Road transport is changing at the fastest rate since the car took over from the horse and cart.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are at the forefront of change around the world and in New Zealand. More than a quarter of New Zealanders say they would now consider buying a battery EV. The below guide answers the questions people commonly ask about this exciting technology. It is produced by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) as part of the Government’s information campaign to accelerate the uptake of EVs in New Zealand.
What are the factors that lead me to say this with such confidence?
1) China says so!
2) Battery costs are falling
3) Battery capacity is increasing
4) Electric car batteries have a very long life
5) Electric vehicles are more reliable
6) Cheaper to fuel
7) Resale value of ICE vehicles
When electric vehicles start to become more common, drivers of internal combustion engine vehicles will be thought of the way smokers are regarded today. And, as fewer petrol (gas) stations will be needed, so they will either need to close down, or convert to electric fuelling stations. As they are shuttered, people with internal combustion engine vehicles will have to travel further and further to find a place to fill up. This inevitable vicious circle means it really is game over for the internal combustion engine.
If you’re thinking about buying an electric vehicle (EV), you’re not alone.
Road transport is changing at the fastest rate since the car took over from the horse and cart. Electric vehicles (EVs) are at the forefront of change around the world and in New Zealand. More than a quarter of New Zealanders say they would now consider buying a battery EV. The below guide answers the questions people commonly ask about this exciting technology. It is produced by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) as part of the Government’s information campaign to accelerate the uptake of EVs in New Zealand.
People may be kinder to their family and wider community after buying an electric vehicle (EV).
That’s an unexpected result from the latest Flip the Fleet survey which asked EV owners how their transport habits have changed.
Nearly two thirds (62%) of the 474 EV owners who responded reported that their transport habits either hadn’t changed, or had only changed a little, since buying an EV.
“That shows just how easily EVs fit into most families’ lives,” Christchurch EV owner Megan Reynolds says. “For the majority of families EVs have the range they need for everyday use.
“But more than just doing their job, EVs also bring family and friends closer together as the cheap running costs and enjoyable driving experience mean that I’m more likely to volunteer to do the pick-up and drop-off of other people’s kids,” Reynolds says. “EV ownership has made me more likely to help people.”
A pensioner reported that the one-hour trip to Wellington to visit a new granddaughter used to cost at least $20 in an internal combustion engine (ICE) car.
“Now I visit when I want.”
Children of EV owners are also benefitting. “I’m more likely to take my son directly to football, and without grumbling about his inability to arrange a lift or carpooling,” one busy parent says.
Many EV households are effectively running a combination family fleet programme.
They keep an old petrol or diesel car as a second car, but shift as much of their family’s driving to their EV so they can save money, save the planet and enjoy the better car.
“The old petrol or diesel car is often a backstop,” Reynolds says. “It gets a spin on occasional long trips or to tow the trailer, but often ends up collecting cobwebs while the family prefers to use the EV for everyday transport.”
A car sharing arrangement is used by some owners like Reynolds who lends her car to friends when she’s taking the plane out of town.
A friend using her EV saves the friend petrol costs and mitigates some of Reynold’s carbon guilt from the CO2 produced by flying, she says.
Many owners appreciate the time saved by using the EV access lanes on the Auckland motorway. When in peak traffic they tend to be more chill because the car is not using any fuel when stuck in the queue.
“The survey results showed that EVs are not just changing our mobility, they are also bringing us closer together,” Reynolds says.
“A ‘How To’ Guide for Businesses Considering Transitioning to Electric Vehicles”
Slowly but surely, New Zealand businesses are turning their minds to electrifying their fleets. Some are already on their way: in 2016, 30 of our biggest companies pledged to transform 30 per cent of their vehicles to EVs by 2019.
It hasn’t necessarily all been straightforward, however. This paper, ‘Building an Electric Fleet’, distills the experiences of a number of trailblazing New Zealand corporates as they approach that 30 per cent target, and establishes what you need to know to get it right first time. Utimately, there are six aspects of the transition formula you need to cover off, six questions to answer:
- How are your staff using company vehicles?
- What’s the profile of your fleet?
- What do you need to know to select the right EV for your needs?
- How does the tool of trade vs pool vehicle division affect your decisions?
- What charging infrastructure do you need, and what are the potential complications?
- How do the numbers stack up?
You’ll need to drill deep into all of those aspects, gather indepth tracking data and thoroughly investigate issues such as total cost of ownership. But, as one procurement manager interviewed for this paper says, once you’ve done it, “the case to go electric becomes compelling”.
The AA’s recent ‘running costs’ report shows why it’s beneficial to be an EV owner in New Zealand.
Out of the four types of cars surveyed, diesel, petrol, hybrid and electric, petrol-hybrid cars had the lowest annual running cost, at 74 cents per kilometre, a 1.5 per cent increase on the year before.
Electric vehicles (EVs) were the only vehicle to have a drop in operating costs compared to the year before, with operational costs coming to 76 cents per kilometre, a 6.7 per cent decrease compared to 2017.
Running costs for petrol and diesel vehicles were 79 cents and 80 cents respectively. However, these numbers were recorded before the recent jump in petrol prices and upcoming fuel taxes, incorporating this would add an extra three cents per kilometre to these cars.
At the moment EV owners have to pay to charge their vehicles at ChargeNet stations and only have to pay GST and ACC taxes when they get their registration.
Adam Jordan, a passionate EV owner, believes more New Zealanders will be interested in purchasing EVs in light of the upcoming fuel taxes and increased petrol prices.
“I’ve owned my EV for 13 months now and have saved $1,500 just in fuel costs. Maintenance costs have meant even more savings as well.”
Jordan made the switch over a year ago but had been wanting to jump on the electric bandwagon for around five years.
