EVs go the distance
The latest data from Flip the Fleet, a coalition of over 1,150 EV owners from all around New Zealand, show that electric vehicles (EVs) are driven further than combustion-engine vehicles each year.
The annual average distance travelled across all EV models is 14,100 km/year - a quarter more than the 11,500 km/year for combustion-engine vehicles.
Kathryn Trounson, chairperson of the Better New Zealand Trust, couldn’t be happier: “Our trust provides test drives to let people experience what a joy EVs are to drive. This data shows that the switch to electric cars also saves them money while reducing New Zealand’s carbon footprint.”
Even the earliest Nissan Leaf model, which has one of the smaller EV batteries, is travelling more than the average for combustion-engine vehicles.
The average single trip away from home-base and back again in a New Zealand EV is 48 km, whereas the NZTA estimates that the combined distance of all the day’s trips in a combustion vehicle averages only 28 km. One of the 30 kWh Leafs contributing to the Flip the Fleet database is travelling 45,000 km a year.
“The data well and truly busts the myth that EVs aren’t a practical substitute for a conventional car," added Trounson.
The higher average distance travelled by EVs doesn’t surprise the Flip the Fleet researchers.
“Many EV owners also retain one of their old combustion vehicles as a back-up, but then concentrate most of the family’s travel in the EV to save money and enjoy a better ride," said Daniel Myall, Flip the Fleet’s statistician.
"Families often run a simple rule. Whoever is going furthest that day, gets to take the EV. That way the EV becomes the family workhorse and the household’s transport costs and transport emissions are minimised.
“EVs are particularly good for people with a reasonably long commute to work. We think some people are doing the sums and realising that even though a typical EV costs more to buy, they can quickly regain that through avoided petrol costs.”
Flip the Fleet estimates that a commuter doing a 100km round trip to work, five days a week, is saving $90 per week in fuel and maintenance costs.
The sums in favour of an EV are getting even better with the recent petrol price hikes.
The Mitsubishi Outlander, a plug-in hybrid, averaged 19,000 km per year - the furthest of any EV model reporting to Flip The Fleet.
At the lower end was the Nissan eNV200, the only readily available second-hand electric van for light commercial use in New Zealand. Its average travel per year is just 9,400km.
“The next big breakthrough we are looking forward to is an inexpensive light commercial electric van that can travel a decent distance with a heavy load of passengers or gear on board,” said Myall.
The project is partly funded by the government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).
Participation is free and all New Zealand’s electric vehicle owners can enrol here.