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6 Things You Need To Know About Electric Vehicles

Petrol prices got you peeved?

An electric vehicle might be the answer.

Silent, futuristic and wonderfully economical, electric vehicles have exploded in popularity in recent months. While they’re still getting some from flak from critics - some of it justified, some of it less so - electric vehicles have proven they have so much more to offer than the mere novelty factor.

Are you thinking about investing in an electric vehicle? Here at Grey Power Electricity, all our company vehicles are electric, so we know firsthand what it’s like to make the switch from fossil fuel to electric cars. We’ve rounded up a few key facts to help you make a more informed decision when the time comes to purchase your next vehicle.

1. Why are electric vehicles becoming more popular?

Electric vehicles are quickly revolutionising transport as we know it. In November 2018, there were 11,255 registered vehicles in New Zealand, according to figures from the Ministry of Transport. That’s almost double the number of electric vehicles on the roads just a year earlier, and an increase of more than 50x from November 2013.

What’s responsible for the surge in popularity?

Electric vehicles are getting cheaper

In years gone by, the biggest barrier to entry for electric vehicles was the cost. However, the price of electric vehicles has dropped dramatically in recent years, thanks largely to the falling cost of lithium-ion batteries. In fact, some experts predict that electric vehicles will be cheaper than their petroleum counterparts by 2025. Today, you can purchase a second-hand entry-level electric vehicle for around $15,000.

Petrol prices are rising

The national average price of petrol rose more than 50 percent between November 2008 and November 2018, increasing from $1.45 to $2.81, according to government figures. With petrol prices continuing to rise across the country, it’s little wonder that drivers are exploring more cost-effective options.

Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious

We all want to do our part for the planet. Investing in an electric car is an effective way for consumers to reduce their environmental impact without affecting their quality of life. Electric cars produce 80 percent less CO2 emissions than petroleum vehicles, according to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

2. How far can electric vehicles drive?

Understandably, one of the biggest concerns about electric vehicles is how far they can drive - nobody wants to be left stranded because their battery ran out of juice!

The exact driving range can vary quite significantly depending on the model of the vehicle. For example, the popular Nissan Leaf has a range of over 170 kilometres with the 30 kWh battery. Meanwhile, the granddaddy of electric vehicles, the Tesla Model S, boasts a range of more than 500 kilometres when specced with the 100 kWh battery.

Is it enough? While electric vehicles may not have the range for rural drivers or those with particularly long commutes, they can certainly go the distance for most Kiwis.

3. How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

The length of time it takes to charge an electric vehicle depends on the make and model, battery size and a few other factors. Below are some general guidelines for charge times:

  1. Standard wall socket: The regular sockets you have in your home and garage.
    • Time to charge 100 km of driving range: 10 hours.
  2. Outdoor socket: The weatherproof outlets usually found outside.
    • Time to charge 100 km of driving range: 6 hours.
  3. Dedicated charger: A wall-mounted charging unit you can have installed in your home.
    • Time to charge 100 km of driving range: 4 hours with a single-phase charger.
  4. Fast chargers: Public electric vehicle charging stations. They typically cost about $10 per 100 km.
    • Time to charge 100 km of driving range: 40 minutes.

4. How many charging stations there are in NZ?

There are more than 400 charging stations located throughout New Zealand. Most of these charging stations can be found on PlugShare, a nifty little tool that is available on Android, iOS and in your browser.

Public fast charging stations

Public fast charging stations can be found across the country. They typically cost about $10 per 100 km and can recharge your battery to 80 percent in 20 minutes. Fast charge stations come equipped with tethered cables, so you don’t have to worry about lugging around your own cables. Most electric vehicles are compatible with fast charging, but many hybrid electric vehicles are not.

Public slow charging stations

Public slow charging stations are usually free and take several hours to charge your battery to full. They can be found in shopping malls, hotels, parking buildings and other public areas where you might park your car for a few hours. You’ll need to bring a compatible cable to use public slow charging stations.

5. How much do they cost to charge?

Charging your car overnight is the most convenient and cost-effective way of charging an electric vehicle. Assuming you’re with a low cost electricity provider, it costs about 30 cents of electricity to charge an electric car the equivalent of a litre.

The average Kiwi driver travels about 12,500 kilometres per year, which costs around $2,500 in petrol. If you were to travel the same distance in an electric vehicle, it would only cost you about $500. Imagine what your household could do with an extra $2,000 a year!

You can learn more about the running costs of electric vehicles and petroleum vehicles using this handy comparison tool from the EECA.

6. Are electric vehicles reliable?

Electric vehicles are some of the most dependable vehicles available on the market. This is mostly due to the fact that electric engines have 90 percent fewer moving parts than a conventional internal combustion engine, meaning there’s less risk of something going wrong.

While you’ll still need to get a WoF inspection and replace components such as the tyres, brakes and wiper blades, there’s pretty much no need for engine maintenance. It’s also worth noting that electric vehicles don’t need to be taken to special workshops for repairs and maintenance - it can all be done by your usual mechanic (unless you have a Tesla, which need to be serviced at designated service centres).

Electric vehicles: the future is here

Electric vehicles are shaping the future of New Zealand transport. As the price of electric cars continues to drop and more charging stations are rolled out across the country, it’s safe to assume that we’ll see more and more electric vehicles on the roads over the coming years.

Looking for a low cost electricity provider to keep your electric car charged up and ready for action? With competitive prices and a friendly, local support team, Grey Power Electricity is your number one choice when it comes to power. Contact us or call us today on 0800 473 976 to learn more.

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