Electric Vehicles are Leading the Way for a Cleaner NZ

Aug 21, 2020
By Staff writer

Electric vehicles (EVs) are designed to be cost effective and environmentally friendly, as they drive us away from petrol-dependency. In New Zealand, motorists are being encouraged to switch to EVs through the feebate scheme. Through this, EVs have become a cheaper alternative to smoke-belching petrol cars.

Aside from government intervention, there are other reasons why EVs are cheaper and more sustainable than conventional cars. Let’s take a look at the reasons why EVs are a great choice for Kiwi drivers. 

Why are EVs cost effective for Kiwis?

Low maintenance and power make EVs less expensive than traditional cars; and with the freebate scheme in full swing, the costs can plummet even further. 

In 2019, the New Zealand government announced a feebate scheme that will increase the prices of new petrol vehicles and subsidize EVs by 2021. 

Cutting fuel costs to motorists by $3.4 billion and reducing CO2 emissions by 5 million tonnes are part of the goal to make NZ vehicles more efficient by 2022 to 2025. The scheme also serves to create the new fuel-efficiency standard for imported vehicles; hence, prices of vehicles with high emission will rise. 

The feebate scheme will also provide a $8,000 subsidy for new EVs and $2,600 for used EVs. For motorists, this scheme is a big deal, as it enables them to save more in the future by using EVs. 

Overall, the ultimate trump card of EVs is cost savings, as battery power costs less than petrol. Compared to petrol vehicles, EVs don’t require oil changes or spark plugs; thus, maintenance is more manageable. You simply need to complete regular maintenance checks on the electrical systems, which includes the battery and the electrical motor. 

With the feebate scheme, more motorists can switch to EVs due to cost efficiency that’s backed by the government. Insurance companies also cater to EVs; in the near future, by 2021 to be exact, we can expect them to optimize their deals for EVs as a result of the feebate scheme. If the feebate scheme has convinced you to use EVs, use Glimp to compare different car insurance providers that offer EV cover.  

What are the challenges in owning electric cars?

Although they are more sustainable, EVs have their downsides. These include silence at low speed, battery life, road user charges, and buying costs. 

They are silent operators, which means you’ll hardly notice them when you cross the road. Manufacturers are working on making EVs emit louder sounds on low speed, so that safety standards can be assured.

Battery life is another issue, since the power runs out easily (depending on mileage) According to Drive Electric, a distance of 12,500km costs $2,500 of battery life. 

When the freebate scheme takes effect, road user charges will apply to EVs. 

Buying costs poses the biggest challenge because upfront costs are high; for example, the latest LEAF EV from Nissan starts at $59,990, and the Model 3 from Tesla is around $74,000. True enough, charging an EV battery is less expensive than refilling at a gas station, but the battery also poses a challenge due to the high battery pack costs and degenerative battery life. 

Despite some concerns, Kiwis can expect drastic changes in favor for EVs as a result of the freebate scheme. We can expect better battery life, cheaper batteries, more public chargers, and lower purchasing prices.

What maintenance is required for electric cars?

The most important consideration is battery life, which can eventually wear out, and the longer you drive the shorter the range becomes. An EV can maintain a good driving range of about 150,000 kilometres. You won’t immediately notice the speed changes, as this will be gradual. This is why maintenance also involves regular electric systems check with a pro. 

Battery replacement is also necessary because batteries wear out. A battery pack is expensive and could even match the costs of a second-hand EV; for example, a battery pack for a Nissan LEAF is $15,000. Batteries and other electronic parts, however, are reusable. So if you’re really not aiming for high speeds, then a secondhand battery with lower range is a good option. 

EVs are a catalyst for a greener and cleaner future, and the NZ government has backed this by creating the feebate scheme. EVs are cost effective in the long run, but the risks and costs will always be there. Being electric is its main strength, but it’s also its downside, as batteries for EVs have uncertainties that still need to be addressed. 

If the feebate scheme piqued your interest, and you intend to make the switch to an EV in the future, Glimp can help you select the best electric car insurance deals. Some car insurance providers have already included EVs in their deals. You can check their offers and compare deals using our online tools for free!

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