Call us on 0800 PH VOLT (0800 74 8658) or send us an e-mail: david@voltvehicles.co.nz

Buying your first electric vehicle can be daunting. We all know it is a good idea and need to reduce carbon emissions the world over. Here at Volt Vehicles we aim to give you all the information you need to make the right decision for you. Below are commonly asked questions—if you have one which we haven’t answered here please email us and we will answer it for you and add it to this page.

Running costs

Driving around town the Leaf can be expected to travel 6.5 km / kilowatt hour (kWh). The kWh is the standard unit of electrical power that is sold to homes by power companies. If your power is costing typically 25c / kWh, this equates to 3.85c / km to drive your Leaf, reduced off peak rates can bring this closer to 3c / km. Compare this, for example, to a Hybrid Prius @ 12c / km, or Toyota Corolla @ 17c / km. These figures are approximations based on around town driving and petrol costing $2.20 /l.  Servicing cost are also much less than petrol driven cars, there is no petrol motor to service! See servicing paragraph for more details below.

Charging

It takes 5 – 6hrs for a 100% charge and about 4 – 5hrs for 80% charge. If your battery still has say 50% of charge in it then it will only take half these times to get to your desired level of charge.
The charging cable that comes with the car can be used in New Zealand power sockets, but it does draw approximately 15 amps so this has to be considered when using. Alternatively a dedicated charger can be installed. One company that supplies these is Juice Point, (juicepoint.co.nz). These are wired directly to the main fuse board in your house and can supply up to 32 amps which the later model Nissans Leafs are capable of charging at. This doubled charging current halves the above charging times.
Nissan recommend that that the battery is charged to 80% as much as possible, as opposed to 100%. This will give longer overall battery life and capacity.
Rapid DC charging is possible for the Leaf. This gives a 0 to 80% charge in 30 minutes. These do exist in public places for public use but are not common, yet. More common are the public standard AC charge stations.

Driving Range

The range of the Leaf is about 1/3 of that of a petrol car, which is not an issue because you can ‘fill-up’ wherever there is a 230v socket, e.g. at home , at work, at a friend’s houses etc. The mind set of topping up your battery whenever convenient is the way to optimise your EV driving.
Driving distance of up to 170km on a full charge have been regularly achieved, but under ideal circumstances. 120km to 140km is more realistic. The range is influenced by diving in ECO mode or DRIVE mode, using air conditioning / heating or not, urban or motorway speeds, 80% or 100% charge, driving style etc. Over time one gets better at driving efficiently by learning how to take advantage of regenerative braking and coasting down hills etc. Remembering to top up daily and planning distances is part of optimising an EV.

Battery

The battery itself is a 24 kWh Li-ion pack. The battery pack is made up of 48 individual battery modules, it is not a single sealed unit. As with similar battery packs in hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius, in the unlikely event of a problem occurring it is most commonly  in a single module. Nissan give a service life of the battery of 160,000km or 8 years. They say that over this life the battery may reduce its capacity by up to 20%. Be assured however these batteries are very very reliable and it is extremely rare that they give any problems. The failure rate is less than one in ten thousand, significantly better than a petrol car!

Servicing

Servicing costs are less than a conventional petrol car because there is no petrol engine to maintain, or traditional transmission etc. Servicing can be done at any automotive service centre that has standard modern diagnostic equipment. The servicing requirements are the same as a conventional car, i.e. wheels, brakes etc. and a diagnostic check of the electrical system. Examples of regular servicing are:
Service at 12,000km, or 6 month:

  • Rotate tires
  • Inspect the following:
    • Axle & suspension
    • Brake pads & rotors
    • Drive shaft boots
    • Front suspension ball joints
    • Steering gear and linkage
    • Steering linkage ball joints

Service at 20,000km, or 12 month:

  • Replace brake fluid
  • Replace in-cabin micro filter
  • Rotate tires
    • Axle & suspension parts
    • Brake lines & cables
    • Brake pads & rotors
    • Charging port
    • Drive shaft boots
    • EV Battery Usage Report
    • Front suspension ball joints
    • Reduction gear oil
    • Steering gear and linkage
    • Steering linkage ball joints

A typical annual service on a Nissan Leaf would cost around the $185 incl gst mark, and then standard pricing for items such as brake / steering fluid and coolants.

Nissan NZ service and supply parts for NZ new and imported Leafs. It is the Nissan Leaf accredited Nissan branches that are equipped to do the servicing. With the lack of a petrol engine in the Leafs the servicing is mostly of a diagnostic nature.

Considerations when purchasing

There are several factors to consider when purchasing an electric vehicle. The EV industry is new in New Zealand and it is growing rapidly! The New Zealand government has a goal for 60,000 EVs on the road by 2021. From this you can guarantee infrastructure is being developed by power companies and other private organisations.

Some areas to consider when purchasing are:

How do you use your current vehicle? Commuting to work only/small journeys around town? or Longer distances more often?

Range of vehicle: Do you drive long distances (over 100km) often? or Do you commute short distances?

Costs & Savings: Could you hire a car for longer distances if needed? With the savings from running an EV compared to your current vehicle, could you put this towards hiring a vehicle for longer distances?

Charging: Do you have a mains power socket close to where you park your car? Do you need to charge quickly?

There are many more factors to consider. Please get in touch, we will be happy to answer any of your questions.

NZ Electric Car Guide

This document has been complied by Sigurd Magnusson, Wellington, NZ. 7 March 2017. It is updated monthly. Questions, corrections, feedback to sigurdmagnusson@gmail.com or 021 42 12 08. Please share this document.

NZ-Electric-Car-Guide-14July2017

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