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Electric vehicles

Considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV)?

Here’s some helpful information and tips if you’re considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV).

The benefits of EVs

According to New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), driving an electric car produces 80% fewer carbon dioxide emissions than a petrol car, which is great for our environment.

It’s better for your pocket too as it only costs the equivalent of 40c per litre of gas to run an EV!

You can fuel up conveniently and cost effectively at home and there’s a growing number of places to charge around Northland and Aotearoa New Zealand or plug into any power point (if it’s manufacturer approved and all equipment is designed for use in New Zealand).

With no gears to work through, an EV can apply full power when you touch the accelerator, and there’s no engine noise. They’re great hill climbers and regenerative braking means they recharge going downhill.

While electric vehicles sometimes have a higher purchase cost, the cost saving benefits come over the long-term use of the vehicle. They have less moving parts so have a lower maintenance cost.

Charging an EV

There’s a few different types of chargers and charging ports, methods of charging and EVs have a variety of different capacities to charge and battery sizes. Common charger types are:

Domestic 3 pin plug

These can be plugged in almost anywhere into a standard wall socket. This is known as Mode 2 and is the slowest form of charging, but is fine for most people only doing short trips each day. It’smost cost effective if you can get an off-peak (overnight) rate from your electricity retailer. This adds around 100km to the range in 10 hours.


Caravan plug

Also known as a Blue Commando Socket, these types of sockets are often found at campgrounds. With a higher current, they allow a faster charge and you can get an electrician to fit this socket at home. This adds around 100km to the range in 5 hours.


Dedicated “Slow” (AC) charging station

These can be installed at home to increase charging speed and are often found at businesses and public places.

They require special installation by an electrician and are useful for people who travel longer distances each day or who want the convenience of being able to fully charge their car’s battery overnight. This will add around 100km to the range in 1-5 hours.


Fast DC charger

Fast DC chargers work by providing a greater amount of electricity and changing it into direct current (DC) meaning it feeds straight into the battery.

They come with a large range of speeds (fast to rapid to ultra) and take much less time to recharge than other options. Both fast and rapid chargers are now commonly found at various locations around Aotearoa New Zealand. This will add around 100km to the range in less than an hour.

Smart EV charging

By installing a charger that can be programmed or controlled by an app, you can charge your electric vehicle at home smartly.

A smart EV charger will allow you to control and monitor your EV charging, so you’ll be able to easily calculate costs and ensure the load does not exceed supply capacity. This can avoid the need to upgrade the supply for EV charging.

By programming your charger to charge at off-peak times, you can make better use of off-peak (cheaper) pricing rates from your energy retailer. Charging at off-peak time also helps ease the demand on our network for electricity during peak times.

If you have solar panels at home, you can integrate the systems to make the most of the electricity you generate to charge your car for free.

EV charging frequently asked questions

The best place to charge your EV is to plug it in overnight at home.

If you’re looking at building a new property or renovating, you might like to consider installing charging points to future proof for any EVs you may have in the future.

If you’re on the road and looking for a charging station, we recommend the Plugshare, ChargeNet, or the NZTA EV charging station map.

The cheapest and easiest way to charge your EV is to plug it in overnight at home. An overnight charge will cost up to $5 per 100km.

Check with your energy retailer and compare other retailers for EV deals. Some do offer discounts for off-peak EV charging or general off-peak deals.

There are many different EVs available on the market now, both new and second hand. Many new vehicles have ranges of over 400km on a full charge, while older second hand EVs may only have a 100km range.

The battery is the most expensive component of an EV. The bigger it is, the greater the range, which also means a greater cost.

Driving style can affect the vehicle’s range. Generally, the driving range in an urban environment is greater than on the highway. Air conditioning will have also some effect on range.

Studies indicate that an EV may increase household electricity use by up to 35%. This can be supported most of the time but becomes challenging during peak demand periods (usually in the early mornings and evenings) when the electricity network is already busy.

Collectively we can minimise the need to upgrade electricity networks to accommodate this additional demand, by shifting EV charging to times when the network isn’t as busy – overnight, usually after 10pm.

Installing a smart EV charger, that lets you control the time of charging and access cheaper off-peak electricity rates is a good idea.

It depends on the owner of the charging station. Check on Plugshare or the charging station owner’s website.

While electric vehicles often have a higher purchase cost, the cost saving benefits come over the long-term use of the vehicle.

They have fewer moving parts so have a lower maintenance cost.

Running an EV is cheaper. Powered by electricity, it will cost around $5 per 100km if charged at home or $10 per 100km if charged at a public charger. (This does depend on the rate you pay for electricity to your retailer,) plus road user charges.

Generally you should be able to slow charge your EV without upgrading your electrical supply. Many EV owners use an IC-CPD (in cord control & protection device) that will plug into a standard 10 Amp socket outlet or 16 Amp caravan socket outlet.

If in doubt check with your electrician. A fixed wall-mounted charger needs to be wired by an electrician who will also check if the electrical supply has enough capacity.

The RUC rate for electric vehicles is $76 per 1000km unit. The rate for PHEVs is $53 per 1000km unit.

Need more information?

You can find out more about electric vehicles by downloading our handy EV booklet, or visit the Genless electric vehicles website

Northpower’s guide to electric vehicles