Transport accounts for 21% of our total annual greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand – it is also the fastest growing source of emissions.

The Government is proposing from 2030 that it should be a requirement for all new light vehicles imported into NZ to be zero emissions. In addition, the Government has suggested a Clean Car Rule and a Clear Car Discount transport.govt.nz/clean-cars/. The Rule would require car importers to progressively sell cars with lower CO2 emissions and offer buyers substantial discounts off used electric imports.

Over 18,000 New Zealanders so far have made the switch to electric vehicles, quitting decades of addiction to fossil fuels. Many owners say they are ‘ec-static’ with their choice due to low running costs, no fumes, no oil, no spark plugs, no petrol, and instant acceleration.

EV’s are estimated to be 7 times cheaper to drive than petrol, around 30 cents a litre (or free at many fast charge stations). In addition to these benefits, EV owners do not pay road user charges.

In the North Island there are 144 rapid charge stations, many located outside supermarkets, making shopping an ideal activity during which an EV can be charged at no cost. More charging stations are popping up around the country, helping EV owners contend with range anxiety. Longer trips can be planned using the plugshare app, which identifies where charge stations are along the route.

People have rightly queried how green EVs and hybrids are given the environmental impact associated with manufacturing the batteries. Research suggests that electric cars make up for their higher manufacturing emissions within 18 months of driving, and shorter range models within six months. EV’s continue to outperform gasoline cars until the end of their lives. During its lifetime, a petrol car produces 57 tons CO2e (global warming emissions) vs 28 tons from an EV (source: UCS).

Additional research in New Zealand highlighted EVs perform around 62% better than fossil cars in carbon footprint terms. https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/2833-the-environmental-footprint-of-electric-versus-fossil-cars

Thinking of getting an EV?

Do lots of research. There is a tonne of information online about EVs and it pays to educate yourself about different models and battery life/state of health (SoH) before you start shopping.

Why go electric?

  • New Zealand imports over $1 billion worth of petrol and $3 billion of crude oil each year. As 80% of NZ’s energy is renewable (hydro, wind, geothermal), powering a vehicle with electricity is cheaper and cleaner.
  • It is equivalent in cost to only 30 cents a litre in petrol
  • Zero emissions (whilst running)
  • Great acceleration (high torque) with no gear changes
  • Regenerates the battery when you take your foot off the accelerator and under braking
  • No engine oil, no spark plugs, no clutch, no gears or radiator- very few parts.
  • Fast-charge stations power the car to almost full in 30 minutes
  • Plugging in overnight at home can take around 7 hours. The car can be programmed to go on when electricity is cheapest (10pm-7am)
  • You can also plug into a campervan power supply and charge in about 5 hours

Things to watch for

  • Plan your trips and know where the charge stations are (see Plugshare)
  • Longer trips take extra time, as you have to stop and charge
  • If you run out of electricity, you stop and usually need to be towed on a truck
  • Check the battery health, e.g. if you purchase a Nissan Leaf, ask the dealers to run Leaf Spy, (over 85% battery is good and 12 bars is optimum)
  • Using fans, heater, wipers etc drains the battery faster
  • Japanese imports need the dash converting to English (~$100)

More information

https://samholford.github.io/leafguide/

https://www.aa.co.nz/cars/motoring-blog/10-things-to-know-about-evs/

https://www.leadingthecharge.org.nz/nz_electric_car_guide#:~:text=NZ%20policies%20and%20growth&text=Electric%20vehicle%20numbers%20are%20rising,our%203.8%20million%20light%20vehicles.