We are grateful to The Power Trip app for allowing us to reprint the following information.
Introduction and Contents
This guide is intended as a starting point to help you answer questions you might have about electric vehicles in New Zealand.
We have collected, categorised and summarised the information shown in this guide from a variety of sources and received feedback from experts in the EV industry.
We have used many different sources of information to make this guide, We can't be responsible for inaccuracies that may result from using this information. If you find any inaccuracies or inconsistencies, please let us know via the feedback option in the Power Trip app, or through our website :
- The Power Trip App
- Introduction to Electric Vehicles (EVs)
2.1 Acronyms, definitions and gobbledigook
- Reasons for Choosing an EV
- Buying an EV
- EV Test Drive and Rental Options
- Comparing Electric Vehicles
- Ownership Costs
- EV Batteries
- EV Safety and Upgrades
- How Far Can You Drive
- Electricity Plans
- Policies and Support
- EVs, The Environment & Climate Change
- News, Media & Social Media
- Useful Links
- Dedicated EV-only Dealers
1. Power Trip
What Power Trip does
The Power Trip app helps you plan your EV road trips.
The map shows you where the nearest charging stations are, and the routing feature will tell you which stations to visit in order to get to where you need to go.
When planning a trip, Power Trip looks at the:
- Type of EV you are driving
- Intersections and
- Speed limits of the roads between charging stations.
Power Trip then tries to find the fastest way for you to get to your destination, including driving time and charging time.
Because Power Trip tries to find the fastest way, it will tell you the minimum amount of charge you need at each charging station in order to arrive at the next destination (e.g. 42% instead of the maximum of 95% or 100%).
Power Trip is a mathematical model of the real-world terrain, it is not perfect so always use precaution and good sense when charging up for the next leg of your trip.
Things like headwinds, gravel roads, low tyre pressure, your own driving style, detours and power outages can all impact on your EV journey as well.
The driver profile is where you tell Power Trip about your car, and how you like to drive. The only settings you need to worry about are the "Basic Options" settings. Everything else is set automatically.
Basic Options are where you tell us what kind of car you have and how fast you like to drive it.
You can also choose which charging stations appear on the map and switch the Range Bubble on or off.
The Range Bubble is a very basic estimate of your driving range in a circle from your current location. It will give you a rough idea of how far you can drive, in a straight line, from your current location.
Advanced Options are where you can tell us a little bit more about your situation, like how much capacity you have left in your battery, how much you like to charge up to at each charging stop and how much luggage you are carrying.
Technical Options are settings for engineers, with these settings you can adjust different aspects of the car (drag, road resistance, engine efficiency etc.) to get different results from the app route planner.
I don’t own an EV.
If you are looking at buying an EV, you can use Power Trip to plan a trip, and then see how you could complete that trip with different types of EVs.
After planning a trip, tap "More Options" then "Recalculate" to select a different EV and re-plan the route and show you any charging stops you might need to make on your journey.
The ideal EV will complete your daily needs with over 20% energy to spare. Play with the app settings to find the EVs that fit your driving habits and needs before visiting your local EV dealer to work out the rest!
2. Introduction to Electric Vehicles (EVs)
What is an electric vehicle?
Electric vehicles are cars that move by using electricity to power an electric motor.
The three key benefits driving EV provides are :
- Cheaper running costs.
- Independence from fuel companies and petrol prices.
- A lower environmental impact.
In New Zealand, an EV is defined as
A vehicle that must plug-in to an external source of electricity.
This is explained in further detail by the NZTA and EECA in the point below.
https://www.nzta.govt.nz/planning-and-investment/planning/transport-planning/planning-for-electric-vehicles ECCA’s definition: "PEVs are vehicles that use an on-board battery to store energy supplied from an external source”
Technically, this means that an EV can also sometimes use petrol.
Depending on how politically correct or EV-enthusiastic the person you are talking to is, "Electric Vehicle" can mean either a car that uses only electricity, or a car that uses both electricity and petrol, but must be able to plug-in.
When we talk about EVs in this guide, we exclusively mean 100% electric cars, no petrol or diesel. Unless stated otherwise.
2.1 Acronyms, definitions and gobbledigook
AC vs DC
AC is short for Alternating Current, this is the type of electricity you get in your home. DC is short for direct current, this is used by batteries and high-power devices.
Most electric vehicles accept both DC and AC.
In general, a DC Fast charger will charge your battery at a greater speed than an AC charging station.
AER (All Electric Range)
The all electric range is the distance an EV is able to travel using only electricity, from 100% to 0% without recharging.
Ah (Amp hour)
This is another way of measuring battery size, in a similar way to the kilowatt hour (kWh), but it is more useful to people with technical backgrounds.
BMS (Battery Management System)
Software that manages the flow of electricity into / out of the battery, protecting it, controlling it, monitoring it and ensuring it operates within safe parameters.
CHAdeMO, CCS-2, Type 1, Type 2, Blue Commando
These are all different types of charging plugs and sockets that your car may be compatible with.
You can set your Driver Profile in Power Trip to show only the charging stations that your EV is able to connect to.
Dollars or cents per kWh
Similar to how petrol is $ per litre, The cost of electricity is measured in $ per kWh.
Your power bill will tell you what you currently pay for electricity at home, in cents per kWh.
EV, BEV, PEV, HEV, PHEV, ICE
EV = Electric Vehicle, which includes any of the below
BEV = (Battery EV) All battery, no petrol, just a plug that can be connected to an external source.
PEV = (Plug-in EV) Any vehicle with a plug that uses a battery to store energy supplied from an external source
PHEV = (Plug-in Hybrid EV) A vehicle with a plug that uses a battery to store energy from an external source, but is also supported by a petrol engine.
HEV = (Hybrid EV) A petrol car supported by a small battery that can’t be plugged in to an external source. Also sometimes refers to Heavy Electric Vehicle
ICE = (Internal Combustion Engine) A petrol, diesel or other fossil fuel powered vehicle with no battery or electric motor.
EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (or EVSE) is a catch-all term used to describe the charging station, cables and associated equipment.
Most commonly the term is used for specialised AC power supply cables, or dedicated AC home wall charging units.
Flip the Fleet are a NZ based organization who collect data from EV owners and use it to study EV adoption, use and lifecycle.
Their website provides research and a unique knowledge base for understanding EVs:
FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle)
An EV that uses a hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity and power its electric motor. The fuel cell combines hydrogen with oxygen to create electricity.
The dashboard of an EV tries to estimate how much range you have left before you run out of energy in your battery. This reading is called often referred to as the Guess-O-Meter.
The GoM usually tells you "At your current pace, you will have this many kilometres left".
It uses the driving you have just done to predict the driving that you will soon do. This is why it will decrease quickly when you start driving quickly, or start climbing up a large hill, or if you turn the heater or air conditioning on.
Don’t be alarmed by a rapidly changing GoM, you can use Power Trip to figure out how much energy you need to get from where you are to where you’re going, and find the charging stops along the way.
ICE (Internal Combustion Engine)
A car which uses an internal combustion engine to convert fossil fuel (usually petrol or diesel) energy into momentum.
Being "ICEd" is when the carpark at a charging station is occupied by a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE).
Leaving a polite note on their windscreen is generally the best response.
A type of motor used in many electric vehicles. An induction motor uses wound up copper coils that create motion when electricity runs through them.
This measures Power. Think of it like a measure of how fast you can fill up your battery. 1 kW adds 1kWh in 1 hour.
In a perfect world, a 50 kW charging station will fill up a 50 kWh battery in 1 hour and a 25 kW charging station will fill up a 50kWh battery in 2 hours.
In reality, technology is not perfect and charging times will be slower than this.
When we are discussing charger speed we use kW as the unit of measurement.
kWh (Kilowatt hour)
This is the amount of energy a battery can hold. It is basically the EV equivalent of a litre of petrol.
When we are discussing battery size we use kWh as the unit of measurement.
Leafspy is a popular app that can access information about the battery for the Nissan Leaf and e-NV200 vehicles.
It does this by connecting to a compatible OBD device
Not all OBD devices are compatible with EVs, OBD devices marked as v2.1 will not work with Leafspy. Devices marked as v1.5 should be compatible, but some v1.5 devices sold overseas have been mislabelled. Ask a NZ based EV dealer, or NZ based OBD specialist which devices are compatible with your EV.
Level 1, 2, and 3
Levels describe the rate of power that you can charge your car with. Often AC charging stations are mislabelled as chargers, but in fact the charger for all AC charging is inside your car. DC charging bypasses the car's charger and charges the battery directly. For more information, see the section on Charging.
Level 1 - level 1 charging is when you use a 120V wall socket. This very slow level of charging is not available in NZ.
Level 2 – slow charging using specialised EVSE to charge on an ordinary 10A or 15A, 230V wall socket, or fast charging on anything up to 40A with an AC wall/post charger using 230V single or triple phase.
Level 3 - fast or rapid charging using an external DC charger. These are public stations with a high voltage, typically delivering 25 – 150 kW.
Mode 1, 2, 3 and 4
These are the different types of equipment you can use to charge your EV.
Mode 1 - Slow charging with an ordinary unprotected (live) cable into a standard wall socket
Mode 2 - Slow charging from a regular 10 or 15 amp electrical socket with a specialised EVSE/protected cable
Mode 3 - Slow or fast AC charging using a specific EV charging station or wall box
Mode 4 - Fast or Rapid DC charging using an external charger.
See this guide’s section on charging for more information about each one.
For more information see The Driven - EV charging speeds explained
OBD (On-board Diagnostics)
There is a computer in your car, and it can be accessed via the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) port (kind of like a USB).
OBD ports allow modern vehicles to report information via a compatible device.
Regen (Regenerative Braking)
A method of breaking used by vehicles with on-board batteries, where energy from the braking of the vehicle is recovered and used to recharge the battery.
PMSM (Permanent magnet synchronous electric motors)
A type of electric motor used in some EVs (like the Tesla Model 3, long-range). These motors contain a strong magnet instead of wound-up copper coils.
REX or EREV
REX = Range Extended and EREV = Extended Range EV.
These are vehicles that have a small petrol or diesel engine or generator that can recharge the main vehicle battery while still driving in fully electric mode. As such they are not zero emission.
RCD (Residual Current Device)
Also known as a Charge Circuit Interrupting Device (CCID) or circuit breaker.
A safety precaution installed in EV charging equipment that prevents electric shocks by interrupting the charging process.
Smart Charging Station (or ‘Smart Charger’)
A smart charging station will communicate with your car to deliver the correct amount of power at the right time. It also detects problems like faults, short circuits and fire and can stop charging if needed.
