Thinking about upgrading to an electric car? Wondering how much you could save? Want to know how you’d charge your car if you switched to electric? We’ve got the skinny and the stats to help you make the right decision for your home and driving needs.
What is an Electric Vehicle?
As the name suggests, electric cars – also known as electric vehicles, or EVs – are vehicles that run on electricity rather than petrol. Initially reserved only for the super wealthy, the emergence of affordable electric vehicle models to the market has seen a steady increase in popularity – particularly among users who are interested in long-term savings and reducing their carbon footprint.
Here in New Zealand there are currently two main types of electric car available: battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
BEVs run solely on electric power, and are fuelled by a battery that is charged while plugged into an electric power outlet. PHEVs, on the other hand, feature twoengines. One engine is fuelled by a battery (charged via being plug into an electric power socket) and the other engine is fuelled by petrol or diesel. In these hybrids, this petrol/diesel engine kicks in when the electric battery charge runs out.
While there are also electric-fuel hybrid models that are charged by re-capturing energy when braking, or from electricity generated by the fuel-powered engine, these are technically not electric cars in the traditional sense.
What are the Benefits of Driving an Electric Car?
Did you know an electric car is estimated to be around 7 times cheaper to run than a petrol-fuelled vehicle?! It’s true. In fact, when you swap over to an electric car you’ll pay the equivalent of $0.30 a litre at the pump.That equates to huge savings over the course of a year.
To put those figures in perspective, someone travelling the NZ average of 12,500km every year may currently spend around $2500 in fuel. If they switched to an EV, they’d pay around $500. If they drove that car for just five years, they’d save around $10,000 just in fuel costs.
Long-term fuel savings is one of the key motivators for most Kiwis looking to make the switch, but there are some other great advantages to consider as well:
Battery powered EV produce none of the exhaust emissions that cause local air pollution. Over its lifetime, a battery powered electric car generates between 60% - 80% fewer CO2 and climate change emissions than petrol cars used in New Zealand. This is because electricity generated here is typically at least 80% renewable, sourced via hydro, geothermal and wind.
Cheaper to Maintain
BEVs don’t require spark plugs, starter motors, fuel injection systems, radiators or oil changes! In fact, while a standard petrol or diesel fuelled engine is comprised of almost 2,000 moving parts, an electric vehicle engine contains just 20 – meaning a LOT less wear and tear, and far less maintenance.
If you’re making the swap to an EV, expect to maintain the brakes, tyres and suspension, and replace the batteries – covered by a manufacturer warranty of around 8 years for most models.
Quiet and Fast
Electric cars can accelerate quickly and smoothly from a standing start. With no gears to work through, an electric vehicle can apply full power as soon as you touch the accelerator, and the weight of the battery pack gives EVs a lower centre of gravity for superior handling. They’re also so quiet it takes a while for new users to get used to the reduced engine noise!
Will an EV Chew Through my Power?
One of the concerns we often hear from people thinking about making the switch to an electric car is whether the cost of charging will send their home power usage through the roof.
The short answer is; compared with petrol, you’ll always save money when charging an electric car. Let’s dig a little deeper with some handy stats:
The cost of charging an electric car depends on what model you drive, and when and where you charge it. On average, it costs less than $5 to charge a plug-in hybrid and $5-$10 for an all-electric car.
If you’re plugging in at home and you’re on a day/night electricity plan, charging an EV to 100km at off peak times will cost less than $3.
Since electric vehicles are great for the environment, there are a growing number of initiatives allowing you to charge your electric car FREE at malls, airports and supermarkets throughout New Zealand.
Do I Need a Special Plug to Charge an Electric Car at Home?
Nope! Most electric vehicles are compatible with charging via indoor standard wall socket (8-10 amp), outdoor socket (15 amp) and camper van plug (16 amp). If you’re charging via a standard existing outlet in your home, only use the charging cables that come with your vehicle, and never use extension cords or plug adapters.
If you’ll be charging your electric car at home most of the time, we recommend having a dedicated wall mounted charging station installed, which our team can take care of for you!
How Long Does it Take to Charge an Electric Car?
While it's probably easier than you think to charge an electric car, it can take quite a different amount of time to fully charge your EV, depending on the charger you use. This can range from 5 – 18 hours per 100km of charge.
If you want to speed up the at-home charging process, you can have a dedicated wall mounted charging station installed in your garage or on the side of your home. This will charge up to 8 times faster than a regular outlet.
Here’s how long you can expect to charge your EV per 100km of charge, via standard socket connections:
- Standard wall socket: for overnight charging, between 10-18 hours
- Outdoor socket: for slow charging, between 5-6 hours
- Camper van plug: for slow charging, between 5-6 hours
Dedicated chargers can be found in public areas or service stations, but you can also have them wall mount installed in your garage or on the side of your home. They generally have a cable attached or feature a general socket, and are designed specifically for electric car charging.
By comparison, here’s how long you can expect to charge your EV per 100km of charge, via a dedicated wall mounted charging station:
- Single phase charger: typically takes approximately 3-6 hours
- Three phase charger: generally takes under 1 hour
- DC charger: usually takes 10-25 minutes
In terms of time and convenience, a dedicated wall mounted charging station for home use is a worthwhile investment – which begs the question…
What’s the Best At Home Charging Option?
It really depends on whether you’d like a super-fast charge or you’re happy to charge overnight from one of your existing outlets.
If you need a rapid charge, when it comes to performance, design, durability and affordability, we recommend EVlink Charging Stations by globally trusted Schneider Electric. Not only are EVlink charging stations cleverly designed and easy to use – they’re also weather proof and robust, suitable for daily use and compatible with most electric vehicles.
If you don’t require a fast charge but you need a standard outlet added in your garage – or an outdoor socket added to your carport – our team can take care of this for you. Give us a call now to discuss the right option for you and request a quote!