If you’re wondering if it’s time to trade up to an electric car you’re not alone, 45% of Kiwis say they would switch from fossil fuel and consider buying a battery powered vehicle.
There’s a dizzying choice, every car manufacturer has an electric option and when Elon Musk isn’t stargazing or digging tunnels, he’s overseeing the construction of gigafactories and production systems to drive down the price of batteries and EVs.
He’s not alone either, the global trend to decarbonise transportation is going mainstream with government policy incentivising citizens and industry to kick the petrol habit.
The average cost of a new medium sized car jumped to $25,000 during the last year of pandemic supply chain problems, large cars priced at $40,000 and a fee on petrol cars of $5,875 due in January 2022, is closing the gap between the price of a conventional car and an affordable EV.
Clean Car Programme rebates have priced some attractive new model EVs in New Zealand at $40,000 and you can lease a second hand one for as little as $133 a week.
Still need convincing?
Here’s our nine step programme to help you withdraw from fossil fuel dependence and clean up your carbon tyre print.
1 Do the math
Even the cheapest electric cars are still expensive. Second hand ones can cost $30,000 to $35,000, although there are some older models available for as little as $10,000 and a payment plan for a new one priced at around $45,000 will cost you around $240 per week (10% interest, over 5 years).
But as soon as you start driving you start saving - light electric vehicles are exempt from NZ road user charges until 2024.
You can charge your EV for about $4.00 per 100km. This is equivalent to paying about 40c per litre for petrol depending on the model.
A fast charge can cost up to $10 for 100km, and takes about 20 minutes.
Most Kiwis drive an average of 25-30km a day. For an average daily drive you won’t be using all your battery power, so it could cost $1.00 to recharge the next night. That’s $15 a fortnight – or less.
A fully electric EV has only around 20 moving parts. It doesn’t need oil or grease, and it hardly ever needs servicing. A vehicle with an equivalent combustion engine has approximately 2,000 moving parts, all of which need oil and/or regular servicing.
But all those savings are a small change if you have a company car – running an EV could save you business-types thousands per year.
These calculations are provided by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority AKA EECA.
Work out the cost of trading up to an electric car with this helpful calculator from Genless.
2 Kick some tyres
EVs range from tiny city cars to massive SUVs like the Tesla Model X.
Besides the normal stuff like size, comfort, handling and other practicalities, think about the brand you’re buying into and what they offer. Whether it’s a charging connector, special access to charging networks or other benefits.
As for range — do you drive 500 kilometers every single day? No, you do not. On average Kiwis only drive 28 kilometers a day and longer range typically costs more money, so before you spend big, it’s worth thinking about how much you really need. Remember you can always rent another car for longer journeys.
Check out the latest range of electric cars and where to buy them on DriveElectric.org.nz
3 Take it for a spin
Driving an EV takes getting used to.
The first thing you’ll notice is the silence, and how even the slowest EVs rocket away from a standstill.
Then you’ll try to stop. Pretty much all EVs are equipped with regenerative braking systems, which recharge with energy normally lost as you slow down.
When you ease off the accelerator, EVs lose speed more quickly than normal cars. You can adjust the amount of regeneration, and some let you turn it off altogether. Don’t do that though, it’s inefficient.
Talking of efficiency — pay attention to the range computer. ‘Enthusiastic’ driving, cold weather and liberal use of the air-con all restrict your range.
- 10 ways to maximise your EV’s range
- What is regenerative braking & how does it work?
- Where can I test drive an EV in NZ?
4 Plug in at home
With an EV and a wall charger there’s a service station attached to your house.
Many new EVs come with a charger package and most of the time you’ll want to plug in at night so your car recharges while you sleep.
The average distance travelled daily by most Kiwis is considerably less than a full charge. This means you’ll usually have more charge in your battery than you’re using.
This extra power allows you and your power company to do some clever things when your car is plugged into the mains.
Most power companies offer plans for cost effective vehicle charging at home. These plans are supported by lines companies who like to encourage people to use power at night to even out the amount of electricity transmitted over their networks across the entire day. These plans and benefits include:
- Rates designed specifically for electric car power consumption
- Even cheaper night power prices (from 9pm) in certain networks
- Some also offer smart meter and charger installation
5 Go on a road trip
There’s an existential crisis that’s prevented mass adoption of electric vehicles for quite a while. Until now. It’s called range anxiety and like most forms of anxiety the cure is to calm your breathing and mindfulness.
Like we said, the average daily distance driven by most Kiwis is less than 30kms. But we all want to be able to jump in our car and go on a road trip whenever we like.
What’s stopping you doing just that in your new EV?
If you want to re-create GoodBye Pork Pie and race from Cape Reinga to Bluff you’ll need to plan the occasional rest stop to recharge your car and yourself.
There are fast charging networks in most places where there are main roads. Many of them offer coffee for you along with electricity for your car.
As for the mindfulness bit, there are apps for that. They locate you and your EV, how much charge you have and guide you to the charging stations that will make your road trip even more enjoyable.
6 Don’t worry be ‘appy
An app can calm the feeling you get when your fuel gauge is in the red.
Using vehicle, road and terrain data to estimate how much power you’re using they guide you on your journey with a changing itinerary depending on the turns you choose.
You can calculate how long your trip will take, including charging time. Some can even estimate the cost. They’ll also keep checking the energy you need to get to the closet charger so you never have to hit the panic button.
Here are a few that work well in Aotearoa:
EVRoam isn’t an App as such but a database created by New Zealand Transport Agency with partners and vehicle charging infrastructure providers ChargeNet and Vector, and the NZ Automobile Association. It gives up-to-date information to plot your route.
7 Sell your old car
In case you still need convincing, the total lifetime cost of electric vehicles is less than one with an internal combustion engine. Get in quick and sell your old car while there’s still a market. You won’t need yours anymore so give it a good clean, take some pictures and post it on Trade Me.
Here’s some helpful links for selling your used car in New Zealand:
- Used car selling guide by AA.co.nz
- Handy photo tips for selling your car
- List your car for sale on Trade Me
8 Spread the word
T shirt slogans, tote bags and keep cups show your commitment to making the world a better place and maximise your greeness, but nothing says ‘I give a fuck’ like an electric car.
They’re no longer a fad or a luxury but an essential part of humanity's mission to eliminate C02e.
And, even if you can’t rev your car at the lights you’ll have enough torque to go like greased lightning — without the grease.
- NZ EV Owners Facebook Group
- Links to EV owners groups by Region or Vehicle Model
- NZ’s #1 EV Magazine
9 Buy something nice
You’ve just saved yourself a few thousand dollars and you’re driving a car that’s not pumping out greenhouse gas emissions and saving the planet.
Buy yourself something nice. You’ve earned it.
You might consider doubling down on your commitment to kick the fossil fuel habit by saving the planet with these nifty devices.
You could be the CEO of your own power company generating and selling electricity. See if having solar powered household stacks up with advice from Consumer.org.
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