SoC (State of Charge)
This is the usual 0% to 100% measure of how full your battery is. Instead of saying "my battery is at 50%" you could say "my state of charge is 50%".
SoH (State of Health)
This is the remaining capacity on an older battery.
See the diagram below for a comparison between State of Health vs State of Charge
V2G (Vehicle to Grid)
A charging station setup that allows Electric Vehicles to send energy into the power grid as well as recharge their battery from it. The V2G system communicates with the power grid to manage the flow of electricity in either direction.
There are 1000 Watts in 1 kilo Watt (kW). They are used to talk about smaller batteries and energy needs, kind of like how cake recipes use cups of milk instead of litres or buckets!
A comparison between traditional gasoline-powered vehicles and EVs that looks only at the effects of producing the vehicle and of producing the fuel for the vehicle, including extracting materials, processing and transporting them and storing them.
The Better NZ Trust has published a well-to-wheels comparison of energy losses between electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles.
3. Reasons for choosing an EV
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s figures on the average savings can be found at:
Everyone has their favourite YouTube video for explaining EVs.
This one provides a good, balanced point of view :
EVs are cheap to run*
The fuel costs of an EV are far cheaper than petrol and maintenance costs are also lower.
Carboncounter.com provides an interactive chart that shows the average running costs of different types of vehicles against their lifetime greenhouse gas emissions. EVs are consistently among the cheapest vehicles to run.
EVs are environmentally friendly
Over 30% of our national greenhouse gas emissions come from the ‘light passenger and commercial vehicle fleet’ - i.e. cars.
EVs don’t need petrol. Any CO2 they emit while being driven comes from generating the electricity to power them.
In New Zealand, our electricity is usually around 80% renewable (hydro, geothermal, solar and wind), this means driving an EV emits 85% less greenhouse gas than an equivalent petrol vehicle.
Transport currently accounts for almost 39% of NZ’s carbon emissions.
Of this amount, 89% is from road transport, with the majority (81%) from the light passenger and commercial vehicle fleet.
For more information on emissions in NZ, try the NZ statistics website:
Over their whole life, EVs emit 60% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than petrol vehicles, even when you take into account mining, manufacturing and shipping.
For more information on why EVs are good for New Zealand, have a look at the Ministry of Transport fact sheet :
Carboncounter.com was developed by MIT.
It provides an interactive chart showing the lifetime cost of running different vehicles against their carbon emissions and the world’s 2030 emission targets.
EVs are the lowest-emitting vehicles on the chart, well within the 2030 average emissions target.
They have decent range
While early EVs had a range of between 80 and 130km, Most EVs now have a range of between 150 and 250km. The next generation of EVs will have even more.
95% of most daily travel demand in New Zealand is for distances less than 120km and the average driver only travels about 28 km/day (different sources may also say the average is between 32 and 45km on weekdays), which is within range of even the least expensive EV.
No more petrol stations
Every house with an electrical outlet socket is a potential EV charging station.
You can charge your vehicle overnight using the same 230v electrical socket that your phone’s charger plugs in to.
You can wake to a ‘full tank’ every morning, saving you money and time.
If you have high travel demands or an EV with a big battery, you can also install a faster charging station in your garage.
EVs can accelerate quickly and smoothly from a standing start.
They have no gears to shift through and can apply full power as soon as you touch the accelerator.
EV’s climb hills more easily, smoothly and quietly than a combustion engine.
Regenerative braking also means they can regain energy while reducing wear and tear on the braking system while slowing or travelling downhill.
They can tow
Not many EVs come with a tow hitch, but most can be fitted with one.
The Tesla Model X, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Kia e-Niro can come with Tow hitches fitted.
Electric vehicles are well suited to towing due to their stability with most of their weight low to the ground and instant torque.
The Nissan Leaf can be fitted with an aftermarket towbar. For other vehicles, ask any towbar specialist if your EV can be fitted with a tow bar.
They handle well
The weight of the battery pack gives EVs a lower centre of gravity.
A lower centre of gravity, instant torque and modern car systems means EVs generally provide superior handling and are less likely to roll.
They are safer in accidents
EVs and hybrids generally have higher safety ratings than other vehicles, and you can check the specific, european NCAP ratings of each vehicle in the website below:
Per km driven, EVs are less likely to catch fire in a crash than petrol or diesel vehicles.
Reduced Offshore Energy Dependence
EVs fuel up using renewable energy that is generated locally in New Zealand, instead of fossil fuels, that are imported from overseas.
Currently New Zealand spends $9 billion annually on imported oil. By driving EVs we can use that money to pay for power infrastructure and projects that create new jobs and strengthening our economy.
Better Air Quality
Particulate emissions from the exhaust of petrol and diesel cars are harmful to human health and degrade air quality.
Air pollution from roads causes at least €70bn ($122bn NZD) in health damage every year in the European Union.
The New Zealand 2012 Health and Air Pollution report found that harmful emissions from vehicles cost New Zealanders $496 million annually in health impacts and contribute to the premature death of 256 people each year. EVs don’t use petrol or diesel.
Total Cost of Vehicle Ownership tool – EECA
Comparing the purchase cost, fossil fuel savings, reduced maintenance costs, future resale value and the cost of charging can be difficult.
EECA has published a tool to help owners estimate the cost of owning an electric vehicle over time and compare that to cost of owning other vehicles.
The tool lets you compare the overall cost of owning different vehicles over different time periods.
NZ Electric Vehicle Guide - (Sigurd’s Guide)
Wellington EV Champion, Sigurd, has published the most complete EV ownership guide to-date. He updates the guide regularly and you can download the latest 12-page version at:
Insights from Flip the Fleet
Citizen scientists from Flip the Fleet have been collecting data from New Zealands’ first EV owners. They have created a great repository of knowledge on their website:
4. Buying an EV
Guides on Buying an EV
EECA provide a general guide to buying electric vehicles, you can find it on their website:
Green electricity retailer, Ecotricity, has also published a helpful summary of each EV on the market, you can find them on the Ecotricity website:
There is also a list of EV dealers selling new and used vehicles at EV Talk.
If you are specifically considering buying a Nissan Leaf, there is an extensive NZ based guide for 2011 to 2016 models at :
Questions to ask your dealer
If you are trying to find an EV with the best driving range at the best price, the most important information you need to share with your dealer is what kind of driving you typically do.
An expensive 500km range EV might be cool, but you could save a lot of money by going for a cheaper, lower range EV if you only do 40 to 100km of driving each day.
A few things you could do to help inform yourself of your options are:
- Try making a list of the common trips you do and ask your dealer about EVs that would comfortably achieve those trips with about 20% to spare.
- Track or calculate your petrol expenditure per week. This will help you to estimate your driving needs and it will help you compare your potential weekly fuel savings to repayments on any finance that you are offered.
- Try planning one of your common trips using Power Trip, then tap "More Options" and "Recalculate" to select a new EV and re-do the trip using the new settings. This will let you virtually test different EVs and find public charging options nearby.
If you are concerned about battery degradation, a battery capacity estimate can be done on some vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, Nissan e-NV200 and Mitsubishi Outlander, using apps like Leafspy or EVBATMON.
While this information is not perfect, you could ask your dealer if this information is available.
Talk to your dealer about your home, public and at-work charging arrangements. If you can’t charge up at home, what other options do you have and which car would be best suited to those options?
For more information, you could read EECA’s EV buyers guide :
Ecotricity also provides a simple tool that could help you find the right type of EV for you :
If you want to explore more technical information, you can try using the EECA Business cost of ownership tool.
This tool will let you compare estimates of the total lifetime costs of owning different cars.
Buying New EVs
There are a range of retailers in NZ selling new electric and hybrid vehicles. These sellers include (but are not limited to!) Tesla, BMW, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, VW, Nissan, Renault
Buying a brand new, made for New Zealand, EV usually means that you also get manufacturer support, a warranty for the vehicle and possibly a warranty for the battery.
All charging cables or charging stations sold or provided must be ‘NZ Compliant’. Compliance is declared by the supplier through the SDoC form.
EVs are new technology an emerging market and not all dealership staff may be aware of all of the essential EV information yet.
If you don’t have much experience with EVs, or are looking to buy your first EV, try discussing your needs with several experienced EV dealers to ensure you are buying the right car for you.
For more information, you could read EECA’s EV buyers guide :
If you want to explore more technical information, you can try using the EECA Business cost of ownership tool.
This tool will let you compare estimates of the total lifetime costs of owning different cars.
Imported Vehicles from a registered dealership or importer
Sometimes called ‘grey-imports’, these are often cheaper to buy than brand new EVs.
Most EVs on New Zealand’s roads are second-hand vehicles, these are mainly imported from Japan, and occasionally the UK, by registered importers.
Some EVs are not yet available as new cars in New Zealand. So buying a second hand import will give you more EV options to choose from.
Manufacturers are not obliged to offer support or services for vehicles imported second-hand from their overseas branches/franchises.
There is a rapidly growing community of EV specialists in New Zealand that can offer support for EVs, and many dedicated EV dealers will offer after-sale support for their customers.
If you don’t have much experience with EVs, or are looking to buy your first EV, talking to several experienced EV dealers is a good place to start.
You can also find EVs for sale on trademe.co.nz and on websites like evsales.nz
All imported EVs should come with a NZ compliant charging cable, vehicle history, battery information and after sales support.
Imported vehicles usually have no warranty or battery warranty from the manufacturer but sellers are still bound by the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act.
Consumer Protection has some great resources on this topic :
EECA has published a guide for helping dealers find the right car for their customers, if you have concerns about what you have been told, this might be a good resource to check.
As with any car, you can also buy directly from a private seller.
Private sales are usually made on an "as is, where is" basis. Which means the buyer takes all responsibility for any problems after purchase.
Buying privately may result in cheaper prices, but the seller is under no obligation to offer after-sales support and you will have little legal protection after the sale.
In some cases, after-sales support and advice for using, maintaining and operating an EV can make a lot of difference for inexperienced EV owners.
Consumer Protection provides resources on this topic:
Battery size is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The more kWh a battery is rated for, the more energy it can store and the further the EV can drive on a single charge.
At the moment, the battery is the most expensive part of making an EV, which means EVs with larger batteries tend to be more expensive.
Lower priced electric cars tend to utilise smaller batteries (around 24 to 30 kWh for example) while higher-end cars have larger batteries (64 to 100 kWh for example).
When buying an electric vehicle, you could also take note of any degradation or loss of battery capacity, as this will reduce the amount of energy the battery can hold and the range it can drive on one charge.
n Nissan Leafs this is referred to as the State of Health (SoH), in other cars it may be referred to as ‘Actual Capacity’ or ‘Available Capacity’.
