What is an EV?

‘EV’ stands for electric vehicle – the term covers both battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and more common plug-in hybrid models (PHEVs). In New Zealand, the Ministry of Transport defines an EV as a vehicle with a plug for electric charging. 

Both types are eligible for the Clean Car Discount – with a rebate of up to $8625 if you buy an eligible new BEV.

With low or no emissions, EVs have a real impact on your carbon footprint – as well as being great cars to own and drive.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) – zero emissions, zero noise ​

An EV that’s fully electric runs on a rechargeable battery, which powers an electric motor. This type of EV has zero tailpipe emissions, and second-hand or new models are eligible for the highest rebates under Clean Car Discount rules.

BEVs are defined by what they don’t have – and don’t need:

  • No petrol, diesel or oil
  • No exhaust
  • No clutch or gears
  • No spark plugs
  • No roaring noise or vibrations

Smooth, quiet, clean

When you drive a fully electric car, you’ll have smooth acceleration, quiet travelling, low running costs – and zero emissions. You can enjoy your music and appreciate the scenery without any engine noise or smell getting in the way.

Simple engine, simple maintenance 

There are only around 20 moving parts in an electric engine, compared with nearly 2,000 in an internal combustion engine (ICE), so your EV will need a lot less maintenance. You won’t need a tune-up or oil change, and your fully electric car is so quiet you won’t disturb the neighbours when you come home late or drive out early.

Charge anywhere 

Using your home power supply makes it easy to recharge your EV. Many owners choose to plug in at night and depending on the model, you could wake up to a charged vehicle. You can also recharge at fast charging stations when you’re on the road, which can take as little as 30 minutes to get you to an 80% charge.  

Just like a fuel gauge, your dashboard tells how much battery life there is, and even better, you’ll see how many kilometres you can travel.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) – more options for long-range drivers

If you often travel long distances, a fully electric car may not be quite right for you. That’s where the PHEV comes in – a happy marriage of petrol and electricity lets you do your ordinary town driving using your electric motor, but gives you extra range when you’re on a long trip. 

Depending on the model, the petrol engine either turns the wheels or recharges batteries that power the electric motor doing the work. Either way, PHEVs help you reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and your impact on the environment.

Smaller batteries, more maintenance  

There are some disadvantages with PHEVs compared with fully electric vehicles. Most of these are to do with running the petrol engine. Just like a petrol or diesel car, the petrol engine components will need more maintenance, have engine noise, produce emissions and require the purchase of petrol.

Because it has a smaller battery than a fully electric car, you’ll generally have less battery range in a PHEV, so you’ll rely more on fossil fuels for longer journeys. This means you only reduce your CO2 emissions for the time the car is running on the electric battery. Even so, most town driving will be emission-free and quiet, and charging is easy – you can recharge your car’s battery at any power outlet, and it will also recharge every time you brake (regenerative braking).

Conventional hybrids (HEVs) – a step in the right direction​

Conventional hybrids were some of the first to enter the market, but they’re not EVs. 

They produce fewer emissions than petrol or diesel vehicles, but you can’t plug them in – there is no way to recharge your battery except through petrol and braking.

Because they do produce lower emissions, from 2022 they will be included in the Clean Car Discount programme, but attract lower incentives than other types of EV.  

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