Buyers' Guide: Should you make the switch to an EV?
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If you’re undecided on whether to switch to a new, fully electric vehicle (EV), you’re not alone. Price, styling, battery range and charging infrastructure may all be reasons you have been holding back, but with significant advances across all of these in recent years, it may well be time for you to take a second look.
Last year, 768 new EVs were registered in New Zealand, a huge jump from just 35 back in 2015. There are many reasons for people to switch to a new EV, but to give you a first-hand example, we spoke with John, a new Hyundai Kona Electric customer, and asked him to share his story.
The Hyundai Kona Electric was launched last year and was awarded the Best in Class for EV/PHEV in the AA Driven NZ Car of the Year Awards.
Why choose an EV?
John is a director of a creative agency in Wellington and for a long time wanted to drive with zero emissions. Having a positive effect on the environment by emitting less carbon than a petrol or diesel vehicle was a key objective for him, and having cheaper running costs was an added bonus.
He never considered a hybrid as he didn’t believe in the philosophy of two engines. He also felt the battery range in earlier EV models failed to meet his requirements for long-range road trips. To enable him to switch from his trusted diesel Hyundai i30, an EV would have to have much improved, real-world battery range.
Why the Kona?
When the Hyundai Kona Electric was announced, John knew it ticked all his boxes, not only for the battery range (Hyundai advertises 400km-plus real-world range) but also the styling and comfort level he required. He understood he’s an early adopter of this technology and knew the price point reflected this but, with the other innovations, he felt the Kona was value for money for him. The Kona EV retails for $77,990 and the EV Elite for $83,990.
John also liked the SUV compact styling and the two-tone colour. It’s a good size and comes well equipped with safety features like cross traffic alert and a head-up display. The Kona has plenty of power and is quiet. John says “you can really hear the road”.
What is your daily use?
John commutes daily from Kelburn, a 7km round trip. But where the Kona really proves itself is when he visits his son in Martinborough, which he does several times a month. This is a 170km round trip which the car easily handles, even if he makes an impromptu visit to Masterton while he’s in the Wairarapa.
With a cabin capacity of 1114 litres (by folding the 60:40 rear seats down) there’s also more than enough room for John’s hobby, whisky distilling. He uses the car to pick up the malted barley and the folding hand-truck and sacks fit neatly in the boot.
How do you charge the battery?
John usually charges the Kona at home overnight, with a Wall Box Pulsar charging at 20 amps. The charging times can be set wirelessly and he takes advantage of off-peak electricity rates. According to Hyundai, a charge will take 9.5 hours using this method. John averages around 1200km a month . He estimates this uses about $20 to $25 of electricity.
When charging at public charge stations, which he does when travelling out of town, it can take up to an hour for a typical charge. It’s an easy experience but the only concern he has is turning up to a charge station to find someone ahead of him in the queue. He finds people are curious about EVs and often ask him how long his takes to charge.
AA EV Charge Finder
As of June 2019, there are 14,867 registered EVs in New Zealand (new and used) and this will continue to grow as more affordable models enter the market and new Government Clean Car proposals are legislated to offer discounts on new imported zero-emission vehicles.
Last year the AA, in conjunction with the NZTA, launched an online EV Charge Finder that uses the revolutionary and world-first EV Roam platform. The EV Charge Finder on AA’s Time and Distance calculator, enables drivers to plot their journey and informs them of the location of safe and reliable charging stations on their route.
●Go to aa.co.nz/travel/time-and-distance-calculator and select “charging stations”.