The "right-size" battery for you
Finding the car that suits you is important.
Needing to charge a low-range EV multiple times per day may add unnecessary inconvenience, while a large-range EV that you only use for short trips may be unnecessarily expensive.
Here are a few things you can do if you’re not sure what battery size is right for you.
You could keep a log of the kilometers you drive over a typical day or week to use as a reference for the type of EV you need.
Considering how often you do long trips may help you decide if a smaller battery car would suit you, or if you need a car with a larger battery.
The cost of hiring a car for occasional holiday trips could be more than covered by the daily petrol savings that come with owning an EV.
If have to do more than one extra charge each day, then a larger battery EV or a PHEV may better suit your needs.
For more information, you could read EECA’s EV buyers guide :
Ecotricity provides a simple tool that could help you find the right type of EV for you :
Range at 80%
It’s normal to fill a petrol car up to 100% and then only return to the petrol station when you’re as close to 0% as your nerves will allow.
With an EV, you may wish to consider the maximum range your EV will offer when it’s charged to 80%, because:
To maintain battery health, experts currently recommended that you don’t leave your EV charged at over 80% or less than 20% for long periods of time.
Charging over 80% is far slower than charging the first 80% of the battery.
Some DC fast chargers will limit your charging to between 80% and 95%.
Battery Health Report
A data reader can be plugged in to the OBD port of some EVs to conduct a battery health check.
This check is a way of estimating the remaining accessible battery capacity (or how much degradation has occurred).
Apps like Leafspy (for Nissan Leaf) and EVBATMON (for Mitsubishi Outlander) can be used to conduct these checks.
OBD II devices are available online, but not all OBD II devices are compatible with electric vehicles.
Stahlcar is one NZ supplier of compatible OBD II devices :
So far, only the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander can have their batteries checked with OBD devices.
Most new EVs have battery warranties that guarantee the battery for a certain length of time (typically 5 – 8 years, sometimes longer) or distance (such as 100,000km).
Ask your dealer about their battery warranty policies and what they cover.
Like any car, resale value fluctuates depending on wear and tear.
According to EECA, resale values are only starting to become established. It will also take time to determine how EVs, with their lower running costs will affect the resale value of petrol and diesel vehicles in the longer term.
In addition to resale, an EV also comes with significant savings on fuel and maintenance.
The average Kiwi EV owner will save approximately $2,500 on fuel and servicing costs each year
5. EV Test Drive and Rental Options
My car your rental peer-to-peer car rental offers some EV rentals from local EV owners.
Your Drive is another peer-to-peer car rental service offers some EV rentals from local EV owners.
Dedicated EV dealers have provided overnight test drive opportunities in some cases. This is done at the dealers discretion.
Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S
Nissan Leaf - Car Sharing
Nissan eNV-200 camper
Subscription based EV Hire
Tesla Model S
Zilch launched as Yoogo Share and operates an all electric, car share scheme in Christchurch and Auckland.
Hyundai Ioniq, Hyudai Kona, BMWi3 - Car Sharing
Audi e-tron Hybrid EVs - Car Sharing
Pit Stop courtesy cars - Hornby
If your car is in for a service, ask for a Nissan Leaf courtesy car for the day.
Zilch launched as Yoogo Share and operates an all electric car share scheme in Christchurch and Auckland.
Hyundai Ioniq, Hyudai Kona, BMWi3 - Car Sharing
6. Comparing electric vehicles
ICE vs HEV vs PHEV vs BEV Overview
Put simply, ICEs, HEVs and PHEVs use fossil fuels, a BEV does not.
Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicle
These are vehicles whose engines only burn fossil fuels like diesel and petrol.
The term ICE’d is commonly used when an EV charging station is blocked by a petrol or diesel vehicle.
Hybrid Electrified Vehicles (HEV)
A HEV combines a petrol-powered engine with an electric motor and a small battery to improve the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
A HEV does not have a plug. Its battery can only be charged when the vehicle’s brakes are used.
A full battery will normally last for 1 to 5km of driving.
"Self-charging" is a marketing term often used to refer to hybrid vehicles (HEVs).
When a car manufacturer refers to their car as "self-charging," they’re either talking about the regenerative braking system, which recaptures energy when the car brakes, or about using fuel in the car’s tank to charge the battery.
Unless it is covered in solar panels, a "self-charging" car is usually just a cunningly marketed hybrid.
Plug-in Hybrid EV (PHEV)
A PHEV will do much of its driving using an electric motor and a medium to large sized battery (usually good for about 10 to 50km of driving) that can be recharged through the vehicle’s brakes or by plugging it in.
When the battery is low, the vehicle will switch to using it’s petrol-powered engine instead.
Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
A BEV (or, colloquially, just EV) does not use fossil fuels. Instead it uses energy stored in a large battery to power an electric motor.
A BEV can be fully recharged by plugging in and it also generates energy when the brakes are applied via regenerative braking.
Range-extended EV (EV-Rex)
These are BEVs that have been fitted with a small, on-board petrol or diesel generator.
When the generator is turned on it can recharge the battery while driving in order to extend the vehicle’s range.
Hydrogen Powered Vehicles
In hydrogen vehicles, hydrogen is either burned in a combustion engine, or reacted with oxygen in a fuel cell to generate electricity and power an electric motor.
Vehicles that run on hydrogen are slowly becoming publicly available, like the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai Nexo. However, they are not yet on sale in New Zealand and there are currently no commercial hydrogen refuelling stations in New Zealand.
Benefits of using hydrogen in cars
Hydrogen vehicles can be refilled quickly at a commercial station, the same way a petrol car can be refilled.
They can also drive similar distances to long range EVs between stops and they produce only water as exhaust.
They provide a potential way for oil and gas companies to maintain their business models, while becoming more environmentally friendly.
Downsides of using hydrogen in cars
You have to visit a commercial station to refuel.
Most hydrogen produced in NZ is made from natural gas (CH4). This is the cheapest way to make hydrogen, but it also releases CO2 into the air.
There are no public hydrogen refuelling stations available in New Zealand and they cost up to $2m USD to build each one.
Hydrogen is expensive. It is currently sold for $12 to $16 US ($20 to $25 NZ) per kg and a typical full tank holds 5 to 7kg.
Hydrogen gas corrodes many of the metals used in petrol and gas pipes, so an entirely new system of supply pipelines would likely need to be built.
More Information on hydrogen cars
For more detailed comparisons between hydrogen and electric vehicles, you could read the hydrogen section of the NZ EV guide :
7. Ownership costs
New EVs compared to New ICE vehicles
New electric cars are currently more expensive to buy than new fossil fuel vehicles, largely due to high battery prices, research costs and low production volume.
This is expected to change over the coming years, as battery prices drop.
It will soon be cheaper for car manufacturers to build electric cars rather than fossil fuel cars.
As of April 2019, the price parity point is expected to be reached in 2022.
As more auto manufacturers move to EVs, prices will drop steadily.
Volkswagen has announced its intent to become a leading supplier of EVs by 2025.
All EVs in NZ should come with a NZ certified Level 2 EVSE charging cable (electric vehicle supply equipment). If you are buying an EV, make sure to check what types of charging cables it comes with and whether or not they are certified.
These cables will allow you to charge your vehicle from any standard power outlet—the same as plugging in your phone.
Different EV models connect to different plugs. Because of this, many destinations are installing charging stations with a Type 2 socket instead of a tethered cable. This means any EV can connect to their charging station, so long as it brings the correct cable. For example :
A type 2 to type 1 charging cable – popular among Nissan Leaf owners and the early model BMW i3.
If you want to take your EV camping, a 16 amp cable with a ‘Blue Commando’ plug will allow you to charge up at campsites.
Depending on the public charging options near you, or if you are intending to take on adventurous road trips, a variety of charging cables will allow you to connect to different charging stations and may increase your charging options.
EVs, on average, require less maintenance and servicing.
There are far fewer moving parts of an electric motor than there are in an internal combustion engine, this reduces the wear and tear in the motor.
A BEV does not need an oil change, it does not have fuel pumps, starter motors, head gaskets, spark plugs, carburetors, exhaust or any other internal combustion engine issues.
EVs use regenerative braking technology to charge the battery on-the-go. This means brake pads in an EV are used less and therefore wear down much more slowly.
Tyres may be worn down at a slightly faster rate because EVs accelerate faster and this can add extra stress to tyres at intersections.
Tyres North Amptopn - How EVs affect tyres
Keeping your tyres inflated is important, not only for safety, but also for reducing the fuel and maintenance costs of your vehicle.
Tyres that are underinflated can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 4% and may deteriorate faster.
EECA has created a guide to good tyre management, you can find it here :
EECA - On the Road, Tyre Pressure
Windscreen wipers and windscreen fluid need to be replaced/refilled at the same rate as any other car.
Occasionally your cabin air filter may need replacing, your power steering and brake fluid may need to be topped up as with any other car.
You can service your EV at most garages and most garages can fix standard problems with EVs.
Pitstop have a dedicated EV servicing option and have a fleet of Nissan Leaf courtesy cars.
EVincible is a network of automotive workshops who have courtesy loan EV cars and experience with EV repairs and diagnostics.
You can get a warrant of fitness (WOF) or a certificate of fitness (COF) at any garage, the same as any other car.
EECA calculates that the cost of electricity for an EV is equivalent to about $0.30/litre* - when charging at home. This is about 7 times cheaper than petrol.
*Costs may vary, for more information visit : EECA - EV running costs
Standard electricity rates in NZ are usually between 20 and 30c per kWh.
Canstar Blue - Average electricity costs per kWh in NZ
ChargeNet is the biggest charging station operator in NZ, their rates are usually:
50kW DC fast chargers – $0.25/kWh plus $0.25/minute
25kW DC fast chargers – $0.25/kWh plus $0.15/minute
This usually works out to be about $0.60 litre, depending on your car. Which is roughly double the cost of charging at home, but still far cheaper than petrol.
Some public charging stations provide charging for free as well, although these are not guaranteed to last in free-mode forever and can sometimes cause queues with longer wait times.
Otago Daily Times – Queues at rapid charger
For a real-life example of how much a road trip costs, take a look at this trip we did from Wellington to Paihia in a 2016 30kWh Nissan Leaf.
Estimating fuel Savings
The NZ Government’s Right Car website provides a calculator that can be used for estimating fuel savings at rightcar.govt.nz
Driving a 2018 Toyota Corolla 40km a day, you could pay about $1790 for petrol per year according to rightcar.govt.nz - 2018 Toyota Corolla
Driving the same distance in a Hyundai Ioniq would cost about $240 when charging at home at standard electricity rates. According to rightcar.govt.nz - 2018 Hyundai Ioniq
This would be an annual fuel saving of $1550 .
