Electric vehicle charging station sign.
Research report
3 September 2020

Hybrid, PHEV and Electric compared

It costs an absolute bomb to put an electric vehicle in your driveway. Can you justify the extra expense through lower running costs?

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Chris O.
22 Apr 2021
Low public charge station use

Over the 35,000Km that we have owned our Kia Nero full electric car we have topped up at a public station just 11 times. Kia claim that this car is good for 455km on a charge, my wife can get over 500Km and I get more like 475. (She says it bring out the hoon in me. It is by FAR the peppiest car I have ever owned!) We live near Coromandel Town and can do a trip to Auckland or Hamilton, AND back, on a single charge, no worries. Then we mostly are able to charge up again on sunshine from our PV panels. So we have long given up any "range anxiety" and don't have any call for more public charge stations. This is a normal, practical car that is huge fun to drive, and lacks day to day fuel costs. Yes, it was expensive, but there are many other petrol and diesel cars in the same price range that people buy. Our experience is that an EV with a good big battery and plenty of range is just brilliant; the pluses totally outweigh the minuses. And very environmentally friendly!

Tony G.
22 Apr 2021
Range Anxiety - not an issue

We bought an electric tesla model3 fifteen months ago and have done over 80,000 kms in that time mainly long range trips from auckland to welly and back .. with over 400km real range per charge the model3 only needs to recharge once in taupo and this takes about 25 mins (which is just enough time for a coffee and a stretch) .. the reality is we often make more stops because we need to take a rest from driving not because we need to charge ... there is absolutely no range anxiety and i have found this road trip takes no longer than it used to in my old petrol car. i have saved about $15k in petrol and probably 3k with zero maintainance cost so far in this time (the electric motors are pretty simple) .. at this rate the car will have fully paid for its self in 5 years... I have been carefully monitoring the battery and it has degraded about 7% so I expect to get at least 10years probably much more (guarentee is 8 years)

I have also noticed that the 2nd hand resale value has remained very high .. I think your comparison calculations should take into account the reality that the depreciation of electric vehicles is far less than for ice cars. They seem to really hold their value.

Chris H.
11 Sep 2020
Nissan Leaf

We bought an imported used Nissan Leaf with an 80% 24 kWh a few years ago, and have not looked back. I have not kept tabs on exactly how much electricity has cost me, as most charging is done at home, but I have not spent anything on maintenance. Since purchasing the Leaf we have upgraded the battery twice – about a year ago to a 90% 30 kWh and recently to a 90% 40 kWh battery. This has increased our range considerably and has opened up places such as the West Coast (from Dunedin).

When the time comes to replace the Leaf, I will probably the cheapest one I can find in the 3-5 year old range and upgrade immediately to at least a 40 kWh battery, and even a 62 kWh one if possible.

Willem D.
24 Apr 2021
Battery replacement

Hi Chris. you made some interesting comments, however as far as I know you can only replace a Leaf battery with similar KW battery. Not sure that you can put a 40kw in a 30kw car, or 62kw as you mentioned and it is expensive. Around $20K I believe?

Peter and Sarah
08 Sep 2020
Torque vs Power

One thing your article didn't mention was the difference in torque between the models. Yes, the EV has a more powerful motor (100kW) but what makes EVs such fun cars to drive is the torque, which allows rapid acceleration. The EV has way more torque, and it's so easy to pass others uphill on the Remutaka road, or kick off from the lights. A lot of drivers think EVs are like upmarket golf carts, which is a long way from the truth.

Jonathan H.
05 Sep 2020
Compared to a plain petrol vehicle?

No comparison is made to a petrol vehicle. A week of travel for $23 of petrol, about 10-12 litres depending where you buy it, in a similarly sized petrol-powered car (let's say, 1.8L, 100 kW, and 7.5 L/100km) would equate to about 140 km of travel. That's less distance than one charge cycle of the EV will give you. The EV would travel 140 km for somewhere around $2 to $3, so although you do mention that the EV would take you 25 years to pay off the difference between it and the PHEV, how long would it take you to pay off a petrol-powered car, considering the thousands of dollars of petrol you're no longer buying each year? I would wager, a lot less than 25 years.

William O.
06 Sep 2020
EV comparison

Great points made. Owners tend to forget wet fuel costs, maintenance, & range comparison when doing the sums. Initial cost has to be amortised over the projected lifetime/ownership of the vehicle. If you replace them after say 6/10 years, then the sums become different in regards residual value at replacement. Personally I would never buy a brand NEw car, but a dealer demo, or a dissed car, (disappointed first owner), with low(under 10),ks. Best value for money, other than an import of a similar vehicle, but they are generally 3+ years old by then.

