Quick Guides

The documents linked to below provide a quick 2-page introduction to the vehicles in our rental fleet. The guides are intended for first-time drivers of an electric car and contain everything you need to know to get on the road, as well as some tips on how to drive efficiently and information on the different options for recharging.
1. Nissan Leaf (Gen 1)
2. Nissan Leaf (Gen 2) – S
3. Nissan Leaf (Gen 2) – X or G
4. Mitsubishi i-Miev (2012)

 

Location Guides

The documents linked to below provide a quick 2-page introduction to the vehicles in our rental fleet. The guides are intended for first-time drivers of an electric car and contain everything you need to know to get on the road, as well as some information on how to recharge your car.
1. Location Guide – Waiheke Island (Surfdale)
2. Location Guide – Auckland City (Mount Eden)
3. Location Guide – Auckland Airport (Formula E)

 

Electric Vehicle Q&A

Below are some of the most common questions we are asked, along with our answers. If you have a question related to electric vehicles in New Zealand, which is not listed below, please send us a message via the contact form on our homepage.

 

Do you have any tips for charging a Nissan Leaf?

Charging a Leaf in Nine Steps:
1. Make sure the car is turned or charging won’t start.
2. Pull the black/blue lever located in front of the drivers right knee.
3. There are two ports – a (fast) DC port on the left and a (slow) AC port on the right.
4. For fast DC charging stations, use the CHAdeMO cable supplied at the charging station.
5. For charging at home or public sites, use your portable EVSE or public Type 1 connector.
6. As you plug the car in, watch the three blue lights under front of the windscreen.
7. First light flashing is almost empty up to third light flashing for almost full.
8. If the LEDs are flashing in sequence the charging timer is set.
9. ‘Timer OFF’ button is by steering wheel if needed.

What socket do I need to charge an EV at home?

Many electric vehicles will come with a charging cable that you can use from any standard 10 A socket. According to the new ‘EV Charging Guidelines’ from WorkSafe NZ, these should be rated to charge at no more than 8 A (the lower current is necessary because of the long time it takes an EV to recharge at this power level – in this case 12 hours for a Gen 1 Nissan Leaf).

But if you have purchased an EV and plan to charge somewhere on a regular basis, then we highly recommend having a higher current socket or even a fixed wall charger installed on a dedicated circuit.

For more information check:
1. Charging an electric vehicle (nzta.govt.nz)
2. Electric Vehicle Charging Safety Guidelines (energysafety.govt.nz)

How long do your rental EVs take to charge?

The time required for charging electric vehicles varies widely depending on the car model, age and which port / EVSE you are charging with. The table below lists typical times for the Nissan Leafs in our rental fleet, but these give a rough idea of charging times for many other common makes/models of electric vehicle also:

Vehicle EVSE (Socket Rating) Time
Nissan Leaf
(Gen 1 and 2)
Portable 8 A (10 A) 12 Hours
Nissan Leaf
(Gen 1 and 2)
Nissan EVSE 14 A (16 A) 6-7 Hours
Nissan Leaf
(Gen 1)
DC Fast Charger (50 kW) 45 Mins
Nissan Leaf
(Gen 2)
DC Fast Charger (50 kW) 30 Mins
What charger options are there for electric vehicles?

There are typically four options:

Hard Wired: This is a on the wall unit which can be installed by Blue Cars. It is a 16 amp socket installed to the wall and will allow you no fuss charging when you arrive home.

Mobile Charger: All electric vehicles come with these as a manufactures standard. You will need to ensure the current drawn through the charger is less than the wall socket you will be plugging into. These Chargers are used for when you are travelling away from home and need to top up. They can still be used for normal at home charging. Blue Cars has a variety of these available.

Plug Share: Whilst travelling away from home you may want to take advantage of free electric car charging. PlugShare can direct you to the nearest charging station whether it be a nice persons house or a commercial location e.g. Sylvia Park Shopping Centre in Auckland.

Fast Charging Units: One of our partners Charge.Net.NZ is installing a network of fast chargers around the country. Please visit their website for further details.

What is the optimal speed to maximize driving range?

Basically, the slower you go in an EV, the further you can drive on one charge. In practice the speed makes little difference below 50 km/hr. The driving style is also an important factor, as harder acceleration and deceleration (even with regen) increases the average power consumption and thereby also the current losses in the battery, drive circuits and motor.

As with any vehicle, driving an electric vehicle faster requires more energy to overcome the higher air resistance. With an electric vehicle, however, the effect is considerably more noticable for three separate reasons:
1) Electric vehicles have less range than most people are used to, so any loss of range is more noticable.
2) Unlike a petrol tank which has a fixed volume, the energy stored in a battery reduces the faster you draw it out. So driving faster not only means you use more energy, but also that there is less energy available in your battery – it’s a double-edged sword!
3) Petrol and diesel engines are typically less than 20% efficient (ie – less than 1/5 of your fuel is converted into motion). Designers of cars with these engines can design the peak efficiency to be at higher speeds, so the effects of air resistance don’t become dominant until around 70 km/hr or higher. The electric motors in EVs are much more efficient even at very low speeds, making air resistance the dominant factor from a much slower speed (typically around 30 km/hr).

How far can I drive on a full charge?

In contrast to petrol and diesel vehicles, electric cars are generally more energy efficient in urban driving settings (due to the lower average speeds and their ability to regenerate in stop-go traffic). The driving range of our rental EVs varies widely with driving conditions and style. The table below gives a rough guide as to how far you can practically drive them in fair conditions assuming a mix of urban and highway driving. Driving defensively in ideal conditions you can get even better range, whereas driving agressively with the aircon running will reduce your range by 15% or more.