There is very little difference in insurance between an EV and an ICE vehicle of a similar quality, cost and year. However, depending on where you purchased from, access to manufacture parts and repair agents may be challenging.
Seneca Group - Insuring electric vehicles
When insuring an EV, look for an insurance provider which has suitable EV terms.
The AA ,for example, provide cover for EV batteries if they are damaged in an accident.
The AA says that EVs are generally not more expensive to insure than an ICE vehicle.
AA.co.nz – Insurance for electric and hybrid vehicles
In 2017 it was difficult to obtain insurance for Teslas, due to their high speed and acceleration.
EV talk – Kiwis now get tesla insurance
However, Tesla now offers their own insurance solution - exclusively for Tesla owners.
Cove Insurance contacted us to say they cover EV's
Weight and Handling
Electric car batteries weigh several hundred kilograms and are usually located in the floor of the car.
This low weight gives the cars a lower centre of gravity, adding stability when cornering and accelerating.
See Sigurd’s guide for more information.
Most EV manufacturers offer a 8 – 10 year (or more) battery warranty because, over time, EV battery capacity can gradually decrease.
A car with battery degradation will still work well, it will just have slightly less range on a full charge.
It can be an attractive option if you want a cheaper car and don’t need to travel as far in between charges.
Flip the Fleet - Declining battery health
Why batteries degrade is a hotly debated topic with many theories and ideas as to how to avoid it.
The points below are the current, generally accepted, approaches that you can take to minimise battery degradation.
Degradation can happen when a vehicle is parked, fully charged, and not used for long periods of time.
Hot temperatures (particularly over 45°C) can also reduce battery life and some cars actively cool the battery to extend their lifetime.
Excessive fast-charging (such as several times a day over long periods of time) has been thought to reduce battery life slightly - however this is likely due to the heat generated when fast charging.
Not all batteries are the same. A Nissan Leaf battery will, on average, degrade by about 3% per year. A Tesla battery has a much lower rate of degradation. On average, they will lose about 10% over 10 years.
Flip the fleet – Benchmark your leaf before buying
If you are concerned about battery degradation, talk to a dedicated EV dealer about your driving needs to find a vehicle that will suit you for many years to come.
For more information visit :
This 22 minute video provides a very (very!) detailed description of what battery degradation is and how to avoid it.
Sigurd’s EV guide also contains information on dealing with battery degradation.
NZ New EVs come with battery warranties and conditions (such as km driven or time) may vary. Some used vehicle dealers will also provide warranties with their used imports.
Consumer Protection provides resources on their website to help with warranties and your legal rights :
Consumer Protection – buying a car from a dealer
End of Life - Replace, Reuse, Recycle
Replacing a battery
An EV Battery can typically last a minimum of around 10 years before the driving range it provides may have decreased to the point where it is no longer useful for the owner’s needs.
Sometimes it’s possible to just replace specific parts (cells) within a battery to revive the battery’s performance.
EVs Enhanced in Christchurch can help with assessing if this is the right approach for you.
Blue Cars in Auckland also offers individual battery modules for sale.
Battery upgrades are also becoming a real possibility.
The first battery upgrade trials are underway in Auckland, where old Nissan Leafs with 24 kWh batteries are being upgraded with 45% more range.
The Driven -– NZ battery module adds 45% range to Nissan Leaf
There are several companies in NZ that specialise in testing, fixing and replacing EV batteries and modules.
Blue cars in Auckland
EVs Enhanced in Christchurch
Buying a new battery can be expensive, but this will change in the future as battery prices are falling quickly.
Bloomberg – EV prices shrink with the battery
Research by EECA shows that even if owners need to replace the battery, an EV can be cheaper than a petrol car - in terms of whole of life cost.
EECA - Buying an electric vehicle
Just because a battery isn’t good enough for your EV doesn’t mean that it needs to be thrown away. An old EV battery is still useful and can be refurbished and reused to store energy at home, at work, or in other, lower-range EVs.
EECA – Electric Vehicle Batteries
Reusing and recycling old batteries
A common complaint about EVs is – what happens to the battery when I no longer need it?
It has been estimated that as many as 11 million tons of used lithium-ion batteries could accumulate worldwide between now and 2030.
The Guardian – Battery Waste Problem
Even if these couldn’t be recycled, it is still worth remembering that:
An EV may produce a 300kg to 600kg battery as waste after 10 years*
But a small petrol car, driving 14,000km per year, will produce an average of 20,000kg of waste CO2 over 10 years. **
And it is much harder to recycle used car exhaust in the air, than it is to recycle a solid battery pack.
**NZ AA – Average light vehicle fuel consumption
EV Wiki – Weight of a Nissan Leaf battery
Wikipedia – Weight of a Tesla Model S battery pack
Lithium-ion batteries can be used for other purposes after being used in EVs, as energy storage in homes, businesses and charging stations
Evtalk.co.nz – retired EV batteries have a long second life
Some countries are now implementing policies that make car manufacturers and sellers responsible for their EV batteries.
In New Zealand, the Motor Industry Association (MIA) has introduced a code of practice for recycling old traction batteries :
The NZ Ministry for the Environment is also proposing a ‘Product Stewardship’ scheme that, among other things, would create regulation around how EV batteries are handled at the end of their life.
Ministry for the Environment – Regulated Product Stewardship
Old EV batteries can be reused as energy storage for home, camping sites, electricity networks, as backup power. Around the world, companies are exploring new ways to make use of their old battery packs.
Bloomberg.com – Where will EV batteries go when they retire
When a battery finally reaches the end of its completely usable life, it can be recycled. Battery recycling technology is being improved and pioneered around the world, for example:
Li-cycle – Battery Recycling
Retrievtech – Battery Recycling
Onto Technology – Battery Recycling
In New Zealand, a local E-waste recycling company, UPCYCLE, is leading the way in developing battery recycling technology:
And NZ-based company, Mint Innovations, are using biotechnology to extract metals from e-waste using microorganisms!
Australia is the world’s second largest producer of Lithium, Lithium Australia is investing in new methods to recover lithium and other metals from used batteries.
proactiveinvestors.com.au – Lithium Australia recycling innovations
For more information on recycling and reusing batteries, you could try these web pages.
The Better NZ Trust – What happens to old EV batteries
EECA – Electric Vehicle Batteries Research – Part 3 : Dealing with a degraded battery
Fleetcarma – Electric Vehicle Batteries Reused – Recycled
Stuff.co.nz – What happens to all those EV batteries
As well as the main battery, most EVs have a traditional 12 volt (12v) lead-acid battery that stores power to run the car’s dashboard, computer and accessories like lights and stereo.
Like any other car, if the 12v battery runs flat the car won’t start, even if there’s charge in the main EV battery.
EECA - buying an electric vehicle
As with any car, the driver of an EV has a large influence on its performance over time.
Maintaining a charge between 20 and 80% wherever possible is generally thought to prolong battery life.
This is a very simple representation of avoiding battery stress
Many EVs like those made by Tesla and Hyundai, will have that additional capacity built in. For example, the Hyundai Kona has a 67 kWh battery, but can only be charged up to 64 kWh.
EV-database - Hyundai Kona 64kWh
For more detail and recommendations on battery management, see Sigurd’s guide.
Other things you can consider are :
Frequent fast charging (multiple times per day) will increase the temperature of the battery can accelerate battery degradation of your EV does not have battery cooling systems.
Some batteries have thermal management systems that use a small amount of energy to protect the battery by regulating its temperature.
Only recharge the battery when needed. Instead of charging it to 100% at every chance. Many EV owners find they only need to charge every few days.
When storing an EV for a long time, follow the battery care instructions in the manual. Don’t store it with a fully charged battery.
Avoid exposing your battery to extreme heat or cold.
In very cold weather (below freezing), follow battery care instructions in the manual.
Check your EV’s owner’s manual for more detailed battery care advice, information on warranty conditions and expected useful battery life.
EECA have a best practice guide for battery care.
EECA – EV battery best practice guide
EECA also have a report on Battery Lifespan and Degradation.
EECA – EV battery report
9. EV Safety and Upgrades
EVs sold in New Zealand must meet the same minimum vehicle safety standards as petrol and diesel vehicles.
EVs are newer cars and usually have higher safety ratings than older cars.
You can find ANCAP safety ratings for specific vehicles on the rightcar website, the maximum safety rating ANCAP gives is 5 stars :
Rightcar.govt.nz – ancap test result
Crashes and Fires
An EV’s high-voltage electric system is designed to automatically deactivate in a crash. They are far less likely to catch fire in a crash than petrol or diesel vehicles.
EECA – buying an EV
EVs can be very quiet until they reach about 25km per hour, when the tyre noise can be heard from outside the car.
Some EVs emit audible sounds at low speeds to alert pedestrians and cyclists.
Worksafe EV Guidelines
Worksafe has published guidelines to keep EV charging safe, you can access the guide to home charging through the website below:
Worksafe – Public EV charging safety guide
Extension cables and multi taps
EV places a high demand on the plug it is charging from. Plugging other devices in to the same socket, or other sockets on the same circuit, can lead to shortages.
When charging an EV at home, do not use multitap devices and avoid using extension cords.
For a quick and easy guide to home charging safety, take a look at EEVA’s EV charging tips:
EECA – EV charging
EVs and water
Electric car charging equipment is weatherproof and is specifically designed to protect both the car and its humans from electrical shock.
All components are RCD protected and weatherised for protection while charging in the rain or using car washes.
EECA – EV charging
EVs Enhanced are a Christchurch based organisation that provides and develops upgrades that enable existing electric vehicles to remain usable, relevant and desirable as they age.
Among other things, they have developed firmware updates and battery replacements for the Nissan Leaf.
EVs Enhanced – Christchurch
30 kWh Nissan Leaf firmware
In 2018 a minor bug was found in some 30kWh model Nissan Leafs.
Nissan Leaf ‘Rapidgate’ bug
This bug was in their battery management system and caused an incorrect estimation of both battery capacity and remaining energy.
For owners of these cars, it appeared that the batteries were degrading much more rapidly than anticipated.
A fix has been created, if you think your 30kWh Nissan Leaf may need it, you can find out more at your local EV dealer, or through EVs Enhanced
EVs Enhanced – Christchurch
Nissan Leaf thermal management update
The batteries in early model Nissan Leafs (30kWh and 24kWh models) do not actively manage the heat of the battery.
If these cars are fast-charged several times in succession on a hot summer road trip, the battery temperature can climb into the red.
