Understanding EVs

An introduction to EVs

There’s no denying it, petrol cars are going to be taking a backseat as we transition to a low carbon, electric vehicle future. And, even if you're still fighting the popular opinion, trust us, EVs do provide a compelling option.

Advantages of EVs

Generally speaking, EVs are more environmentally friendly, quieter and cheaper to run.

To find out more about the advantages of buying an EV, the costs of running an EV, the Government’s EV rebates scheme, and to compare EV’s with other vehicles, visit the ECCA’s GENLESS website.

An introduction to EVs

The different types of EVs

There’s an ever-growing list of car brands rolling out EVs. But not all EVs are made equal.

Battery Electric Vehicles (or BEVs) don’t have a petrol engine, so they don’t use any fossil fuels. Instead, they have an electric motor and rely 100% on their onboard batteries. You charge the batteries at home, at work, or at a charging station.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (or HEVs) run on a combination of petrol and battery power. Under the hood is an electric motor and a petrol engine. When you start driving, the electric motor gets you going, then the petrol engine takes over as you go faster. The battery recovers, and stores power generated from braking. This is called ‘regenerative braking’. With HEVs you still need to fill up with petrol but your fuel economy is generally better than a normal petrol car.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (or PHEVs) are very similar to HEVs - they have a petrol engine and an electric motor. The difference is PHEVS can recharge the battery by plugging it into an electrical charging outlet. PHEVs can drive a certain distance using just the battery power, without using petrol. However, when their battery power drops the petrol engine takes over. PHEVs also allow for battery recharging while on the move through regenerative braking. Note: Not all PHEVs are able to be ‘fast charged’ – make sure you check this before buying (or fast-charging!) a PHEV.

The different types of EVs

EV charging options

Charging your electric vehicle is super easy, you plug in the cord and charge away. One of the big advantages with EVs is you can charge up at home and while at work, allowing you to avoid having to queue at petrol stations. There’s also a growing number of public EV charging options for when you’re out and about, too.

Portable three-pin charging cable: Most EVs come with their own portable chargers, which, can be plugged into a normal power point. These types of chargers should have an in-cable control and protection device (ICCPD). You should not use a charger without an ICCPD.

Charging with a three-point plug will provide around 100km of range in around 8 - 10 hours. This is fairly slow - so it won’t be much good if you need an urgent top-up or if you are charging larger and newer model EVs with batteries larger than 30kW.

If you do a lot of running around or have an EV with a larger battery, and you’ve got a spot in your garage that’ll fit a wall-mounted charging unit, it may be worth investing in a more advanced or ‘smart’ EV charger.

Public chargers: There’s now a strong, continuously growing national network of charging stations. Many of these stations have fast chargers that can give you approximately an extra 100km of range in about 15 minutes. These stations have, and are, aiding in EV take up in general as they are helping to reduce range anxiety, previously one of the biggest barriers many have had about investing in a new EV.

Waka Kotahi, the NZ Transport Agency has a map of all electric vehicle charging stations throughout the country here. It’s regularly updated and features the address and details of all public charging stations. You can also visit PlugShare and use their journey planner page to map out charging stations while you are on the go.

Smart EV chargers: A smart EV charger can offer easier, safer, and faster charging. They can also enhance the management of your EV - allowing you to connect to your charger remotely to monitor and control your EV’s charging via an app on your phone.

We offer customers the ability to install a range of Wallbox Smart EV chargers and pay it off over 24 months on your account.

EV charging options

The difference between AC and DC chargers

AC stands for ‘alternating current’, and DC stands for ‘direct current’. New Zealand’s electricity grid offers up AC power. However EV batteries can only store DC power. So, for EVs the AC power needs to be converted to DC in order to charge your car.

The difference between AC and DC chargers is where that conversion takes place – before it gets to the battery or once it is inside the battery.

AC charging for EVs: Electric vehicles all have in-built converters that convert the AC power to DC power. So, when you plug in to an AC charger, your car’s converter will convert the power to DC power so it can be stored in the battery.

DC charging for EVs: DC chargers offer the distinct advantage of being able to feed power into the car’s battery ‘directly’. This means less work for your EV, and a far quicker charge.

The difference between AC and DC chargers