Buyers Guide: Thinking of switching to a new electric car?
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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 advancements 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. That is a huge jump from just 35 back in 2015.
There are many reasons for people to switch to a new EV. To give you a first-hand example, we spoke to John, a new Hyundai Kona Electric customer, and asked him to share his story.
The Hyundai Kona Electric was launched last year and 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 desired to achieve zero emissions.
Having a positive effect on the environment by producing less carbon emissions than a petrol or diesel vehicle was a key objective for him, while having cheaper running costs was a 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 over 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 all the other innovations in the vehicle, he felt the Kona was value for money for him. The Kona retails for $73,990 and the Kona Elite for $79,990.
John also liked the SUV compact styling and the two-tone colour. It’s a good size and it comes well equipped with safety features such as Cross Traffic Alert and a Heads-Up Display.
The Kona has plenty of power and it’s quiet, with John commenting “you can really hear the road”.
John’s daily commute is a 7km round trip. But where the Kona proves itself is when he visits his son in Martinborough, which he does several times a month.
The car easily handles the 170km round trip, even if John makes an impromptu trip to Masterton.
Charging 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 — which he estimates uses about $20-$25 of electricity. When charging at public charge stations it can take up to an hour for a typical charge.
AA EV charge finder
There are more than 12,000 registered EVs in New Zealand (new and used) and this number is growing as new, more affordable models enter the market and accessibility to charging stations increases.
As of July 2018 there were almost 100 rapid DC charging stations nationwide, an increase of more than 40 from2017.
The AA/NZTA online EV Charge Finder uses the world-first EVRoam platform. Hosted on the AA’s Time and Distance calculator, the EV Charge Finder enables drivers to plot their journey and informs them of the location of safe and reliable charging stations.
● Visit: aa.co.nz/travel/time-and-distance-calculator and select charging stations.