EVs enhanced have created a firmware update that will limit the charging speed to limit the battery temperature in these cars.
This update will mean slower charging when the battery is hot, but also a healthier, less degraded battery in the long run.
For more information on this firmware update, look at:
EVs Enhanced – firmware update
Charging is categorised into different ‘levels: 1, 2 & 3’, based on the power and current used to charge an EV. The US-based Society of Automotive Engineers SAE International J1772 standard defines charging in levels.
These Levels are further categorised into ‘modes: 1, 2, 3 & 4’, based on the type of equipment that is used to charge the EV. The International Electrotechnical Commission, defines charging in modes (IEC 62196).
Sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably, but should not to be confused with Type 1 or Type 2 charging standards.
EVs can charge using either AC electricity or DC electricity.
- AC electricity is typically used at home or at destinations like campsites.
- DC electricity is normally used at dedicated fast charger installations.
For a history of AC and DC you can read the Wikipedia page: War of the currents
Electric vehicles come with different types of connections and plugs.
For a full breakdown on these connections, you could look at NZTA’s guide to plugs and sockets :
There are a few different ways of categorising charging, but knowing what they are is not essential for operating an EV.
For the everyday EV owner, knowing about the plug types and charging times associated with home charging, public fast charging and public AC charging is important.
10.1. Home (Trickle) Charging
Trickle charging is when an EV is connected to the same plug that you would use to charge your phone, an ordinary household power socket.
Trickle charging requires a specialised portable cable that is usually supplied with your EV.
This method of charging is slow, usually adding about 10km for every hour it the EV is plugged in.
Trickle charging is already available almost everywhere and does not require any special connections or upgrades.
There is a simple guide to low level charging on the Meridian website at :
Meridian Energy – How to charge an EV
Level 1 charging refers to home circuits that supply AC electricity at 110/120 volts.
In New Zealand, AC electricity is supplied from home sockets at 230/240 volts, not 110/120 volts.
Level 1 charging is therefore not used in New Zealand.
Chargepoint.com – EV charging level comparison
Level 2 charging refers to home circuits that supply AC electricity at about 240 volts. This can supply more power than Level 1 charging.
Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), and is capable of Level 2 charging.
Level 2 charging is also often used to refer to charging using a dedicated home charging unit.
Only use power supply equipment that is designed for use with your vehicle, and that is certified as safe for use in New Zealand.
Worksafe has published a guide on finding safe home charging equipment : Worksafe – Using the right plugs
Extension Leads and adapters
The portable charging cable should not be connected to an extension cable or multiboard as this may disable some of the protections and increase the risk of a fire.
The EVSE control box is by regulation not allowed to be more than 300mm from the power point in order to minimise the permanently live section.
Worksafe – safely charging your EV at home
The Driven, Blog – Explanation of EV charging speeds
Charging with ‘Mode 1’ basically means you are connecting your car straight to a wall socket without any safety equipment in between, and is generally not found in NZ.
Some old EV conversions, early model EVs and ebikes may use Mode 1 charging.
Mode 1 charging cables are considered dangerous and should not be used. They offer no circuit protection and can not turn off the current if there is a fault. A fault occurring while using a Mode 1 charger could result in the entire body of the car becoming live.
For more information, you could look at :
The Driven Blog - Explaining EV charging speeds
Charging with ‘Mode 2’ basically means you are connecting your car to a wall socket but with specialised safety equipment in between.
Mode 2 is now the default charging standard in New Zealand for places where a dedicated EV charging station isn’t installed.
Mode 2 cables contain a built-in control unit.
This unit is pre-set to maintain a certain charging rate, and protects your car with an In-Cable control and Protection Device (IC-CPD) that switches the charging off if something goes wrong.
Mode 2 EVSE cables are entirely portable.
Sometimes Mode 2 charging is called "emergency charging". But this is a misnomer as it is the most economical, most common and most practical regular charging mode for any battery size/daily distance under 100km.
For another simple explanation of charging modes, try
NZEV – A guide to charging modes
Charging Off Peak
Many power companies offer an ‘off peak rate’ designed to help EV owners.
‘Off peak rates’ are cheaper and usually occur at night.
Your car may have a built in timer which will allow you to choose when the car starts or finishes charging, and therefore take advantage of cheaper power overnight.
10.2. Dedicated Home EV Charging
Sometimes called ‘Level 2’ charging is when an EV is connected to a dedicated home charging point/station, rather than using an ordinary household power socket. They connect to the EV’s onboard charger.
These charging points provide high levels of current, between 16 and 32amps, which means they will require an electrician to install them.
Dedicated home charging points offer safer, faster and smarter charging options.
There are a growing number of New Zealand businesses that offer home charging solutions.
Many dedicated charging points come with enhanced features, like start/stop scheduling, wifi access, charge data logging, or connections to your local network company.
EV charging station providers in NZ
If you are looking at installing an EV charging station at home, the following resources might be useful :
Unison – guide to installing EV charging
Vector – guide to installing EV charging
Tesla – guide to installing EV charging
AC Charging Speeds
3.6 kW / 16A adds about 100km per 5-6hrs
7.4 kW / 32A adds about 100km per 2-3hrs
22 kW / 32A 3-Phase adds about 100km in 50 minutes
However, not all EVs can charge at high speeds.
For example: AC charging for a Nissan Leaf cannot be more than 3.3kW (unless it has a 6.6 kW option installed.) Which means If you connect a Nissan Leaf to a 22kW charger, the car will charge at a rate of 3.3kW (or 6.6 kW)
Mode 3 basically means any dedicated EV charge point that supplies AC electricity to charge an EV. This might be a level 2 home charger or some types of level 3 public chargers.
Dedicated ‘Mode 3’ and ‘Level 2’ charging points describe the same type of charging.
These charging points contain safety equipment situated within the dedicated machine instead of on the cable.
Mode 3 is the only legal configuration for public AC charging in New Zealand, and is optional for home charging.
10.3. Public Charging
DC Fast Chargers (or Mode 4)
New Zealand has a national network of public fast chargers spread every 50 – 100 km in towns along major state highways.
These fast chargers usually add about 100kms of range in 20 – 30 minutes.
Not all electric vehicles can use DC charging.
Most fast chargers have two cables attached to them, a CHAdeMO and a CSS-2 cable.
Normally, only one vehicle can charge at a time. Some fast chargers will allow a second vehicle to queue, ie: where the second vehicle will start charging as soon as the first has stopped.
DC Fast chargers are classed as Mode 4 (& Level 3) charging, and are the only charge points that actually contain a charger. (Mode 1, 2 & 3 use the battery charger inside the car.
Most vehicles will charge faster the emptier they are, and gradually slow down as their battery gets closer to 100%.
Three extreme examples are:
- the Nissan Leaf 24kWh will climb to a peak of 42 kW at 25% SOC (battery state of charge), then dropping rapidly to about 16 kW at 90% SOC. It loses its fast charge capability at about 80% SOC.
- The 33kWh BMW i3 will maintain a charging speed of over 45 kW until it reaches 85% SOC when it then drops away rapidly to 25 kW at 90% SOC
- The Jaguar i-PACE can maintain a charge at 60 kW (on a high powered station) until it is 50% SOC, dropping to 30 kW at about 90% SOC
All EVs can vary their charging speed curves slightly from one charge to the next, depending on battery temperatures.
Regardless of the vehicle brand or model, the last 20% of the battery takes considerably longer to charge which is why most fast chargers offer the option of stopping the charge at 80%.
Most low-range EVs cannot maintain a fast charge over 80%, and none can over 90% which is why DC rapid charging stations should only be used to about 80-90% unless the full range is needed to get to the closest charging station or destination. This allows limited charging resources to be shared with others.
ChargeNet NZ Ltd operate the largest network of fast chargers in New Zealand (or the largest privately owned network in the Southern Hemisphere.) It spans from the top of the North Island down to the bottom of the South Island. (see separate section 10.4)
In order to access these charging stations, you need to register for an account on the ChargeNet website:
ChargeNet stations usually cost per minute and per Kilowatt Hour (KWh). See their website, above, for rates.
ChargeNet’s DC fast chargers can be activated with an RFID keyfob (available for purchase on their website), or via their phone app or website.
Only one car can charge at a ChargeNet station at once. There are two cables on each station in order to support the two most common charging sockets (CHAdeMO and CCS-2.). If neither plug fit your car's DC charge port, then your vehicle manufacturer may be able to supply a NZ certified adaptor (currently Tesla only.)
ChargeNet's DC fast chargers can be toggled between 80% charge and "Max", which is approx 95% SOC.
Some companies have installed ABB fast chargers in different areas across New Zealand.
Many of these chargers are free, and can be used by following the instructions on their touch screens.
If a charger is free, it may also have a 30 minute time limit that should be observed to be fair to other EV owners waiting to charge!
Some ABB chargers also supply an AC charging cable.
DC charging speeds
Different power ratings will charge EVs at different rates.
25kW – adds 100km in about 40 minutes
50kW – adds 100km in about 20 minutes
100kW - adds 100km in about 10 minutes
250kW – adds 100km in about 4 minutes
400kW – adds 100km in about 2 and a half minutes
Not all EVs can use high DC charging speeds.
For example, the 2016 Nissan Leaf will charge at a maximum power of 50kW.
If you connect a 2016 Nissan Leaf to a 100kW charger, it will limit the charging rate to below 50kW.
Destination Charging Stations ("Destination Chargers")
Destination charging stations are the charging stations that businesses and attractions install in their carparks to support their customers with EVs.
The charging stations installed at these locations are usually Level 2 or Level 3 AC charging stations and will take several hours to recharge an EV.
While many destination charging stations are free to use, some may require you to check in with the local manager before you plug in.
It is important to be aware of the type of charging station at the location, as destination charging stations often only have a Type 2 socket. This this means that you will need to bring your own cable with you.
Type 1 to Type 2, or Type 2 to Type 2 cables can be used to connect to socketed destination charging stations, while charging at campsites may require a cable with a caravan (or ‘Blue Commando’) plug.
Tesla destination chargers often only work with Tesla-made vehicles, however some older Tesla destination chargers are configured for other Type 2 vehicles.
If you are not driving a Tesla and are intending to use a Tesla destination charger, make sure you have checked that you can use it and have a back-up option – just in case!
Some charging stations are also locked or may require an RFID card to activate them.
If you are looking at installing a destination charging station, the following resources might be useful:
Vector – guide to installing EV charging
Tesla – guide to installing EV charging
In order to charge an EV at a campsite, you must have an EV charging cable that can connect to caravan plugs (also known as Blue Commandos).
