Electric vehicles are up to the charge

Cartoon by Pembroke

“Range anxiety” is a condition suffered by electric-vehicle owners who are committed to reducing their emissions and transport costs but are nervous about whether their vehicle will make it to their destination and back.

City users, who only travel an average of 28km per day don’t suffer the same anxiety as rural and semi-rural users. Most destinations outside the immediate Wanaka vicinity require trips that clock up the kilometres—and ratchet up the range anxiety.

But no more. The latest data from Flip the Fleet, a coalition of over 1150 EV owners from all round New Zealand, shows that electric vehicles are actually driven further overall each year than combustion vehicles. The average single trip away from base and back again in a New Zealand EV is 48km, whereas NZTA estimates that the combined distance of all the day’s trips in a combustion vehicle averages only 28km.

Flip the Fleet is a citizen science project that provides scientifically reliable information on the benefits and constraints of electric vehicles in New Zealand. In Wanaka, one constraint is the availability of charging stations – there is currently just one located on Ardmore Street.

Dean Dunning, director of Wanaka Solar said; “We have a 24kw Nissan Leaf which we charge at home, and we go to Queenstown and charge in Frankton, where there are two charge stations, so we can comfortably come back across the hill. There are new cars coming out all the time that have a higher range but even if you have a little Leaf, the infrastructure is there to drive around Otago very comfortably.”

As more and more properties in the Wanaka region choose solar energy for their renovations and new builds, more people are switching from combustion to electric. This places more pressure on the EV infrastructure as drivers need reliable availability of charging stations throughout their regions. Flip the Fleet estimates that a driver doing a 100km round trip from Hawea to Cardrona ski field, five days a week, is saving $90 per week in fuel and maintenance costs. The range of the smallest EV, a 24kw Nissan Leaf, has a range of 135km.



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