New Zealand’s recently-declared ‘climate emergency’ and the government’s requirement that all government departments optimise their car fleets by purchasing electric vehicles, or hybrid EVs, within the next five years has thrown this topic back into the spotlight.

While petrol prices are steady at the moment, it’s inevitable at some point they will start rising again, which makes fully electric (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) cars more attractive. For those of us who are environmentally-conscious, electric cars are much better for our planet too, particularly with over 80% of New Zealand’s electricity generated from renewable sources.

Going electric is an increasingly good option to future-proof your finances while making a greener choice for the planet at the same time. 2020 has seen a massive jump in the popularity of electric vehicles, and we are on track to finish the biggest sales year ever.

Given this, it’s an excellent time to review the features of electric and hybrid cars and consider when the right time might be to buy one.

Fully electric vehicles (EVs)

Fully electric vehicles run just on battery charge, with an electric motor. You charge your battery and drive it until you need to charge it up again. An electric vehicle can present a significant up-front cost, but it is a great long-term investment for your wallet and the planet.

An electric vehicle’s reliance on charging stations means it’s important to consider their availability in your area, or on any routes you plan to travel. It’s also important to consider how you will use your vehicle. If you often take long car journeys, it may be challenging to locate a charging station in different areas. But, if you are looking for a city run-around, an electric vehicle may be a great choice for you, with greater charging station availability.

Plug-in hybrid (PHEV)

If you live in an area that has reduced access to charging stations or tend to take long road trips frequently, a hybrid vehicle may be a great choice for you. That’s because plug-in hybrids run entirely on battery for the start of trips, but switch over to a petrol engine when your battery runs out of power.

A plug-in hybrid is a great compromise, making the most of electric power for short trips locally, and allowing you to take longer petrol-powered trips as you would in a regular car.

Here are six reasons from Gen Less why we should consider going electric:

  1. Slash greenhouse gas emissions. EVs emit 80% less C02 than an equivalent petrol vehicle as electricity in NZ is 80% renewable.
  2. Lower lifecycle emissions. Battery EVs emit 60% fewer climate-changing emissions over their life.
  3. Cut out petrol station visits. Charging at home is convenient, and there are public chargers about every 75km on most NZ state highways.
  4. Cheaper to run. Charging at home off-peak is like buying petrol at 40c a litre.
  5. A zippy, quiet ride. EVs apply full power as soon as you accelerate and there’s no engine noise.
  6. Plug into any power point. You can charge inside, or outside, in any weather.

As the world moves towards greater sustainability, making a move to a hybrid or electric vehicle could be a good choice for your next vehicle upgrade.