Six reasons to go electric
Slash greenhouse gas emissionsEVs emit 80% less CO2 than an equivalent petrol vehicle when being driven in New Zealand because electricity generated here is typically at least 80% renewable (mostly from hydro, geothermal and wind).
Lower lifecycle emissionsBattery EVs emit 60% fewer climate change emissions over their full life cycle than petrol vehicles, even when you take into account raw material extraction, battery manufacture, vehicle manufacture and shipping.
No more petrol station visits
Charging at home is the most convenient way to keep your vehicle ready to go. For longer trips, there are public chargers at least every 75km on most of the state highway network. You’re almost never too far from your next charge, and the charging network is growing all the time, with a focus on covering major routes and increasing the numbers available.
Cheap to run
Charging at home off-peak is like buying petrol at around 40c/litre, depending on your electricity retailer. And battery EV motors have so few moving parts there is less to maintain or go wrong.
A zippy, quiet rideWith no gears to work through, an EV is able to apply full power as soon as you touch the accelerator – and there’s no engine noise. They’re great hill climbers and regenerative braking means they recharge going downhill.
Plug into any power pointCharge your EV inside or outside, in any weather, so long as all equipment is designed for use in New Zealand and for the conditions in which it will be used.
EVs are exempt from road user charges
Plug-in EVs are exempt from road user charges (RUC) until the end of 2021, saving their owners $600 a year on average. The incentive is part of a government programme that aims to see 64,000 EVs on New Zealand roads by the end of 2021.
New Zealand can make enough electricity to charge a national fleet of EVs
If all light vehicles in New Zealand were electric (which is a long way off), our current total electricity demand would increase by around 20%, EECA estimates. We can accommodate this within our current electricity generation output – if most of us charged off-peak. Many electricity network companies are working with councils and other third parties to build more charging infrastructure to meet the demand from EVs.
Life cycle assessment shows EVs are better for us
As well as running on low-carbon electricity, EVs stack up for the environment when you look at their full lifecycle. An assessment of the environmental impact of EVs, commissioned by EECA in 2015, confirmed EVs were better for the New Zealand environment than petrol/diesel vehicles. This was true for EVs when driven in New Zealand, and across the lifecycle of the vehicle.
No compromise on safety
EVs sold in New Zealand must meet the same minimum vehicle safety standards as petrol and diesel vehicles.
Look for the maximum 5-star ANCAP rating. An EV’s high-voltage electric system is designed to automatically deactivate in a crash. They are less likely to catch fire in a crash than petrol or diesel vehicles. Plus, the weight of the battery packs give EVs a lower centre of gravity, so they are less likely to roll.
New Zealand’s climate suits EVs
A temperate climate like ours is well suited to EVs.
Battery life can be reduced by extreme temperatures – below freezing and above 30 degrees Celsius. In these conditions, look for advice in the car manual.
Servicing an EV
The AA recommends EVs are serviced as often as petrol/diesel vehicles.
That means every 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first), or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) need the same regular servicing as a petrol/diesel car. Battery EVs don’t have a petrol/diesel engine but items such as brakes, tyres, lights and wipers still need taking care of. Ask your local authorised brand dealership to recommend a technician.
Get advice from EV owners and enthusiasts
Driving an EV takes a different mindset
Changing from a petrol/diesel to electric car means you may have to think a little differently about owning and running a car.
- Think long term. EVs can be more expensive to buy than their petrol/diesel equivalents, especially brand new. But the low running costs mean they stack up well over time.
- Plan time for charging. You can do it cheaply at home overnight, or pay more at a public charging station and do it in 20 minutes.
- Plan for long distances. You may need to stop and recharge a battery EV.
- Check before towing. Many manufacturers state their EVs should not be used for towing. Check the vehicle manual or talk to a dealer.
- Different types have different benefits. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) offer the security of a petrol/diesel engine – but they generate emissions. Maintenance costs are likely to be about the same as conventional vehicles and many can’t be fast charged.