David C.
05 Sep 2020
The Hyundai Nexo

Given it looks like the Consumer's Institute has a good relationship with Hyundai, is there any chance you'll be able to get a look at the Nexo when it arrives here? Given it's a hydrogen fuel cell powered electric car, it really is a piece of significant, next generation vehicle technology. Alternatively, do you have any news about the other Hydrogen cars available at the moment, like the Honda Clarity or Toyota Mirai? NZ might be a very good place for them, given we can produce green Hydrogen...

Jonathan H.
05 Sep 2020
Hydrogen is not the future

Hi, Years ago I used to be a hydrogen nut. A fuel that only emits water! But now I'm not. Hydrogen is the fossil fuel industry, desperate to re-purpose their colossal infrastructure, about to be ruinously stranded over the next 20 years by the combination of exponential growth in solar, EV and battery tech. Because it is the smallest thing that can have electrons orbiting it, hydrogen escapes from all storage devices, eventually, and escapes into space. On its way there, it passes through the ozone layer, where some of it will permanently react with ozone to form water (3H₂ + O₃ → 3H₂O). This never gets mentioned anywhere, and seems to only be known to meteorologists. The most efficient, densest, and safest(!) way to store hydrogen is to bond it to carbon, which brings us back to square one, where > 90% of the world's hydrogen is split from natural gas (CH₄). Hydrogen is thus a massive waste of energy, resources, investment and time, for very little gain. I really wish it were otherwise, but H₂ cars will just carry on melting the ice caps and inundating coastal property.

David C.
22 Apr 2021
Hydrogen Fuel Cells

You might want to look at where Hydrogen storage technology is heading, as a lot of it is moving towards things like metal hydrides that have nothing to do with carbon, have very long lives, and operate at lower pressures while still getting reasonable energy density. As a local residential application: https://lavo.com.au/ and there are more portable solutions in the works, and suitable for heavy transport now.

We have the opportunity to produce green hydrogen using renewables here, while trying to stay clear of the network upgrade required for hyper-fast-charge conventional battery systems - the chargers look to be drawing up to 1MW for some of the recent technologies that will get EV batteries to 90% charge in less than 10 minutes. Not sure the network will cope with ranks of those in our towns.

Jonathan H.
13 Aug 2021
Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Yeah I know about metal hydride storage, but the cars you ask Consumer to look at are using H₂ gas tanks compressed to 70 MPa because hydride storage is still largely a lab experiment. While H₂ might have a future in aviation or shipping, the huge amounts of electricity needed to produce green or blue hydrogen in NZ are far better off being dumped directly into car batteries at night. Hydrogen needs to be split from methane or water, captured, compressed, stored, transported to where it is needed, and then combusted at 30% efficiency, or run through a fuel cell at 65% efficiency at best. While 4kg of H₂ does not sound like much, the 500 km of range it will give the Hyundai Nexo, using the best possible scenario of NZ-generated, green or blue-reformed H₂ fuel made using 100% renewable electricity, would be achieved in a battery EV using only half of the electricity. And we haven't even considered the CO₂ emissions and inevitable CH₄ loss to the atmosphere when reforming natural gas into (grey or blue) hydrogen.

Daniel M.
04 Sep 2020
Beware of RUC from Dec 2021 (if nothing changes)

If looking at these figures in terms of long-term savings it is important to take into account potential Road User Charges (RUC). Currently the RUC exemption for EV and PHEV is due to end Dec 2021. If no changes are made to the current policies, and with the current COVID-19 focus it is all rather uncertain, then EVs and PHEVs will start paying $76/1000km. For the 250 km in this trial that equates to $19. In this case this would mean that the EV weekly running costs would increase to $31.39 and be more expensive that the Hybrid which doesn't have to pay RUC (as is covered by the petrol excise duty). The PHEV would also have to pay RUC and would therefore have a total cost of $40.58 but would then be able to claim back the petrol excise tax. Several MPs are aware that it is illogical that efficient petrol cars will be taxed less than EVs, but whether anything will change is a different matter.

William O.
06 Sep 2020
RUC Taxes

Good point made about the looming tax crisis. BUT, surely if this country's governing body is serious about our environment, they will extend/alter the tax on EVs, fuels, etc, to mirror their preferences in the economy. The trouble is the way the E-Utilities are set up in NZ, they are being used to subsidise low marginal tax rates, as a user pays tax across the board,(GST, SOE dividends, etc), as is the petrol tax vs RUC rates. They would be best to set up a scale of RUCs more commensurate with cost/harm done to environment/infrastructure/tax spread in order to fairly burden each user with a share of overall costs. Can be done with todays access to computer-based costing & modelling.
And PLEASE do not include the scam of buyable/sellable pollution charges as per the current scheme. Corporates found a way to buy their way out of liability/responsibility for their pollution- full-stop !