Electric Cars NZ: Your Complete Guide To Buying An EV

Date Jun 21, 2021
Blog category Power
By Staff Writer

It looks like electric cars are here to stay, and with New Zealand's goal to reduce carbon emissions for the next few years, this might be the best time to say goodbye to your petrol car and switch to an electric vehicle. 

What is an electric vehicle?

According to the Ministry of Transport, there were only 11,000+ registered EVs in New Zealand back in 2018. Today there are more than 21,000 electric vehicles registered in New Zealand.

Perhaps one of the main concerns of curious buyers is how long an electric vehicle can last and how far. After all, you don't want to run out of juice and get stranded in the middle of nowhere. The exact distance a fully-charged EV can drive will still depend on the model of the electric vehicle and there are many options available that can get you far.

If you're considering getting an electric vehicle, you're not alone. In fact, more than 40% of Kiwis today said that they would consider getting an electric vehicle. Read along for our EV guide to help you choose the right EV for you.


Know which type of EV suits you:

Battery Electric Vehicle

BEVs are charged by plugging them into an external electricity source such as a regular electrical socket or charging unit, similar to your home appliances. You may also charge them at one of the public charging stations in the country.


  • The battery range of new, high-end models are from around 200km up to 600km
  • It's low maintenance.
  • Efficient to use since it has regenerative braking recaptures, stores energy whenever you slow down and does not require energy at all when you're stuck in traffic. 

Best for:

  • Those who can charge overnight at home or work
  • Those who travel within the battery rang

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

A PHEV has two types of motors and works in EV-only mode until most of the stored power in the battery is used. Once the store power is used, the petrol/diesel engine will automatically take over. Note that some PHEV models might take longer to charge, so make sure to check their features if you decide to get one.


  • Lower costs
  • Great for the environment

Best for:

  • Those who can charge overnight at home or work
  • Those who are most likely going to use the vehicle to travel beyond its battery range

Decide whether you want a new EV or a used one.

There are many options for used BEVs and PHEVs to choose from in New Zealand. Both new and used models can save you money, except of course a used model is more affordable and will cost you less. On the other hand, buying a new one means more advanced features and better battery range. In the end, your decision should be based on your needs and budget.

What's the charging time for EVs?

The length of an EV's charging time depends on its model, battery size, and other factors.

Charging type/unit Charging time
Standard wall-socket (the regular sockets you have in your home) 10 hours for a 100 km of driving range
Outdoor socket (weatherproof outlets you find outside) 6 hours
Dedicated charger (with a single-phase charger installed in homes) 4 hours with a single-phase charger
Fast chargers (usually found in public electric vehicle charging stations) 40 minutes

Read: Your Complete Guide To Buying An E-Bike

Good thing there are more than 400 charging stations throughout New Zealand, and you can search most of them through the PlugShare app, which you can download on Android, iOS, and in your web or mobile browser.

There are two kinds of public charging stations: public fast and public slow. You can find public fast-charging stations all over the country, and it usually costs $10 per 800 km, and you can recharge your battery to 80% in just 20 minutes. Aside from that, fast-charging stations come with tethered cables, so you don't have to bring your own. Please note that majority of hybrid EVs are not compatible with fast charging. Public slow charging stations are usually free but may take longer to recharge your EV. They're typically located in public areas where you can park, such as shopping malls, parking buildings, and hotels.


Pros of getting an electric vehicle


That's right! EVs are one of the most reliable vehicles on the market today, thanks to their electric engines, which have 90% fewer moving parts than a traditional engine. You have lesser chances of experiencing malfunctions and other issues with your car.

Like any other cars, EVs still need an occasional inspection to ensure it's in good condition and to replace major components such as brakes, tires, etc. Still, other than those, EVs do not require engine maintenance and are easier to repair.


Transport makes up a large percentage of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and making a switch to EV will positively impact the environment. The average petrol or diesel car in New Zealand emits about 2.6 tonnes of greenhouse gas every year. By switching to an EV, you can do your part in reducing carbon emissions and saving our environment. According to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), it produces 80% less CO2 emissions than petrol vehicles and has no tailpipe emissions, which means fewer fumes and cleaner air. 


EVs are changing the way of transport in New Zealand, and many are expected to switch as EVs continue to become cheaper and more charging stations are being built all over the country. They have become more affordable throughout the years since the drop of lithium-ion battery prices. Aside from that, petrol pricing is expected to rise, which means higher costs if you keep using your petrol car. Owning and using combustion-powered vehicles may not be cost-effective in the long run as emissions regulations worldwide are expected to become stricter and push their prices into a more expensive price range.

According to statistics, the average Kiwi driver drives about 12,500 kilometers annually, which means you spend around $2500 in petrol—a lot more expensive than if you drive an electric vehicle which would only cost you approximately $500 for the same distance.

Overall, EVs give you more. It's quieter, making listening to music and conversing with your passengers much better. They cost less, easier to maintain, and great for everyone's health.

Additional checklist:

  • Check the battery size to see how much electricity it can store and how far it can drive when fully charged
  • Check if it has a warranty and if it covers the EV battery
  • Ask what charge inlets the EV has and if it can use fast charging stations
  • Ask what charging equipments are included and check if they pass the  New Zealand electrical safety standards

Charging your EV overnight is one of your best options to save money, which is also why it's important to have the right power plan and power provider for your needs. With the right provider, it costs around 30 cents of electricity to charge your EV.

Keep your appliances and electric vehicle charged up and ready-to-use at all times with the right power plan!

Compare your best power options  from leading NZ providers and score amazing deals, right here at CompareBear!