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October 2019

Considering buying an electric or plug-in hybrid car for the family, and not sure where to start? You’re not alone. Thousands of Kiwis have gone through the journey you’re now on, and they’ve all had to make the choice between electric and hybrid. So, which is better as a family car? In this blog post, we’re going to look at this question in-depth and give you some metrics to go on when taking your pick of the lot.

Electric vs. Plug-in Hybrid: What’s the Difference? 

First, let’s make the distinction between a pure-electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

Hybrid vehicles rely on both electric and petrol drivetrains and come with the option to drive fully electric until your power runs out. Once that happens, your petrol engine takes over and operates like a normal vehicle. Unlike standard hybrids, plug-in hybrids recharge their electricity through a plug-in port installed in the home. Many people choose this option to combat “range anxiety” – the concern that a purely electric range won’t get them far enough – but it’s worth mentioning that modern technology has created numerous electric cars that can truly go the distance.

Pure electric vehicles only have an electric motor and recharge by plugging into the wall like a PHEV. Much like a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE), the range of an electric vehicle depends on the capacity of its battery. Modern electric vehicles now reach ranges of up to over 500km – like the Tesla Model S – but the average is somewhere around 200km on a single charge. That’s a long way, which is why electric vehicles are such a fantastic, family-friendly choice!

Why Choose a Pure Electric Vehicle as Your Family Car?  

It’s time to look at some of the reasons that an electric vehicle (or even a hybrid) can function even better than an ICE vehicle as your family car. That’s right, better.

No Emissions 

First and foremost, pure electric vehicles are zero direct emission and emit no pollution while on the road. For the entire lifetime of your EV, you won’t be contributing to the effects of driving pollution, and that’s a fantastic thought considering we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Hybrid vehicles do reduce their emissions somewhat, but going that one step further and eliminating exhaust altogether is a great way to do something for the environment your children will inherit.

Safe and Reliable 

Electric cars are actually much more reliable than petrol and hybrid cars, and this is an aspect of electric driving that many ICE owners don’t think about. Combustion engines function by utilising the energy of controlled explosions, causing a lot of wear and tear over time. Furthermore, ICE cars have a lot of moving parts that need to be maintained throughout their lifetime.

On the other hand, pure electric cars are powered by electromagnetic fields that turn the motor, thereby reducing the amount of wear and tear (and any complications from a multitude of moving parts). Because of that, pure EVs last a good deal longer than an ICE car, which is great in a family vehicle! Hybrid vehicles also have reduced maintenance because of the petrol engine’s cohabitation with an electric system, so if you’re looking for a happy middle-ground between initial cost and cheaper maintenance, that’s the avenue to take.

On the topic of safety, EVs are required to meet frontal impact standards and other road worthiness requirements just like their ICE counterparts. In the event of an accident or collision, an EV’s low centre of gravity makes it less likely to roll over, as well as lowers the risk of major fires and explosions. Additionally, the advanced safety mechanisms in new pure electric and PHEV vehicles help to create some of the safest family driving experiences on the planet. We call that a worthwhile investment.



As a result of their reliability, pure electric cars are far cheaper to maintain than regular ones, but there’s something even better! As any electric car dealer will tell you, the “fuel” efficiency of a purely electric car means that your wallet takes the smallest of hits possible. In fact, Drive Electric estimates that the cost of recharging an EV for a year would only come to a fifth of the cost of refuelling an ICE car. Hybrid cars demonstrate a price dip as well - although not as noticeably – simply because some of the drive is managed by an electric engine. If you manage your gas expenditure carefully, you can enjoy some fuel reduction and lower fuel cost.

The bottom-line is that there’s great potential to save a lot of money on fuel for every single year you drive electric. We know that families need to prioritise their finances, and with this financial burden off your back you can attribute the money to the more important stuff.

Remember that there’s a variety of EVs and PHEVs available across New Zealand, and they will each have their own specifications. Check those over before making a purchase and make sure to talk with the dealer in detail about how well the car will fit into your family’s lifestyle.

Make the perfect choice for your family. 


Once you step onto the GVI Electric lot, you’ll never look back. We have a huge range of cars, from small electric cars all the way to large hybrids, so there’s something for everyone with us. Come on into one of the GVI dealerships today, or get in touch with our friendly team now!

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