With summer here, and over 20,000 more EVs on our roads since this time last year, Gen Less can help set EV drivers up for a less-stress electric roadie.

EV road trips are remarkably straightforward, according to Richard Briggs, GM Transport at EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, the agency that backs Gen Less).

There are over 700 public chargers, with one available almost every 75km up and down the State highway, and many more on the way. Drivers can hit the road with confidence, Briggs says, but it’s not all about the public network.

“My main message is always that ‘plugging in’ rather than ‘tanking up’ requires a bit of a mindset shift. Once the basics have been nailed, people can save a lot of money and effort.

“While we might be used to stopping at the petrol station, with an EV, Kiwis have far more options – and can think about charging as an opportunity that pops up, rather than a once-a-week need.

“EV drivers can charge at home overnight before they leave for just a few dollars – fully ‘fuelled up’ without setting foot on a forecourt. Once they’re on holiday, they have the choice of fast chargers, slower and cheaper chargers depending on where they’re going to be parked for a while, like many tourist spots, and charging cheaply, or for free, at their accommodation.”

EV drivers can charge at home overnight before they leave for just a few dollars – fully ‘fuelled up’ without setting foot on a forecourt.

Richard Briggs

To help those considering making the switch to an EV, or for those who are heading off on their first major road trip with their newish electric wheels, we have the latest in getting to summer destinations, relatively stress-free.

Best EVer tips

  1. 1

    Charge to full before you go

  2. 2

    Pack your portable charger

  3. 3

    Plan your journey

  4. 4

    Enjoy your pit stops

  5. 5

    Download charger provider apps before you go

  6. 6

    Choose accommodation that allows EV charging

Charge to full before you go

Start the roadie with 100% charge. The cheapest and most convenient option is to charge at home, so this will give people the best bang for their buck. It only costs about $5 to add 100km of range to their EV at home, compared to $18 to do the same with petrol.

It’s the same at the other end, too. Staying with in-laws who are nervous about you using their power? Briggs says, “Plugging in overnight is around $10, even less if your hosts have a good off-peak rate. Leave a koha and perhaps let them borrow the car so they can take a spin and save on fuel too. By next Christmas, you might be visiting EV converts.”

Plan your journey

When it comes to charging on the public network there are a couple of options – high-speed chargers along state highways and other traffic-areas, or slower chargers in places where one can park a while longer, like malls and supermarkets. Always pack the charging cable, as that will be needed to use the slower chargers.

There are a number of apps and sites that will allow EV drivers to plan charging stops along their routes, including EV Roam and Plugshare.

Speaking of apps, it’s useful if any charging apps are downloaded and accounts are set up before the need for chargers during the journey.

Choose accommodation with EV charging available

This will make a big difference to your trip. Briggs says, “more and more venues, from hotels to holiday parks, have chargers available to guests – and we applaud everyone who’s ahead of the curve here.”

Websites like Airbnb and Trivago let you filter for accommodation with EV chargers, while hotels and camp sites will list them in their features.


Renting out a bach or Airbnb?

Briggs says, “if you’re the owner renting out an Airbnb or a bach, an EV charger will make you a competitive choice for a growing number of travellers.” There’s no need to install anything high-powered, as guests will most likely want to plug in overnight for a slower charge. 

He does make a point about safety: “A ‘smart’ wallbox charger is the safest option as it will let you manage charging at off-peak times, and lets providers see how much power guests are using.”

Check out the sample EV roadies we’ve put together - Christchurch to Wanaka

  • 1

    Pack your snacks and start your playlist – you’re leaving Christchurch with a full battery.

  • 2

    Head for Geraldine, where you'll stop on Cox St for a coffee and grab 10 minutes on the charger while you wait.

  • 3

    That’ll be plenty to get to Lake Tekapo, where you can plug in at Motuariki lane and enjoy lunch and or a walk at this beautiful spot. (45 min)

  • 4

    Take a quick pit stop behind the Challenge on Sutherland Road in Omarama (6 min) before you hit Lindis Pass, then it’s straight through to Wanaka, where you can plug in at the supermarket while you get your holiday supplies, or wait till you get to your accommodation to charge there.

Auckland to Paihia

  • 1

    We're heading from Auckland to the Bay of Island - just one charging lunch break will be enough for us to take a couple of scenic detours – your battery’s already fully charged, so let’s go!

  • 2

    First stop: Park and charge at Paramount Plaza in Whangārei. 20 minutes is enough for lunch and to let you enjoy the detours. Head round the corner from the charger and visit Whangārei falls…

  • 3

    And you’ll have more than enough left to turn off at Hikurangi and enjoy a moment (or a sunset) at Sandy Bay.

  • 4

    Finally, cruise into Paihia, and bask in the sunny far north.

Richard Briggs says, “We know everyone’s looking forward to a break over summer, and seeing the country via an EV is a great way to do it.

"With a bit of planning, there’s no reason you can’t make the pitstops, take the detours, and be secure you’re going to be able to charge where and when you need. We hope everyone has a fun and safe summer enjoying our beautiful country."

Assumptions: Battery range based on a BYD Atto 3. The costs included above are based on a standard home electricity rate of 29c/kWh; ChargeNet fast charger rate of 80c/kWh; average petrol premium unleaded 95 cost at $2.63/L used at a fuel efficiency of 6.9L/100km. If you are on a variable electricity plan with cheaper off-peak rates, the cost to charge your car at home overnight can be much cheaper.

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