller for a signed copy of a Supplier Declaration of Conformity. This declaration shows the unit has been tested and meets electrical safety standards.
Wall-mounted charging units must be installed by a registered electrician who should:
- install a separate sub-circuit
- make sure the cable to the socket is capable of supplying the power that the unit can deliver. A circuit capable of supplying 32 Amps will futureproof the installation
- install a Type B RCD
- be able to confirm the charging equipment has a Supplier Declaration of Conformity to show the unit has been tested and meets electrical safety law.
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