EV Buyers Guide

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AutoTrader NZ
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Published 10 May 2020

EVs have grown exponentially in recent years, especially due to the 2021 clean car rebate which offered a $8625 rebate on all new EVs.

Since 2021 the market has flooded with second-hand EVs with the likes of Tesla, BYD, MG and Nissan it pays to check out how they stack up compared to the new electric cars out there.

An EV that fits your lifestyle:

If you are trying to find an EV with the best driving range at the best price, the most important information you need to share with your dealer is what kind of driving you typically do.

A 500km+ range EV might be nice to have, but you could save a lot of money by going for a cheaper, lower-range EV if you only do 40 to 100 km of driving each day.

The majority of modern EVs offer a range of 250 km and over on a single charge.

Ecotricity also provides a simple tool that could help you find the right type of EV for you.

If you want to explore more technical information, you can try using the  EECA Business cost of ownership tool.

This tool will let you compare estimates of the total lifetime costs of owning different cars.

The “right-size” battery for you

Finding the car that suits you is important. Needing to charge a low-range EV multiple times per day may add unnecessary inconvenience, while a large-range EV that you only use for short trips may be unnecessarily expensive.

Here are a few things you can do if you’re not sure what battery size is right for you:

  • Keep a log of the kilometres you drive over a typical day or week to use as a reference for the type of EV you need.
  • Consider how often you do long trips, which may help you decide if a smaller battery car would suit you, or if you need a car with a larger battery.
  • The cost of hiring a car for occasional holiday trips could be more than covered by the daily petrol savings that come with owning an EV.
  • If you have to do more than one extra charge each day, then a larger battery EV or a PHEV may better suit your needs.

Ecotricity provides a simple tool that could help you find the right type of EV for you.

Buying new EVs

There are a range of retailers in NZ selling new electric and hybrid vehicles. Some of the popular brands are TeslaBYD, GWM, ToyotaNissan, HyundaiKiaMitsubishiRenaultSubaruJaguarBMW and more.

Buying a brand new, made-for-New Zealand EV usually means that you also get manufacturer support, a warranty for the vehicle, and possibly a warranty for the battery.

All charging cables or charging stations sold or provided must be “NZ Compliant”. Compliance is declared by the supplier through the SDoC form.

Worksafe – Supplier Declaration of Conformity

If you don’t have very much experience with EVs or are looking to buy your first EV, try discussing your needs with several experienced EV dealers to ensure you are buying the right car for you.

Imported vehicles from a registered dealership or importer

Most EVs on New Zealand’s roads are second-hand vehicles, mainly imported from Japan or the UK by registered importers.

Manufacturers are not obliged to offer support or services for vehicles imported second-hand from their overseas branches/franchises.

There is a rapidly growing community of EV specialists in New Zealand who can offer support for EVs, and many dedicated EV dealers will offer after-sale support for their customers. AutoTrader.co.nz EV dealers include – GVI ElectricAutolinkCoventry CarsEV CityHamilton EVDrive EVOlgo Motors, Ultimate EV, & Auto Court.

Imported EVs should come with a NZ-compliant charging cable, vehicle history, and battery information.

Consumer Protection has some great resources on this topic: Consumer Protection – buying a car from a dealer.

Private sellers

As with any car, you can also buy directly from a private seller. Private sales are usually made on an “as is, where is” basis, which means the buyer takes all responsibility for any problems after purchase.

Buying privately may result in cheaper prices; however, the seller is under no obligation to offer after-sales support, and you will have little legal protection after the sale.

In some cases, after-sales support and advice for using, maintaining, and operating an EV can make a lot of difference for inexperienced EV owners.

Consumer Protection provides resources on this topic: Consumer protection – buying a car privately.

Battery size

Battery size is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The more kWh a battery is rated for, the more energy it can store, and the further the EV can drive on a single charge.

Currently, the battery is the most expensive part of making an EV, which means EVs with larger batteries tend to be more expensive.

Lower-priced electric cars tend to utilise smaller batteries (around 24 to 30 kWh, for example), while higher-end cars have larger batteries (64 to 100 kWh, for example).

When buying an electric vehicle, you could also take note of any loss of battery capacity, as this will reduce the amount of energy the battery can hold and the range it can drive on one charge.

In Nissan Leafs, this is referred to as the State of Health (SoH); in other cars, it may be referred to as “actual capacity” or “available capacity”.

Range at 80%

It’s normal to fill a petrol car up to 100% and then only return to the petrol station when you’re as close to 0%.

To maintain battery health, you may wish to consider the maximum range your EV will offer when it’s charged to 80%, because;

It’s currently recommended that you keep your EV charged at no more than 80% and only charge it to 100% when necessary, for a long tip.

to maintain battery health, experts currently recommend that you don’t leave your EV charged at less than 20% for long periods of time.

Some DC fast chargers will limit your charging to between 80% and 95%.

Charge.net.nz – Support page

Battery health report

The majority of newer EVs have a battery health checker onboard. These display battery degradation, health, and the usable capacity left. These are quite often accommodated by apps such as Leafspy (for Nissan Leafs) and EVBATMON (for Mitsubishi Outlander).

For older EVs, this most likely will have to be accessed via an OBD (On-board diagnostics) port to scan and conduct a battery health check.

OBD II devices are available online, but not all OBD II devices are compatible with electric vehicles.

Stahlcar is one NZ supplier of compatible OBD II devices.

Battery warranty

Most new EVs have battery warranties that guarantee the battery for a certain length of time (typically 5-8 years, sometimes longer) or distance (such as 100,000 km).

Ask your dealer about their battery warranty policies and what they cover.

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