Benefits and considerations of electric vehicles
There are several things to consider when choosing an electric vehicle.
Advantages of electric vehicles
- Charge up at home, at work and around town – electric cars can be charged anywhere there is a power point, just like charging your cellphone.
- Pollution-free driving - Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) don’t have a tailpipe and produce no exhaust emissions that cause local air pollution.
- Noise reduction - EVs are quieter than petrol or diesel vehicles.
- 80% reduction in CO2 emissions in New Zealand - this significant reduction in emissions is because 80% of New Zealand’s electricity is generated from renewable sources. There are also many other advantages to using this home-grown energy compared with using imported fossil fuels.
- Fewer lifecycle emissions - even when you take into account raw material extraction, battery manufacture, vehicle manufacture and shipping, BEVs emit 60% fewer climate change emissions over the full life cycle than for petrol vehicles.
- More efficient - electric cars can convert up to 90% of energy from their batteries into motive energy. This compares to 20% - 30% for a petrol or diesel vehicle.
In 2015 EECA commissioned a lifecycle analysis of the environmental impact of electric vehicles (EVs) compared to internal combustion engine vehicles (petrol and diesel). The report confirmed that EVs are better for the New Zealand environment than petrol or diesel powered vehicles, across the lifecycle of the vehicle as well as in use.
Challenges of electric vehicles
- Price – new electric cars tend to cost more to buy than equivalent conventional cars, but much lower running costs will help offset the initial higher price tag. As company cars tend to travel further on a daily basis, the payback on the original purchase price is faster, making EVs particularly attractive for fleets. Visit our vehicle total cost of ownership tool to find out how to compare the total costs of new cars. Used import EVs can also compare well with equivalent petrol or diesel used imports and are available with very low odometer readings making them a new choice for fleet operators.
- Range - most electric cars don’t travel as far on a full-charge as petrol or diesel vehicles travel on a full tank. However, 90% of daily vehicle travel in New Zealand is 90 kilometers or less (and the average daily travel by car in New Zealand is 29 km), which is easily within the single charge range of a typical pure electric car.
As battery and vehicle technology improves, and fast charging stations become commonplace, range will become less of a perceived issue. If you’re still concerned about range, a plug-in hybrid electric cars may be a better option for you, but you won’t get the significant reduction in maintenance cost that you will for a purely electric vehicle.
- Battery re-use and recycling – If an EV battery reaches the end of it's vehicle life, it may still have a useful second life, for example storing electricity from solar PV panels. Manufacturers of electric vehicles already have recycling programmes in place. Members of the Motor Industry Association of New Zealand have committed to a code of practice to have suitable systems in place for the use, capture, return, refurbishment, reuse, recycling or disposal of EV and hybrid batteries with the aim of no batteries ending up in landfills.
- Model availability - a growing selection is available to suit the needs of New Zealand fleets and drivers including several hatchbacks, a stationwagon, SUV and two vans.