Mitsubishi i-Miev 80-100 km
Nissan Leaf (Gen 1) 100-120 km
Nissan Leaf (Gen 2) 130-150 km

 

What is regenerative braking?

Regenerative braking means the electric motor is being used as a small power generator and recharging the car’s batteries. In this mode, kinetic energy (ie – moving energy) and/or gravitational energy stored in the car (if you have driven up a hill for example) are converted back into electric power. This electric power is fed back into the battery for using again the next time you need to accelerate or go up another hill. Regeneration effectively slows the car down, and thus why it is known as ‘regenerative braking’, even though you don’t need to apply the brakes for it to start working (another benefit of this is that you reduce wear on your brake pads).

What can I do if I lose my car key?

A Nissan Leaf uses proximity keys. These keys have several useful advantages and save you time in your daily routine, but the downside is that they are very costly to replace and the AA won’t be able to help you get going again if you lose your key. We keep a spare key for each of our rental vehicles, but we advise being extra careful with the one we issues you as we charge $400 – $500 if you lose it (our replacement costs vary between locations).

How many years can I expect an EV battery to last?

Our fleet of Nissan Leafs are mostly approaching six years old and although they have all lost some range compared to when they were new, they are still in relatively good shape and even the worst ones can still manage more than 100 km per charge. As nobody has owned a Nissan for longer than six years, nobody can accurately say how much longer they will last. But given the loss of range and failure rates to-date, we expect most of our cars will last at another 3-4 years and some will probably last even longer. The thing with batteries is that the rarely fail outright. It’s much more likely that the capacity will keep degrading slowly and with it the practical driving range will keep reducing. So long as the range meets your needs you’ll be able to keep driving.

When does turtle mode start? And how far can you go on turtle mode?

Once the battery indicates there is no charge left you an drive for approximately seven miles. This is when the yellow turtle will appear on the screen and the car will prepare to stop. Checkout this video:
http://www.autoevolution.com/news/heres-what-happens-when-a-nissan-leaf-runs-out-of-battery-video-84406.html#agal_0

What is the cost of replacement batteries?

For Nissan Leafs the cost to replace the battery is US$5,000. However, Nissan has an 8 year / 160,000 km / 100,000 miles warranty on new Nissan Leafs. Defects have been extremely rare.

How can I reduce the deterioration of an electric car battery?

Like any battery the EV car batteries deteriorate over time. It is good practice to not fully charge the battery if it is going to sit for long periods of time without use.

Also, whilst fast charging is useful and needed on longer journeys it is harsh on the battery and will reduce the performance over time. Be sparing with your use of fast chargers – it is better to plan your journey ahead of time.

What are the benefits of driving an electric vehicle?
  • Lower operating costs – $3.50-$5 per 100 km
  • Lower maintenance costs – No oil or filter changes, No Cam Belt, Air Filter,  muffler, or Transmission
  • Regenerative braking doubles life of brake pads
  • Less susceptibility to volatile fuel prices and reduced oil dependency
  • Recharging using NZ generated Electricity – Jobs and $$ staying in NZ
    • Significant Balance of Payment benefits to NZ by not buying overseas oil.
    • NZ imports $8 Billion of Oil per year
  • Quieter ride and reduced vehicle noise
  • Reduced noise pollution in our cities – Opportunity to make a “green” choice
  • Convenience (home charging for all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles)
  • No stops at the gas station
  • Reduced emissions of harmful air pollutants and greenhouse gases
  • 78% of Electricity in NZ is renewable
  • Increased energy efficiency
Can electric vehicles travel at the same speed as a conventional vehicle?

Yes, in fact acceleration in many cases is better than Gasoline\Diesel Cars:

Tesla Model S 100% electric 0 to 100 km = 3.1 sec.

Porsche 911 GT3 Turbo Charged 0 to 100 km = 3.5 sec.

Are electric vehicles safe?

All electric vehicle manufacturers must meet stringent safety standards.

The Tesla Model S recently received the highest score every given to any car ever tested by the USA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Nissan Leaf is also a 5 Star NCAP rated car

Can I charge an electric vehicle at home or at work?

Yes! Most EV are capable of charging from a standard 10 amp (2 kW) outlet (8 hours)

Some require a 15 amp (3.5 kW) outlet similar to a caravan or oven (4 hours)

Charging from a 32 amp Juice point charger (2 hours) Charger Cost = $1,200

Fast Charging using 400 Volt DC (44 kW) (0.5 hours) Charger Cost = $23,000

Where else can I charge an electric vehicle?

See www.PlugShare.com or download the App.

Holiday Parks – with caravan plug adapter. Tourist Spots and Restaurants often have outlets.

ChargeNet will install a network of 74 Rapid Chargers – 20 min for 80% Charge.

Approximately 85 charging stations in NZ that the public can access. Many currently free.

Will EV’s overload the Grid?

No – There is ample electricity available within the NZ national grid.

Transpower and Orion have performed a study that indicates that if 50% of the NZ Light Passenger Fleet where EVs, only 4% of NZ total electricity would be required. MBIE suggest this figure may be nearer 8%

Northpower conducted a study in 2012 that confirmed: 70% of the homes in Northland could charge electric cars before the grid was stressed.

More utilization of the grid could lower prices to end consumers