Electric vehicle benefits and considerations
There are several things to consider when choosing an electric vehicle.
Why buy an EV?
Top reasons New Zealander buy EVs
EVs are cheap to run - Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are significantly cheaper to run than petrol/diesel cars. Because their motors have so few moving parts, maintenance costs are also low.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have a petrol/diesel engine so the maintenance costs are likely to be about the same as conventional vehicles but running costs are lower when driven in EV mode.
EVs are environmentally friendly - EVs emit 80% less CO2 than an equivalent petrol vehicle when being driven in New Zealand because electricity generated here is typically at least 80% renewable (the main sources being hydro, geothermal and wind).
Battery EVs emit 60% fewer climate change emissions over their full life cycle than petrol vehicles, even when you take into account raw material extraction, battery manufacture, vehicle manufacture and shipping.
Great torque - EVs can accelerate quickly and smoothly from a standing start. With no gears to work through, an EV is able to apply full power as soon as you touch the accelerator.
They’re quiet - the car stereo sounds great and conversations with passengers are much easier.
They handle well - the weight of the battery pack gives EVs a lower centre of gravity, so they usually enjoy superior handling and are less likely to roll.
No more petrol stations - you can charge your EV anywhere there’s a power point and wake to a ‘full tank’ every morning.
Things to keep in mind
- EVs can be more expensive to purchase than their petrol/diesel equivalents, especially brand new. But as they cost far less to run, they can be very cost-effective over time.
- Charging can take 20 minutes or 8-10 hours depending on the battery and the charger you use.
- For long distance journeys you may need to plan where to stop and recharge a battery EV.
- Many PHEVs can’t be fast charged.
- Using the petrol/diesel engine in a PHEV generates emissions.
More about environmental impacts
A life cycle assessment of the environmental impact of EVs, commissioned by EECA in 2015, confirmed EVs were better for the New Zealand environment than petrol/diesel vehicles. This was true for EVs when driven in New Zealand, and across the lifecycle of the vehicle.