Electric vehicle Q&A

Answers to common questions about EVs.

Does New Zealand have enough electricity to charge a national fleet of EVs?

If all light vehicles in New Zealand were electric (which is a long way off), this would increase our current total electricity demand by around 20%, EECA estimates. This could be accommodated within New Zealand’s current electricity generation output, even allowing for the uncertainties of renewable generation, provided the majority of EVs are charged during off-peak periods. Many electricity network companies are working with councils and other third parties to build more charging infrastructure to meet the demand from electric cars.

Can I test drive an EV?

Free public rides and drives are offered at events around the country, or you can visit an EV dealer.

Calendar of EV events - Leading the Charge website

Find a dealer - EVTalk website

Can EVs cope with hills?

Yes - EVs are great hill climbers. The high torque and lack of gears mean they usually climb better and more smoothly than a petrol or diesel vehicle, and regenerative braking means they recharge going downhill.

Are EVs affected by climate?

New Zealand’s temperate climate is well suited to EVs. Battery life can be reduced by extreme temperatures – below freezing and above 30 degrees Celsius. In these conditions, look for advice in the car manual.

What tyres should I fit?

Fuel efficient tyres will maximise efficiency and range.

Can an EV be towed?

Check the vehicle manual. Many EVs should only be transported on the back of a truck.

Can an EV tow a trailer?

Many manufacturers state their EVs should not be used for towing. Check the vehicle manual or talk to a dealer.

What incentives are there to buy an EV?

Light battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are exempt from road user charges (RUC) until the end of 2021, saving EV owners $600 a year on average.
Heavy electric vehicles are exempt from RUC until they make up 2 per cent of the heavy vehicle fleet. This means significant savings, the exact amount depending on the type of vehicle and the distance it travels a year.

What’s the resale value of an EV?

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.

How safe are EVs?

EVs sold in New Zealand must meet the same minimum vehicle safety standards as petrol and diesel vehicles. The vehicle safety rating shows how safe he vehicle is – see www.rightcar.govt.nz. The maximum 5-star ANCAP rating is recommended. 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. In addition, the weight of the battery packs give EVs a lower centre of gravity, so they are less likely to roll.

Find vehicle safety ratings - Rightcar website

What servicing does an EV need?

The AA recommends EVs are serviced as often as petrol/diesel vehicles - every 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first), or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) need the same regular servicing as a petrol/diesel car. Battery EVs don’t have a petrol/diesel engine but items such as brakes, tyres, lights and wipers still need taking care of. The Motor Trade Association (MTA) and AA can help you find technicians to service the EV component of a PHEV or BEV, or you can seek advice from a local EV owner’s group.

Who does battery replacements?

A servicing industry is starting to emerge and will grow as the New Zealand EV market matures and batteries begin to age. This will support owners with battery replacement, refurbishment and repair. Battery replacement should only be carried out by a qualified service provider, such as an approved service agent for the vehicle.

What if there’s a software glitch?

Electronics or software problems can usually be fixed with a software update, like smartphones.

What if the information systems are in another language?

The dash cluster/instrument panel of imported vehicles can be converted into English by EV specialists.

Can pedestrians hear 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.

What forums are there for EV owners?

There are several online options, including:

Better NZ Trust – low-carbon champions

Flip the Fleet – collects and shares information about EV ownership in New Zealand

NZ EV Owners Facebook group