This is a portable cable that can connect to your car at one end and to a 16amp Caravan plug at the other end.
Most campsite require payment of between $5 and $10, but check with the campsite owner first.
Meridian Energy - How to charge an EV
Blue Cars - Blue commando sales
When using your own portable charging cable, the security of your cable may be an issue.
Most cars come with a way of locking the cable in your car. You could also use a padlock to lock the cable to something secure.
Who are ChargeNet NZ
ChargeNet NZ Ltd operate the largest network of fast chargers in New Zealand (or the largest privately owned network in the Southern Hemisphere.) It spans from the top of the North Island down to the bottom of the South Island.
In order to access these charging stations, you need to register for an account on the ChargeNet website:
Using a ChargeNet (Veefil 50kW) Fast Charger
Make sure both handsets are tucked into the station. Ensure your EV is switched off, then connect the compatible charging cable to your car – you should hear a click when you have connected securely.
Hold your RFID fob against the RFID section of the charging station, hold it there until the station stops beeping this may take a few seconds.
If you don’t have an RFID fob, you can activate the charging station using either the ChargeNet app, or by locating the charging station you want to use on the ‘Start Charge’ feature on the Charge.net website and clicking on "Start Charge": https://charge.net.nz/my/station/
Press the 80% / Max button to choose to charge your car up to either 80% or to 95%.
Press the Start button to begin charging. The cable will lock on to your car.
The cable will unlock once the charge is complete.
If you want to stop charging and unlock the cable before then, press your RFID against the RFID panel on the charging station (if you used one in step 2) and then tap Stop (step 5). Wait until the red light on the handset extinguishes (CHAdeMO) before attempting to pull the handset out of your car.
Return the cable to the charging station.
If, for some reason, you need to un-plug and re-plug-in your car, you will need to return the cable to the charging station to reset the charging station.
If the charging station is not working or out of service, this icon will light up.
The Lock icon will light up when a charging session started by an RFID fob is in progress and the interface panel is locked.
Parts 9 and 10
The blue panel and LED screen will light up and display information when a charging session is in progress.
The LED screen displays minutes connected on the left; the centre toggles between battery percentage during charge, and total dollars spent; and the right displays kilowatt hours delivered.
In the unlikely event of an emergency, if it is safe to do so, please push the red emergency knob (e-stop) located nearer the base of the machine. This will immediately shut down and secure the DC Fast Charger.
Once the emergency is over, call ChargeNet, if possible, so that then can check if it is safe and restart the charging station. If it was a false alarm, turn the emergency stop knob to the right until it pops back out. Wait 5 minutes for the station to reboot.
Charge Net’s FAQ page
Charge Net’s contact details
10.5. Charging Etiquette
Why we have rules
Good charging etiquette is important to ensure a better public charging experience for everyone.
NZ’s leading EV advocacy group, The Better NZ Trust, have put together a very through etiquette guide that can be found here: etiquette guide
1. All EVs Are Equal
Whether PHEV, small or large capacity, all EV’s have equal right to use charging stations.
Use your discretion in sharing, if there is a choice of high-powered/low-powered DC chargers nearby.*
Only use public charging stations if you cannot charge at home. Keep them free for those that need them.
2. Charging Not Parking
Parks displaying the official NZ sign are for charging only.
Do not park there if you are not charging, even if you’re in an EV.
3. Be Nice to ICE
ICING refers to non-ev vehicles parking in charging spaces.
Be a good EV ambassador and remember your behaviour reflects other EV drivers and impacts the ICE drivers impression of electric vehicles.
Action to take on a blocked charging station includes leaving a note, reporting it to the carpark authority or city council for towing, or enquiring at the location as to who owns the vehicle and whether it could be moved.
4. When to Unplug
Only unplug another vehicle if you are certain it has finished charging, or you have been given permission.
5. Monitor With Your Phone
Make use of apps or txt alerts to monitor the state of charge.
6. Don’t Set and Forget
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.
Don’t expect others to unplug you. Relocate your car when it has finished charging or you have the charge you need.
7. Check for Parking/Charging Limits
Some stations and/or EV parks have time limits to encourage vehicle turnover. Some free stations prohibit charging commercial vehicles. Check the signage before proceeding. Do not use free public rapid charging if you can charge at home.
Do not park illegally to reach the charging station.
8. E-Stop is for Emergencies
Some fast chargers have an E-Stop button.
Only press E-Stop if you can’t get hold of the station operator by phone and you can’t stop charging or disengage the charging station through normal methods.
Reset it before you leave by twisting it to the right.
9. OK to Check Progress
It is acceptable and normal to check the onscreen progress of a station that you are waiting to use.
You can also talk to the other driver if they are present and ask them how long they are charging for, or when they might be done.
You can ask if they can finish earlier, but be graceful if they choose not to.
10.Look after the stations
Look after the stations, cables and plugs. Report any damage to the service provider, & ensure cables are safely tucked away into their cradles.
11. How far can you drive?
In a Nutshell
It takes less than $25 to fill up even the largest EV battery, depending on your electricity provider.
How far could a petrol or diesel car drive on $25 of fuel?
The Tesla Model S has a max range of 600km, while the much cheaper Mitsubishi i-MiEV has a max range of 100km (EPA std).
Statistically speaking, an electric vehicle can easily meet most people’s daily driving needs.
EECA - How far can an EV go
Image from EECA
The exact distance you can drive on a single charge depends on the type of EV, its battery capacity, the type of roads (flat, hilly or winding), your speed and your driving style.
If you’re driving beyond your EV’s battery capacity in one go, or on routes that you have never travelled before, consider planning a route with a public charging station at regular intervals.
Power Trip’s trip planning features will help you do this, by taking the terrain, elevation and charging options into account with each trip plan.
The EPA Range
The EPA (USA Environmental Protection Agency – National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory) maintains a database of consistent estimates of how far each new EV will travel on a typical journey, mixing highway and suburban driving.
Check the "EPA Range" if you would like to know more.
The EPA range is a ‘good guess’ and not a guarantee. Different circumstances, terrain and driving styles will make any cars’ range vary significantly.
Temperature can affect the battery.
An EV battery is less efficient in extremes of hot and cold. As a general rule, it likes to stay within the same range of temperatures as the human body.
In NZ, extreme heat is not (yet!) such a problem, but a 5 to 10% decrease in range may occur during winter.
Other power usage
Using in-car features such as air-conditioning, heating or lights and wipers, will also use power and reduce your range slightly.
Why Does My Dashboard Range Change So Much?
All EVs have a dashboard range indicator (sometimes called the Guess-o-meter, or GoM) that provides a rough guide to the remaining kilometres of travel before the battery runs out.
The GoM indicator is usually based on your last few minutes of driving, and does not consider upcoming terrain.
Changes in speed, road slope or weather can cause alarming decreases in the remaining range shown on the GoM.
Your battery has not lost energy, it is just using more of it at that point in time.
Planning tools like Power Trip take the terrain into account to estimate your driving range and plan your trips accordingly.
Driving up hills uses more energy than driving along a flat road, but most EVs regenerate some of the energy driving downhill with regenerative braking systems.
Travelling at higher speeds will drain an EV battery faster, reducing the distance it can cover between charges.
Corners, bends and intersections
Depending on your driving style, roads with lots of tight corners and bends may also use more energy. Smooth acceleration and braking can help to conserve energy and extend an EV’s driving range.
Strong wind can affect an EV’s driving range. A tailwind can increase driving range, while a headwind can decrease it.
Wet roads, gravel roads and rural roads can reduce an EV’s driving range.
Under or overinflated tyres can affect an EV’s driving range. Making sure tyres are fully inflated to the recommended level will increase the range and EV can achieve on a single charge.
Flip the fleet – Top tips for EV tyres
Misaligned wheels can reduce an EV’s driving range by a small amount.
Flip the fleet has published detailed information on how tyre pressure and wheel alignment can affect EV driving range, you can find it at :
Flip the fleet – optimum tyre pressures and types
Adding extra weight, such as cargo or passengers can decrease an EV’s driving range. This is important to be aware of when towing a trailer or carrying a lot of extra weight.
External attachments like bike racks or roof racks can reduce an EVs driving range, as the EV will not be as aerodynamic.
What If I Run Out Of Power?
An EV gives advance warning of how it can drive before running out of energy.
This normally gives the EV driver enough warning to slow down and find the nearest EV charger.
When an EV does run out of energy, there are currently three options.
Option 1 - Push the EV to the nearest plug and ask to charge. This could be a nearby house, business or service station.
Option 2 - Tow the EV to the nearest fast charger. The AA will do this for you and it can be cheaper than being towed home or to a nearby service station.
Option 3 - Find a friendly local with a portable generator, ask them for a charge.
Vehicle support organisations are also researching portable charging options that will be available in the near future.
Avoiding a flat battery
Most electric cars will display a warning when their battery drops below 20% or 15% remaining.
Many EVs also display an additional warning at about 5% and may also limit the power and speed of the EV to extend its range.
Most EV owners come to know their car’s driving and range over time.
Other techniques you can use to stay safe and charged up on the road are :
- Charging in advance, instead of waiting until your battery drops to a low percentage.
- Planning trips in advance to get an idea for how much energy and charging you will need. Tools like Power Trip can help with this.
- Allowing for an extra 20 kms or an extra 10 to 20% for each trip. This is similar to having a ‘reserve fuel tank’ for emergencies.
- Driving more slowly along routes and roads where there are few charging opportunities. Reducing your speed from 100 km/h to 80 km/h can significantly extend your driving range.
Getting a flat battery
If you know you are about to run out of energy and have nowhere to recharge, consider turning off the EV and calling an organisation like the AA for help. It is better for the battery to sit at low charge, rather running completely flat.
If you run out of charge, the EV will cease to move. Most EV battery management systems will reserve a small amount of energy to provide a small amount of protection for the battery.
In addition to the main battery, most EVs also have a standard 12 volt car battery that powers the dashboard and controls.
Some EVs may also drain the 12v battery if their main lithium ion battery runs out of energy. This may mean that you can’t restart the car until you have recharged it.
In most EVs, when the 12v battery is flat, you may also not be able to charge the main battery. If you cannot start your EV and it will not recharge when plugged in, the 12 volt battery might need recharging or replacing.
Check your EV owner’s manual for recommended best practices for getting your EV towed. For many EVs it will involve a flatbed tow truck.
Mistakes in towing can damage an EV and may void warranties. Following the instructions specific for your own EV is very important.
If you are an AA member, towing to a nearby charging station or home is usually covered under their roadside assistance program.
Many EVs, like other modern cars, will not come with a spare tyre.
