MY VIEW ON THE EV REVOLUTION - PAUL O'CONNOR

In the beginning, there was the electric car, then came along Henry Ford and the petroleum salesman and they took over. But anyway, today I am reflecting on the discussions I read on social media about electric vehicles. I do get a bit riled up when I read some of the arguments against EVs. I don't love all EVs but I do know a fair amount about them having bought the first hybrid car into NZ back in 2001 for my car yard REM cars.

I read comments posted by people who can't cope with change. The simple fact of the matter is the rest of the world is changing, so you can either accept or reject it. And if you reject the idea of 'green' vehicles, well petrol cars are going to disappear and that's a fact. Doesn’t matter what you think, the electric vehicle revolution has been decided by successive governments around the world and even the manufacturers are jumping on board.

Nissan had the EV market all to itself for a while. The popular Nissan leaf isn't a particularly beautiful EV (in my opinion) but, to be fair, they have been the most accessible EV in the marketplace. It is well priced and for a lot of people driving around town, it presents a very cheap alternative to a motorbike. You can drive for about three cents a kilometre in terms of vehicle costs which is like paying $.30 a litre petrol. That's why I own one. The other electric vehicle that many people think of is Elon Musk’s Tesla brand. People see these expensive long-range electric cars as more of 'a piece of technology' than a mobility device. And on the subject of Tesla, let me tell you about the new Tesla model three. The price has dropped down to $67,000 and if you take off Auntie Jacinda’s $8245 rebate then you are looking at about $60,000 for a car that will do 350 k’s on a single charge. I see it becoming the Toyota Corolla of electric cars pretty quickly and I love all the clever gadgets inside. I've been in the car industry all my life but even the average person will be simply amazed by it. Change is coming and you will see a huge choice of well designed, affordable, desirable EVs and hybrids arriving in NZ within the next year or two.

Car manufacturers from all over the world have EV's in production so the flow down to NZ will be thick and heavy. Volkswagen has launched a couple of models - lookout for the ID 4 and the ID 3 at GVI and Drive EV dealerships. The ID 4 is an SUV about the size of a Toyota RAV-4 and it will do 500+ k’s on one charge. You won't need to wait around all day - it will charge at a rate of nearly 1000 km/h on a supercharger. It will do everything you want silently and with electric precision. The VW ID 3 is a bit smaller in size (like a Golf) and it’ll do 400 k’s pretty easily as well.

Keep a lookout for EVs and plug-in hybrids heading our way from Skoda, BMW, Seat, Volvo, Ford, Mazda, MG, Mitsubishi, Renault, Hyundai, Porsche. And then we get into the Chinese market, makers you’ve never heard of like BYD, Neo and more. The impressive BYD campus is close to half the size of Christchurch and they have some phenomenal technology. I encourage you to look on YouTube and other sites just to check out the BYD range of cars - they will knock your socks off. I'm currently waiting for my new MG to arrive!

So, there is a tremendous amount of support for a change from petrol and diesel vehicles, but there are always camps spouting fake news. I have to say that my ears start to bleed when I listen to people complaining how EVs are going to overload the electricity grid, that there won't be enough power supply, or electricity prices will soar or supply runs out and the whole world going to be relying on Indonesian coal. Well, that’s not quite true I’ve read that EECA estimates if all light vehicles in New Zealand were electric, our current total electricity demand would increase by around 20%1. This could be accommodated within New Zealand's current electricity grid, even allowing for the uncertainties of renewable generation, provided the majority of EVs are charged during off-peak periods. And also in government modeling2 shows that even when we are all driving electric cars, it’s easy enough to power them all on sustainable renewable electricity.  We have more than enough power for us all to drive an EVI tend to roll my eyes when I read comments like these on social media and imagine how peaceful life will be for the planet when the demand for oil from the Middle East slumps. 

I read the arguments people put forward about the disposal of the batteries when the car is finished. Well, the good news is that the batteries can be re-purposed and battery technology is improving. Not only do the Nissan Leafs have the smallest batteries that electric vehicles are ever going to have, the capacity is also improving. If you bought a Nissan leaf 24 km/hour battery after about 10 years of use that might be down to 50% state of health and be only 12 kWh of capacity. 12 kWh is still quite a bit of electric storage and can be repurposed as a storage battery for solar power capture in your domestic house. New batteries such as those produced by Tesla and BYD are showing a much smaller rate of degradation. So, a 70-kWh battery from the Tesla may take up to 20 years to drop down to 35 to 40 kW of remaining energy storage in that case that car is still capable of probably well over 200 to 300 km in range. I'd imagine that they'd still be a great buy in the second-hand market. Still very much usable for cars bought by younger people entering the car market. On top of that, an electric motor does last longer than a petrol combustion engine ever could.

The electric revolution is coming, it will affect us all and life with an EV vehicle will be a little different. No more visiting a petrol station and shelling out $150 to fill up the tank! Park at home and plug your car in. So, what are the basics about how you charge one of these cars?

There are two ways of charging your electric vehicle, the most common is AC charging which is your normal three-pin socket at home. I sell loads of the three-pin charger that plugs into your wall. This will charge the average car about 10 to 11 km/h. An overnight charge could put in maybe 90 km’s range on your car. And for a lot of people that’s gonna be plenty and I know that because I’ve sold just over 12,000 of those charges to people all around New Zealand Australia and the South Pacific. Another option for charging at home is using a caravan charger or socket and you can charge your car at 16 A/ hour. That works out 3.6 kW an hour or 20 to 23 k’s an hour, which is pretty good and doesn’t cost a lot of money. I'm selling NZ compliant EVSE because the Japanese domestic charger customers get with a Japanese imported EV vehicle is not compliant in New Zealand. I ensure that my EV Power products are manufactured in a way that ensures they do comply with NZ regulations.

I would recommend getting a wall charger for your home. It's kinder to your domestic wiring. My EV Power wall chargers charge your car up to 32 Amps. This means a wall charger can charge your car close to 400 km overnight. Those big DC charges that you see around town are faster, possibly a bit more convenient but 2 1/2 times the price of doing it yourself. Very handy if you’re going away or you’re in need of a quick pick up a lot more expensive than doing it at home and charging yourself. I've noticed that more of these have been installed in the country this year - currently, these go from 50 kW/h all the way up to the hyper-charger which will charge a car at 350 kW/h. A late-model Tesla could charge at nearly 1000 km/h. Imagine being able to charge your modern EV 300 km in a quarter of an hour or thereabouts. A car with that fancy technology isn’t available to the masses yet, but it is coming. Hyundai has a vehicle coming that will charge that speed and will travel for nearly 600 km on a charge.

At OEM Wholesale we make time to talk with our EV owners about their situation, and we use simple, well-known terminology accepted internationally. EVCharging101 starts with plugs. Every EV owner needs to understand that when you charge your electric cars at home (on AC charge) there is only two types of plug - Type One and Type Two. Type One is used primarily in Japan and United States, so if you import a Nissan leaf it will have a Type One plug on it. If the car is sold here in New Zealand the car will come with a Type 2 plug.

My view on electric vehicle charging has always been that the revolution is coming. It's arrived in 2021 and you can either jump on board now or in the future, either way, you’re gonna have very little choice shortly. 

1. https://www.eeca.govt.nz/our-work/research/research-papers-and-guides/electric-vehicles-and-aotearoa/

2. https://www.transport.govt.nz//assets/Uploads/2021-07-05-EV-RUC-Exemption-for-website-QAs-1.pdf

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