Owning an electric vehicle in New Zealand is becoming more and more convenient as the government catches on, with an electric highway of chargers running the length of the country, and more appearing in cities every day.
For those considering driving electric, the whole charging process can feel a bit mystifying at first. How to do it, where to do it, and how long it takes—these are all questions that need answers before you take an EV home, so we’re going to answer them all right here. Keep on reading to learn more about how owning an EV in New Zealand is a lot easier than people make it out to be.
How Charging Works in New Zealand
Most EV owners have a charger at home that they use to recharge their vehicle nightly, which is just as easy as plugging your phone in to charge on the bedside table while you sleep. These chargers are typically AC (alternating current), fetching you an average of 10km per hour of charging. An entire night will bring the range up to 80km if you’re at 0, which is more than enough to get you through the average, day-to-day New Zealand commute.
The question is: how do you handle a longer trip? You could practically get Kiwi-status revoked if you’re not taking at least one road trip a year, so for EV owners, this requires an extra phase of planning. It’s a lot easier these days to trust your machine for the long haul than it was in years past, as there now exists an ever-expanding public charging network supported by companies like Vector, Tesla and ChargeNet.
Public Chargers for EVs
Public chargers function differently to the ones installed in the home. They use DC (direct current) to give your car a lot of juice as quickly as possible. They’re typically 12 times faster than charging at home, meaning you can head into a nearby mall and walk around for about an hour before coming back to a car at 80% charge. The charging is billed in terms of time or amps used, and—no surprises here—comes out much cheaper than driving petrol on an annual basis.
The Kiwi Electric Highway
If you’re planning on heading out on the open road, map your charging stops in advance. The “electric highway” is still under construction, so chargers can be slightly harder to find in certain areas of New Zealand than others. Luckily, there are resources you can use to find available chargers and plan your route accordingly. The ChargeNet map, for example, provides the type, status and location of hundreds of chargers across the country.
Here are the crucial steps to take before embarking on your journey, with the help of these resources:
- Know the kind of socket your car has. Models vary in the types of chargers they are compatible with, so you need to know which currents, sockets and chargers your car can handle. This should be very easy to find in your owner’s manual.
- Use a map and plan your route. Using a map like the one provided above, plan your stops and times to make sure that you can get from A to B without running on “fumes”. If you’re able to, intersect through urban areas as much as possible, since they house the most chargers. You can also use Mercury’s Facebook page to find people willing to lend out their home chargers.
- Know your range. Know how long your car can go without a recharge, and be proactive rather than reactive. That is to say, stop and recharge before you run out, so that you’ve always got enough juice to keep going.
Essentially, the principles are the same as planning an ICE-driven road trip, but with electricity. And if you’re in an urban area, you’ve got no problems. Simply hit up the nearest EV-enabled parking lot and charge away. We’ll see you there!
GVI Electrc, New Zealand’s one-stop shop for all things EV.
We’ve been selling eco-friendly cars for years, and we know that buying one is a big decision! So, if you need more information or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the team at GVI Electric. We’re passionate about the charge towards an emissions-free New Zealand, and we’re always happy to answer any questions you might have. Come and have a chat today!