“I wanted to go electric for several reasons. I wanted the instant torque and better performance offered by electric motors. I also wanted the smooth ride, far cheaper running costs and the reliability,” said Jordan.
“I would advise anyone to look into switching to an EV, run the numbers and if it works for you. Do it, you won’t regret it.”
If you had to pick one colour that best represents the Waikato, you’d probably opt for green – as in dairy pasture and forestry.
But now people there are being asked to “Think Blue Waikato”.
So what’s this all about? Think Blue Waikato is a group of businesses, local bodies and community groups who have committed to a “greener” and more sustainable Waikato by taking part in a minimum one-year electric vehicle trial.
Ebbett Volkswagen is behind the idea, using VW’s global “Think Blue” concept which encourages people to act in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way, particularly when it comes to their vehicles and everyday life. Blue is also the colour for electricity – as used, coincidentally, by Waikato’s WEL Networks for its growing number of EV chargers around the region.
So when the Hamilton-based Ebbett Group team got six VW e-Golf electric cars, they decided that rather than just sell them all they’d give businesses the option of leasing them under their Think Blue Waikato partnership. That way the partners could showcase the benefits of using an EV to staff and others, especially from a sustainability viewpoint.
Ebbett Volkswagen dealer principal Richard van den Engel says it’s good for businesses to be seen as green (or blue in this case) and early movers. He says many people want to try electric but are
unsure about where to start. “This a better way,” van den Engel says. Each business agrees to lease an e-Golf for at least a year and then tells their story on the website www.thinkbluewaikato.co.nz
– “warts and all”. “The interest has been incredible, particularly as people have different reasons for getting around and they realise its environmentally friendly, sustainable and the right thing to do.”
Richard van den Engel, front, and Gareth Nuzum from IT Partners.
After getting agreement from IT Partners, the first partner business to join Think Blue Waikato, van den Engel says word quickly got around IT Partner’s workplace. “For the next 24 hours, everybody in the building couldn’t talk about anything else, saying they’re proud to work for an organisation that takes sustainability seriously.” He says those involved then go on to tell their mates it’s a good place in which to work. Some don’t quite understand but get involved and then see the spinoffs, van den Engel says. Think Blue Waikato encourages those apprehensive about going into electric vehicles to “dip their toes in the water and commit to a more sustainable workplace”, he says. “It’s a safe environment to test what’s new.” Questions such as costs around charging, range anxiety, what happens if the car runs out of electricity, whether a charging station should be installed at work, and if someone takes the car home then who pays for the power – can all be answered.
“Most of the partners use their e-Golf as a pool car and people charge them at home,” van den Engel says. He’s delighted with the way the Think Blue Waikato project is going.
Most of the partners say they joined with the aim of being more sustainable and to reduce emissions and their environmental impact. They see benefits including reduced costs (fuel, maintenance)
and all encourage others to get on board with EVs. Ebbett Volkswagen marketing manager Amy van Garderen tried the e-Golf between work and home on most occasions. She found it very quiet, responsive in acceleration and smooth to drive. She wasn’t concerned about range (the e-Golf has about a 220km real-world range) and she was impressed with its regenerative braking recapturing some of the power. The e-Golf’s lease cost is only marginally more than the equivalent petrol-powered Golf, but van den Engel says it’s the green aspect of the Think Blue Waikato scheme that counts.
What is Plugshare?
Plugshare is an international crowd-sourced map app, downloadable to most smartphones which can also be viewed at www.plugshare.com. The Plugshare map shows the location of EV chargers. Up until recently, Plugshare was the only EV map app available in New Zealand.
All ChargeNet stations are listed on Plugshare. Anyone who is prepared to allow the public to charge their EVs at their premises may also list on Plugshare, making it a comprehensive map of EV chargers currently available in New Zealand.
The search function allows you to filter results by charger and connector type, price and location. For example, if you are only interested in finding nearby public DC Rapid chargers, you can filter out the AC trickle-charge and AC medium-speed chargers. However, Plugshare does not have the ability to distinguish between CCS-Type 1 and CCS-Type 2 chargers.
It is well worth creating an account on Plugshare. This will allow you to access more Plugshare features.
To get the most out of Plugshare, users can log-in each time they connect to one of our stations. This enables other users to know ahead that the station is busy and potentially enables them to phone you if your charging session has finished. You can also note any problems you encountered at the station and upload your own photos.
Electric Vehicle Charging Network
Electric Vehicles are the future of transport in New Zealand. Our power grid is world class, with 80 – 95% renewable generation. The electric motor in an EV is over four times more efficient than an internal combustion engine, so the “fuel” to run an EV is not only clean and cheap but 100% New Zealand made! The majority of EV charging happens overnight in people’s garages, but the most popular EVs still have a limited range of 120 km or so. Most of the time that’s fine, but some days it just isn’t enough, and a six hour recharge time simply isn’t practical when you have places to be.
ChargeNet NZ have the Solution
ChargeNet NZ are building a nation-wide network of Rapid DC Chargers that let any EV owner quickly recharge their vehicle, typically in 10 – 30 minutes.
Free from the constraints imposed by the hazardous nature of traditional fossil-based transport fuels, EV charging stations can be placed in much more convenient locations, like shopping malls and supermarkets where you would typically park for at least 20 – 30 minutes anyway.
How does Fast Charging work?
Electric Vehicles have a charger built in that converts the AC power from the grid into DC power for the car’s battery. Due to size and weight constraints this onboard charger is limited in power and so typically takes six hours to fully charge a car.
A Rapid DC Charger is a much larger version of the onboard charger, and converts high power 3-phase AC into powerful DC current. Bypassing the onboard charger dramatically reduces the charge time, usually to less than 30 minutes.