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July 2019

Owners of eco-friendly cars are notoriously meticulous about their energy consumption and for many, there is no greater challenge than conquering a long road trip in a purely electric vehicle. It may seem like a risk to take your EV onto the open road, but the truth is that road-tripping with an EV is not as different or difficult as one might think.

The main component of most EV driver’s hesitation is a good helping of range anxiety. Fortunately, we’re here to tell you that your trip isn’t just entirely doable. More than that, you’ll be able to enjoy it – as long as you plan accordingly! GVI Electric is proud to be one of New Zealand’s most renowned companies for electric vehicle supply, and we believe in leading the charge for an electric New Zealand that caters to the Kiwi lifestyle.

Let’s get on to it! Here are our best tips for taking your EV on a road trip.

Plan Your Route Beforehand 

This one seems like a given for any road trip (don’t get us wrong, it is!) but planning your trip becomes doubly important if you are driving an electric car. One of the great things about New Zealand in particular is that there are a lot of resources for EV drivers looking to do a big drive, so there’s no shortage of information that you can use.

As is good practice with any road trip, EV-powered or not, you should lay out a map of where you plan to stop and refuel. If you’re driving one of the more established routes (like Auckland to Keri Keri), then Mercury Energy already has a route drawn out for you. Otherwise, you can use the Electric Highway to find all of the relevant information about charging stations along the way. This step is essential to a smooth trip, so take the time well before you leave to write it out, and make sure you know your plan well.

Know Your Car’s Specifications 

Whether you’re driving a Tesla Model S or one of the many small electric cars populating the EV market, it’s very important that your vehicle’s specs so that you can create an appropriate route for yourself and handle an emergency situation should it crop up.

Make sure you know the following things off by heart before you depart:

  • How long does a full charge take?
  • How long does an 80% fast-charge take?
  • What are the urban and non-urban ranges of your car?
  • What kind of charging socket does your car use?


Knowing these aspects of your car takes all of the guesswork out of trip planning, and also means that you can plan for an emergency accordingly.

Always Have a Backup Plan

Speaking of planning accordingly, emergencies are always infinitely more surmountable when you have a good backup plan in place.

So, if you have a charging station that you’re hoping to reach that is on the outside edge of your car’s range, have a station set up sooner in case that doesn’t work out. If there’s no infrastructure to support charging sooner, reach out to any friends you have that can provide a place for you to charge at their home.

Alternatively, look on the Mercury NZ Facebook Page for other EV owners around the country that would be willing to let you stop off and charge using their facilities. It’s true that the infrastructure in New Zealand hasn’t reached the ideal stage for EV-owners looking to road-trip, but the community of drivers are a wonderful group of people that understand the struggle. Reach out to people before you leave to plan some backup stops, and always have data or signal in case of an emergency situation.

Furthermore, as is always good practice, make sure you have a good supply of food and water in your car with you in case there’s a wait for help.

Full Charge Before You Leave

The night (or day) before you leave, make sure that you plug your car in for as long as it takes to get to a full charge. This will get the longest leg of your journey over with, and you can count on taking a big chunk out of the mileage on day one. If it takes a little longer in the morning to get your car’s battery to 100%, wait it out. Trust us, it’s worth it for the secure feeling when you get behind the wheel and stare those many kilometres down.

Drive Smart 

Finally, make sure you’re driving smart on the open road. There are three main ways to do this:

Use the Cruise 

Cruise control is a very useful tool on long trips, as it reduces the amount of hard braking and subsequent accelerating that you have to do as you drive. If you don’t have to, don’t use the passing lane – just keep at the pace you set on your cruise control, and avoid a lot of intense acceleration, it’ll keep your battery alive for much longer.

Reduce Resistance 

If you have a roof rack with nothing on it, or any other accessories you’re dragging along that aren’t necessary for the trip, leave them at home. This will reduce the drag on your car, so it does a lot less work in the long run.

Trust Your Experience 

If you’ve had your model for a while, then you’ll know its range and how it drives a lot better than any piece of paper will. Use your experience to plan the trip, and trust your gut when it says to stop for a supplementary charge.

And after all that, the only other tip we have is to enjoy the trip! It seems like a lot to think about now, but the reality is that a trip with an EV can be just as enjoyable (if not more so) as a road trip with an ICE car. So hit the road electric Kiwis, and we’ll see you out there!

Looking for advice? 

GVI Electric is one of the best retailers of electric cars in New Zealand, and we know our craft inside-out. If you’re looking for any advice or information on driving electric, or you’re looking to pick up a new model for yourself, get in touch with us today!

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