What to consider before buying an EV or Plug-in Hybrid car
Thinking of switching to a ‘Clean Car’? Here are some of the things you need to know about owning an EV or Plug-in Hybrid car.
EV, BEV, PHEV, HEV … it can all be a bit confusing when you’re thinking of switching to a ‘Clean Car’. So, we’ve tried to make sense of it all for you, including how to take advantage of the New Zealand Government's new Clean Car scheme.
First up, what do all those letters mean?
EV – Electric vehicle - vehicles that are either partially or fully powered on electric power.
BEV – Battery Electric Vehicle - gets all its power from its batteries and electric motors.
HEV – Hybrid Electric vehicle - powered by an internal combustion engine in combination with one or more electric motors that use energy stored in batteries.
PHEV – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle - uses batteries to power an electric motor and another fuel, such as gasoline, to power an internal combustion engine.
So, what’s the Clean Car scheme all about?
The Clean Car scheme gives you a helping hand in going greener by offering a rebate on an eligible new or used light vehicle (there’s a definition of this on the NZTA website) if it meets the following criteria1:
- it must have been purchased for less than NZ$80,000 (including GST and on-road costs)
- it must have at least a 3-star safety rating according to www.rightcar.govt.nz at the time of registration
- it must be registered for the first time in New Zealand from 1 April 2022.
For a new vehicle the rebate is up to a maximum of $7,500 and for used, up to a maximum of $3,000, based on CO2 emission values. There is a zero band in the emission values at which there is no rebate and no fee is payable.
A vehicle with a CO2 emission value above the zero band incurs a fee. The further above the zero band, the greater the fee up to a maximum value. Vehicles with CO2 emission values below the zero band are eligible for the rebate, up to the maximum. For more information about the CO2 emissions bands and the Clean Car scheme, visit the NZTA website.
What’s the difference between BEVs and PHEVs?
There are lots of things to weigh up when considering whether to choose a BEV or a PHEV, including costs and environmental impact.
BEVs are better for the environment, so if you want to do your bit to help the planet and upfront costs are less of an issue, BEVs are the way to go.2
BEVs and PHEVs are both great for city driving. If you regularly do long trips you need to consider which type of vehicle best suits your needs. For example, you may feel more at ease with a PHEV knowing that you can fuel up along the road.
You can take a look at our comparison guide here.
How do I charge my EV?
There are two types of charging methods, AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current).3 Most EVs will comfortably charge overnight using AC, which just means you’re using a plug socket in your home or a wall box that some manufacturers provide or sell additionally.
Wall boxes improve charging times over standard wall sockets. You can also get a qualified electrician to install a 15amp wall socket to help speed up charging over regular wall chargers.4
The fastest charging method is using DC and most public charging stations use this. Depending on the KW (kilowatt) used, charging up this way can give you an extra 100KM of range in around 20-30 mins.5 Please note, DC fast charging units only work for BEVs and not PHEVs.
I’m worried about running out of power, what are my options?
Newer electric vehicle models have ranges of between 150KM and over 400KM. There are a lot of things that affect range including the vehicle's battery capacity, road conditions, temperature and driving style, including reducing your speed and not cornering or braking aggressively. Why not download the GoCarma app to help you improve your driving and your range.
In April 2017, the government announced plans to roll out nationwide coverage of fast/rapid direct current charging stations every 75KMs across our state highways6. If you’re planning a long road trip this summer, there’s a handy tool to show you your closest charging station: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/ev-chargers.
Tower has introduced an additional feature to our RoadWise® roadside assistance optional benefit. If you run out of charge, we’ll get you to a place where you can charge, so you can enjoy peace of mind whilst on the road.
What about insuring my BEV/Hybrid?
The cost of car insurance can vary as we use a risk-based pricing model. This considers things like the type of car you drive, your car's value, the cost to replace or fix parts, and where you live. Read our brief guide to find out more about our car insurance pricing here.
Still need more information?
There's lots of easy to digest information about BEVs and PHEVs available on the Genless website.
You can also find out more about the Clean Car scheme directly from the NZTA website.
If you're a business owner wanting to compare the cost of buying an EV or PHEV vehicle, the Genless vehicle comparison tool is a helpful starting point.
The links we provide to third-party websites are for your convenience and do not constitute any endorsement or authorisation by us. The information provided on this page is general in nature and is not intended to be professional or legal advice. Tower does not accept any liability for the accuracy or content of information on this website that belongs to third parties or on any third-party website.