Switching to Electric Cars

If you’re considering replacing some or all of your diesel or petrol-powered fleet with electric cars then you’ve come to the right place. 

As a company that is 100% committed to generating renewable energy, we are 100% behind customers who want to harness renewable fuel.

As a business we understand that there is a lot to consider if you are thinking of purchasing electric cars, so we’ve put together some information that might help you.

EV charging

  • Types of vehicles

    First things first. There are two main types of cars on the market in New Zealand.

    • All-battery electric vehicles (BEVs) – an all-electric vehicle solely fuelled by a battery that is charged by plugging it into an electrical outlet. These have a range of 120−170kms. The Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, BMW i3 and Tesla S are all types of electric cars.
    • Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs): These are powered by a battery that is charged by plugging it into an electrical outlet, and also a gasoline engine powered by petrol. After the electric battery is exhausted, the vehicle continues to operate using its petrol powered engine. Examples include the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Audi e-tron.

    How you use company vehicles and the range you need will be deciding factors in what type of vehicle you choose. If you have staff that need to travel out of cities where there may be less charging infrastructure then a PHEV may be the best option. Some companies have a mix of both BEV and PHEV vehicles so that they can match the car depending on the destination or route.

  • Availability and cost of electric cars

    There are a range of makes and models of vehicles in New Zealand (new and second hand) with a number of manufacturers releasing battery electric and plug in hybrid versions of existing models in 2016/17.

    Because electric cars are a relatively new technology and there is less choice than petrol or diesel-powered vehicles, they can be more expensive to purchase. But electric cars cost far less than other vehicles to operate, costing around 30 cents a litre when compared to a petrol-powered vehicle.

    Check out Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) vehicle total cost of ownership tool – it’s a fantastic way to see what new vehicles are available in New Zealand and their operating costs.

  • Benefits

    The benefits of electric cars are not only environmental. You’ll save money on operating costs and there are also other great business reasons to go electric. Owners of electric cars are exempt from road user charges, which is a saving of around $700 a year. The Government also recently announced that electric vehicles are allowed in bus lanes and high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the State Highway network and local roads. The Government is also reviewing tax depreciation rates and the method for calculating fringe benefit tax to ensure electric vehicles are not being unfairly disadvantaged. Watch this space!

    Running costs are also lower than other vehicles. With longer servicing intervals and fewer moving parts there is less need for maintenance. Some estimate that you can save up to 80% on maintenance costs with an electric car.
    The environmental benefits are clear enough. Having electric cars in your fleet also sends a powerful message to customers and the public that you are serious about sustainability.

  • Sourcing electric cars

    We’ve also done a lot of investigation on switching our fleet to electric cars, and we’re committed to switching where it makes good business sense for us. This means thinking about the different business requirements like who needs a vehicle, the time it’s needed, single or multi passengers, the distance we need to travel and what setting (city or rural) it’s being used in.

    If you own or lease vehicles, getting the right mix of vehicles and having a clear strategy on whether they are pool or assigned vehicles can open up opportunities to introduce electric cars. Using GPS data we were able to get a great profile of our vehicle use and shift how we use them to enable us to introduce electric-powered cars into our fleet. Another consideration for owning or leasing is the difference in upfront capital cost and the residual value of an electric car compared to petrol or diesel powered equivalent.

    Car sharing is another great way an organisation can introduce electric cars with a number of on-demand options like MEVO establishing their services in New Zealand.

  • Charging your vehicle

    If you’re thinking about owning or leasing an electric car then you’ll need to have access to charging infrastructure. Charging can be as simple as plugging your vehicle into a standard power point. This can easily be done at home and can take around 6-8 hours to fully charge. Most fleets are currently charged at people’s homes as it can be cheaper to use electricity on a special night rate. It can also be done at work, but you will need a dedicated charging area to do this. A ‘fast’ charge at a public rapid charger only takes around 20 minutes and can cost less than a cup of coffee.

    There are also a number of other public charging stations around the country. More and more are popping up. There is a great website here that maps out all of the public charging stations in New Zealand.

    If you’re thinking about installing charging infrastructure at your workplace, our friends at EECA have got handy information for you to read through. It can cost anything between a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for a fast charger.

  • Cost of charging

    The cost of charging your car will vary on the type of vehicle and where it’s being charged. A Nissan Leaf charged on a domestic power point for 8 hours will cost between $4 and $7. Using a rapid charger, a Nissan Leaf can be given an 80% charge in less than 30 minutes for around $4 to $7.

  • Meridian’s EV plan

    If your staff want to charge their car at night from their homes then we have a great EV plan on offer in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
    The rates on our Rest Easy EV plan are from as low as the equivalent of 20 cents per litre – that’s annual savings of up to 90% on fuelling a car.
    Get in touch and we’ll help get you set up.