Instead, they usually come with a tyre repair and/or inflation kit.
These kits usually work best for slow punctures, and will allow an EV to drive to the nearest repair location.
Most kits will blow glue into the tyre to create a seal from the inside. This process usually means that the tyre will need to be replaced.
For more information, check out the AA’s page on tyre sealant :
13. Electricity Plans
EV Talk’s list
EVTalk maintains a guide on the different EV focused incentives and rates available through various power company offerings.
EV talk – Power deals
14. Policies and Support
Currently, Light battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are exempt from road user charges (RUC) until 31 December 2021, or until they are 2% of the fleet.
In 2019 the Government announced a new programme that is intended to replace the RUC exemption with lower purchase costs of EVs after 2021.
Full details about this can be found on the Ministry for Transport website :
Ministry of Transport – clean car discount
Drive Electric prepares and disseminates accurate and commercially useful information about EVs and EV-related topics. Individuals and Fleet Managers can become members of Drive Electric where they will receive access to expert white papers, and invitations to a variety of events including our EV Conversation events hosted by member organisations, Drive events hosted by car company members, Fleet events and White Paper workshops. Members also have opportunities to influence key legislative and industry forums.
The Electric Vehicle Association of Aotearoa (EVAA)
The Electric Vehicle Association of Aotearoa was set up to provide a fair and honest authority for managing manufacturer, supplier and end-user relations; support innovative research and work that may have aided in the uptake of electric vehicles; provide guidelines for acceptable standards; and promote the use and demand for electric vehicles by supplying information on the use and merits of driving electric to both central and local government, corporates and the general public of New Zealand.
The EVAA ceased to exist in January 2020.
The standing Government policy is a target of 64,000 electric vehicles on our roads by the end of 2021. More information on Government policies can be found on the Ministry for Transport website:
Ministry of Transport – electric vehicles
How many EVs are there in NZ?
As at 31 Dec 2019 there were 14,093 pure electric vehicles registered in New Zealand and 4,421 plug-in hybrid vehicles.
You can find up to date statistics about electric vehicles on the Ministry of Transport website.
Ministry of Transport – monthly EV registrations
Pit Stop have dedicated resources towards developing their hybrid and EV servicing options.
Pitstop.co.nz – Hybrid and electric vehicles
A list of what an EV service at Pit Stop contains can be found on their website:
Pitstop.co.nz – Service packages
15. EVs, the environment and climate change
Climate Change in General
Humans add billions of tonnes of CO2 to the air every year by burning coal, oil and gas.
For 650,000 years the CO2 in our air has never risen above 300 ppm (300 C02 molecules per million air molecules.) That has changed in the past few decades and it has now risen to over 400 ppm.
Source = globalclimate.ucr.edu
This has coincided with recorded increases in the global average temperature.
https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/"><em>Source = climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus.
The extra heat from this warming means there is more energy in the atmosphere. This makes extreme weather events more frequent and more intense.
The overview below provided by The Guardian gives an excellent overview of the problem and how EVs can contribute to the solution.
The Guardian – Climate Crisis Explained in 10 Charts
In New Zealand, 20% of our emissions come from Transport. Using electric vehicles would use reduce this by using renewable electricity sources instead of fossil fuels.
The cumulative, increasing emissions from vehicles are also having significant effects on human health across the world.
The Guardian – Health effects of diesel
Steps you can take
If you can’t complete a journey by walking, biking, running or public transport, then use an EV and see if your mates need a ride.
Inform yourself and make lifestyle changes. Everything from going vegan to changing your lightbulbs helps. Join Genless
Join or donate to local political movements like the Zero Carbon Act
Find your local Extinction Rebellion group and join the peaceful protest movement.
Should I be worried?
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change.
The 2018 IPCC report projected that we (<em>humans</em>) have 12 years to make massive and unprecedented changes to global energy infrastructure to limit global warming to moderate levels.
The full report – ipcc.ch/sr15
IPCC Report, risks and impacts – The Guardian.com
IPCC report summary – Vox.com
Our way of life needs to change drastically in order to make the emission reductions that this report says we need:
Climate change will lead to droughts and water shortages, more intense storms, changes in agriculture, disruptions to the global economy and supply chains, massive species extinctions, mass migration and climate refugees, frequent storms, and rising sea levels and flooding in many coastal cities like Wellington and Auckland.
Climate change consequences of inaction – oecd.orf
Should I be angry?
In the 1980s, oil companies assessed and forecast the planetary consequences of fossil fuel emissions.
In 1982 Exxon predicted that CO2 levels would reach around 560 parts per million by about 2060 and that the Earth’s average temperature would rise by about 2°C.
The Guardian – 1980s climate change warnings
Human effects on the climate were brought to the world’s attention in 1988 , when the director of NASA, Dr James Hansen was invited to testify on the subject to the US Congress.
Wikipedia – James Hansen
Despite this early knowledge, emissions have risen, misinformation has been spread and environmental laws have been weakened or ignored.
The Guardian – Climate denial lobby groups
Wikipedia – Volkswagen Emissions Scandal
The Guardian – Weakening of Obama-era environment policies
Manufacturing an EV
Driving an EV instead of a petrol car significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing convenience or mobility.
This is true both in the day-to-day driving, where you avoid burning petrol, and over the lifetime of the vehicle.
Emissions released by manufacturing an EV are currently higher than those released by manufacturing a gasoline-powered car, but the difference is small compared to the emissions it avoids over its lifetime.
Below are a few of the many resources available online that discuss this topic in detail :
The Guardian – EVs emit 50% less greenhouse gas than diesel
The Guardian – How green are electric cars
EECA - Life Cycle Assessment of Electric Vehicles: The environmental impact of electric vehicles, a New Zealand Perspective
The Carbon Brief – how electric vehicles help to tackle climate change
International Studies show that manufacturing a mid-sized EV with an 150-km range results in about 15% more emissions than manufacturing an equivalent gasoline vehicle.
ucsusa.org lifecycle EV emissions – This is one of those studies
For larger, longer-range BEVs that travel more than 400 km per charge, the manufacturing emissions can be as much as 68% higher.
However, the lifetime emissions are still, generally, lower than the equivalent petrol car.
ucsusa.org – Life Cycle EV Emissions
A NZ based life cycle study found a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions when comparing a BEV to an ICE vehicle in New Zealand.
EECA – EV to ICE vehicle comparison
This study, provided by EECA, shows that there is no significant impact on resource depletion, such as the minerals used in battery and electric motor manufacture.
It also expects that improvements in battery technology and recycling of the materials used in batteries and motors will further reduce resources used in manufacturing EVs.
EECA – EV to ICE vehicle comparison
Rare earth materials used in batteries
Most modern technology, including tech in fossil fuel vehicles and electric vehicles, contains some amount of rare earth materials.
Rare earth materials are used to make powerful magnets that are used in some types of electric motors and generators, and in everyday items like phone speakers and microphones.
the Conversation – Rare earths and technology
Rare earth elements, like neodymium, terbium, or dysprosium, are found in a permanent magnet synchronous electric motors (PMSM). Not all EVs use these motors, many EVs use induction motors which are based on copper coils and do not require permanent magnets.
Better NZ Trust – Rare Earth metals and EVs
This study, provided by EECA, explains that, while some EV motors do contain rare earth materials in small amounts, the resource depletion impact of rare earth metals is not significant.
EECA – EV to ICE vehicle comparison
Lithium is not categorised as either a rare-earth metal nor a precious metal.
Wikipedia – Rare Earth Elements
The lithium that we can currently process is estimated to last 350 years, while the crude oil we currently consume has been estimated to last for less than 50 years by OPEC in 2018.
BP – Oil in 2018
Most lithium is mined in Argentina, Chile, China and Australia but it can also be produced from sea water as a by-product of desalination. However, commercially viable methods of extraction have yet to be developed.
electrek – Lithium from Desalination
For more information on lithium (and other minerals) you can explore the USGS website at:
87% of known Lithium is found in brine (salty water) deposits. This kind of lithium is mined by pumping brine to the surface where the water evaporates and the remaining salts are extracted.
Previously lithium was seen as little more than a by-product made while producing other minerals but this is changing as its value in batteries is realised.
Better NZ Trust – EV info
If you've got this far, then you're either desperate for a reason to hate EVs, or you're arguing with someone who wants to hate them.
As with any type of mining, or industrial activity, there are some environmental costs to extracting lithium from the Earth.
Two of the main arguments are (1) Excessive water use, and (2) Impacts on locals.
Lithium salts are extracted from water in mineral springs, brine pools, and brine deposits. Like any other mining process, this requires water, which has been steadily used up by other mining activities (eg. copper) in Lithium producing countries.
Bloomberg - Chile water rights for copper and lithium miners
While this is a concern, other processes like Fracking for natural gas are just as, if not more water intensive
Science Daily -– Water use in Fracking rises
The Guardian – Fracking and water use in the USA.
Mismanagement of metal mines over the past decade has had some negative environmental impacts
The Guardian – Rare Earth Village Pollution
Humans make mistakes, and any endeavour that is not run properly will have consequences (take the "Deep Water Horizon oil spill” for example, https://www.deepseanews.com/2019/09/the-lingering-and-extreme-impacts-of-the-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill-on-the-deep-sea whose effects are still being felt today.and it is important not to confuse the long term impact of driving an EV with the general impact of mining, otherwise the only logical conclusion is to abandon all technology altogether.
The impact of lithium mining is tiny when compared to the many oil spills and ongoing environmental cost of extracting and burning fossil fuels.
However this impact will lessen over time, as research into alternative methods of energy storage is ongoing and EV battery recycling improves.
Green Cabs - Batteries vs Petrol
Issues around Labour and Mining
Cobalt often makes up a small amount of a lithium-ion battery, used in modern electronics like phones, laptops and EV batteries.
Cobalt is generally produced as a by-product during copper and nickel mining around the cobalt belt which runs through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Africa, where 60% of cobalt comes from. Labour conditions can be extremely poor and hard to track in this subsistence living conditions and there are many reports of child labour in artisanal mines.
Washington Post – Scrutiny of DRCs cobalt
EV battery manufacturers are also working to create cobalt-free batteries, and the next generation of batteries are forecast to contain below 10% cobalt in the battery cathode.
Inside EVs – blog on lithium battery manufacturers
The Cobalt Institute, whose members make up 70% of the cobalt production in the World, has put into place a zero tolerance policy for child or forced labour and this is backed by its ability to trace cobalt from rock to final product.
Continued pressure on automotive manufacturers is needed to ensure they only source sustainable cobalt from mines who are members of the CI.
Cobalt is not the only material or product with supply chain issues.
If you want to avoid products that have been made with forced or child labor, this US Department of Labor guide contains a list of products to consider avoiding.
US Department of Labor – 2018 list of goods produced by child labor or forced labor
For more information on EVs and cobalt, try these resources :
Canadian Mining Journal – Cobalt Commentary
The Better NZ Trust’s FAQ page – Do we have enough rare earth metals for EVs?
A used EV battery still has value. It can be refurbished, repurposed or recycled.
An old EV battery can be removed and used to store electricity from solar PV panels that would otherwise go to waste.
Most of the raw materials in an EV battery can be recycled.
The Better NZ Trust has created a thorough guide to end of life batteries.
The Better NZ Trust - What happens to old EV batteries
Members of the Motor Industry Association of New Zealand (MIA) have committed to a code of practice to have suitable systems in place for the use, capture, return, refurbishment, reuse, recycling or disposal of EV and hybrid batteries, with the aim that no batteries end up in landfills.
Even old EV batteries are infinitely recyclable and still too valuable to end up in a landfill. This is not necessarily the case with hybrid batteries.
Driving Electric – How recyclable are EV batteries
It is also much easier to safely dispose of an EV battery than it is to safely dispose of the large cloud of greenhouse gasses and particulates that are produced over the lifetime of a fossil fuel powered vehicle.
Long tail pipe (emissions from electricity)
The "long tail pipe" of an EV refers to the emissions that come from generating the electricity the EV uses.
In New Zealand, electricity is generated from a minimum of 80% renewables each year.
A good resource for understanding New Zealand’s energy emissions can be found on Ecotricity’s website:
Ecotricity – carbon-knowledge
Even in a fully fossil fuelled national grid, such as in parts of Australia (where coal is often the primary energy source) EVs still emit fewer emissions than a similar fossil fuel vehicle.
Bloomberg media – EVs are cleaner even where grids rely on coal
Renewable electricity generation
New Zealand currently generates 43,000 Gigawatt hours of electricity per year. Over 80% of that comes from hydro, solar, wind and geothermal sources.
Wikipedia – The NZ Energy sector
Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment – Energy Statistics
If every car in NZ was electric, they would require and additional 20%, or about 9,000 GWh of electricity generation. At present another 10,000 GWh of renewable power has been consented, but is on hold until demand increases.
Windenergy.org - Information about consented wind farms
Energy used in fossil fuel production
Energy is required to turn crude oil into petrol and diesel to power cars.
New oil fields now often need to operate in harsher environments and reach deeper wells. This requires increasing amounts of energy and machinery to extract crude oil.
From there, crude oil is transported to refineries via pipeline, boat or train.
Heat and chemical treatments are needed to distil crude oil and produce gasoline.
Gasoline then needs to be transported through the supply chain before eventually ending up in a tank underneath a petrol station.
Green Transportation – The cost of producing gasoline
What about hydrogen?
Making Hydrogen Fuel
Hydrogen is a gas that can be reacted with oxygen to create water and energy.
Hydrogen can be burned in a combustion engine, for example as rocket fuel, or it can be used in a fuel cell to create electricity.
Wikipedia.org – Hydrogen Fuel
Hydrogen cannot be found on its own and harvested like oil. Instead, it needs to be created, by breaking apart other substances, like coal, gas or water.
Most of the hydrogen made in NZ is made from natural gas using a process called steam reformation. Hydrogen produced this way is called ‘Blue’ hydrogen because it creates greenhouse gas emissions.
Hydrogen that is made from fossil fuels can only have low emissions IF the emissions are captured and stored using "Carbon Capture and Sequestration” techniques.
Carbon Capturing and Sequestration (CCS) involves storing CO2, typically in in old, used-up, underground oil and gas reservoirs, coal beds or saline formations. This is not widely used and can cost around $150 US per tonne of CO2 stored.
CCS projects around the world only capture 0.8 million tonnes of CO2 annually*, during that same amount of time, human activity creates over 35 billion tonnes of CO2 gas**.
**co2.earth/global-co2-emissions, (9.795GtC x 3.67)
There is, however, also research being done on ways to store CO2 in materials, like concrete and carbon fibre. This would be much more cost-effective than burying it.
Hydrogen can also be made from water by using electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. This process is called High Pressure Electrolysis.
Hydrogen made this ways is called ‘Green’ hydrogen if the electricity used to make it comes from renewable energy sources.
Making hydrogen this way, In New Zealand, costs about $8.90 per kg before the costs of transportation, storage and retail sale are added. While making it from natural gas currently costs $2.70
Concept – H2 report Summary, pages 6 and 8
Why make hydrogen?
Hydrogen fuel has a lot of practical uses. Making it could create more jobs and allow countries like New Zealand and Australia to sell the renewable energy they generate to other countries.
The NZ Government is exploring how ‘Green’ hydrogen could create a new industry in New Zealand.
Beehive.govt.nz – New Zealand Government Hydrogen Plan
For more information about hydrogen fuel and refuelling stations, the California Fuel Cell Partnership offers a useful two-page overview.
cafcp.org – Hydrogen stations fact sheet
Concept Consulting have published an in-depth, detailed report on the potential future of hydrogen in New Zealand :
Part 1 - Summary
Part 2 – Analysis
Part 3 – Research
The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment has released a report on the costs and impacts of transitioning to hydrogen for New Zealand:
MBIE.govt.nz – hydrogen fuel
Hydrogen Powered Vehicles
A hydrogen vehicle either burns hydrogen in a combustion engine, or uses it create electricity in an on-board fuel cell. That electricity is then used to power an electric motor.
Hydrogen cars can be refuelled faster, about the same time as refuelling a petrol car.
Modern hydrogen cars have a driving range the same as high-end EVs (about 600km) and
The exhaust they produce is water, not CO2.
An industry built around making, transporting and storing hydrogen could potentially create more jobs
Visiting hydrogen refuelling stations maintains the traditional fuel-supply business model.
Hydrogen cars are expensive.
It is cheaper to make hydrogen from natural gas or coal than from water. However, this process produces CO2, which is then released into the atmosphere.
Wikipedia – Hydrogen production
There are currently no hydrogen refuelling stations in New Zealand and no hydrogen vehicles for sale, as it costs up to $2m USD to build a hydrogen refuelling station that won’t be used until enough hydrogen vehicles are on the road.
phys.org – hydrogen fuel cell cars
Auckland Transport – NZ’s first hydrogen powered bus
It takes about 3 times as much electricity to drive a car powered by ‘Green’ hydrogen than it does to drive an EV.
This is because it takes electricity to make hydrogen from water, some of that energy is then lost at each step before it is used to turn the wheels of the car. The image below compares the efficiency of hydrogen to the efficiency of an electric car.
Hydrogen gas corrodes many of the metals used to make pipes, which means the existing gas and oil infrastructure would need to be upgraded or replaced before it could carry hydrogen.
Wikipedia – Hydrogen Embrittlement
Below are some resources that you can use to learn more about the pros and cons of both hydrogen and electric vehicles.
The Better NZ Trust provides resources that compare the energy efficiency of petrol, hydrogen and electric cars : Better NZ Trust – Hydrogen vs Battery
This lengthy, somewhat challenging to read report, puts the cost of building 36 hydrogen fuelling stations at (at least) USD $3m each. Each proposed station will supply between 200 and 1,200 kg per day, depending on its size. This is enough to fill up to 40 to 240 vehicles.
The EV news site, Inside EVs, created a summary of energy efficiencies for different vehicle types.
The energy efficiency % describes how much of the energy harvested (digging up oil, making hydrogen or generating electricity) actually gets turned into movement.
The results are:
Battery EVs: 73% efficient,
Hydrogen Fuel Cells: 22% efficient,
Fossil Fuel Cars: 13%
insideevs.com – comparing vehicle efficiencies
A resource with numbers and analysis of the cost of operating hydrogen vs battery vs petrol vehicles has been created by Clean Technica:
Clean Technica – Hydrogen cars
Hiringa is a New Zealand based company that makes hydrogen. You can find out more about them on their website : https://www.hiringa.co.nz
The Real Engineering Youtube channel has created an informative video about hydrogen powered vehicles.
16. News, media & social media
An EV and environment-focused podcast founded by Dee West, one of New Zealand’s first EV Champions, and co-founder of ChargeNet
NZ EV Podcast
A podcast run by EV converter and enthusiast Theo Gibson.
A NZ made magazine focused on developments in the EV industry.
EV Facebook groups
Local EV owners have set up facebook groups to help support and organise the EV community and to provide a place for future EV owners to ask questions and join the discussions.
- NZ EV Owners
- Auckland EV Owners
- Bay of Plenty EV Owners
- BOI EV Owners
- BMW i3 NZ
- Central Otago Lakes EV Owners
- Christchurch EV Owners
- Dunedin EV Owners
- Hawkes Bay EV Owners
- Manawatu EV Owners
- Mid Canterbury EV Owners
- Naki EV Owners
- Nelson Tasman EV Owners
- Northland EV Owners
- NZ Cybertruck
- NZ Electric Vehicle Buy and Sell
- NZ Hyundai EV Owners
- NZ Iced and EV Blocked
- NZ Ioniq
- NZ i-Miev Owners Group
- NZ Nissan LEAF Owners
- NZ Renault Zoe Owners
- South Canterbury EV Owners
- Tesla Owners Club NZ Official
- Tesla Model 3 NZ Owners
- Tesla Talk NZ
- Waiheke EV Owners
- Waikato EV Owners
- Wellington EV Owners on Facebook
17. Useful Links
Better NZ Trust
An interactive chart that evaluates car running costs against climate change targets.
Down to Earth Climate Change guide
Down to Earth Climate Science is a collaboration between the University of California and NASA that uses a huge array of data to communicate and instruct about variety climate change issues
Drive Electric association
EECA’s electric vehicle buying guide
Ecotricity – Guide to EVs
EV talk magazine
Flip The Fleet
NZ Electric Vehicle Guide
NZ Government EV information
Sam’s guide to the Nissan Leaf (pre 2018 models)
RightCar.govt – Emissions Ratings
18. Dedicated EV Dealers
EECA’s dealers guide to selling EVs
Dealers offering comprehensive EV sales
Auckland City Electric Vehicles (Takapuna)
Coventry Cars (Wellington)
Drive EV (Taupo)
EV City (Christchurch)
GVI Electric (Penrose)
Hamilton EV (Hamilton)
Harwood Cars (Pt Chevalier)
PlugN Drive (Bombay)
Volt Vehicles (Birkenhead)
If we you are (or know of) a dedicated EV Dealer that is not on this list, let us know.