What are the total costs of EV ownership in New Zealand?

First published on 06/04/2022

As the petrol industry faces one of its biggest crises in the last two centuries, more consumers are asking themselves these questions: 

  • How much does an electric vehicle cost in the long term? 
  • Are there any hidden costs after buying an electric vehicle? 
  • How much does it cost to have an EV charger installed at home?

This is what we are here today to find out. Consumers want straight answers, especially when it comes to understanding new technology. So as we prepare to bid fossil fuel cars farewell and get ready to embrace everything EV, what are the key questions that need answers so that we might gain a better understanding of this younger, more sophisticated technology?

Fact: EVs are cheaper to run and maintain compared to petrol powered vehicles

Although the upfront costs of EV ownership are higher compared to petrol cars, electric cars are cheaper to use on the road. The long-term savings the consumer makes on EV maintenance and running costs outweigh the initial higher financial outlay when buying it.

Electric vehicle owners save approximately two thousand dollars a year compared to what is spent running a petrol car. So, the answer to anyone wanting to know how EV ownership impacts petrol bills and other transport costs is around $2,000 per year in savings.

It might interest you to know that the New Zealand transport administration is offering a range of discount policies which will, in turn, reduce the consumers’ up-front costs when buying any electric vehicle.

In New Zealand, the registration of any new or pre-owned EV or hybrid vehicle for first-time owners means you are automatically eligible for the rebate. Additionally, electric vehicle drivers are exempt from Road User Charges up until 2024.


Cost saving incentives for first-time EV buyers

  • The Clean Car Discount Scheme - a government initiative that ensures low emission cars are more affordable for consumers.
  • The commitment to transport sector decarbonisation.
  • If a low emission vehicle is registered for the first time after April 1, 2022, you are eligible for a rebate.
  • If a high emissions vehicle is registered, it incurs a penalty.
  • The maximum rebate for a zero-emission car or EV in New Zealand is $8,625 for a new vehicle; $3,450 for a pre-owned import, but only if the EV has been bought for a price lower than $80,000 (and meets New Zealand vehicular safety standards).
  • High emissions vehicles incur the following fees - $5,175 for new vehicles, and $2,875 for pre-owned imports. 

Do you want to find out the emission valuation of a vehicle before you buy one? The NZ government has a website you can visit that will tell you.

The cost of running an EV is related to a few things

  1. Power costs - like all electrically powered machines, EVs are subject to the fluctuation in power prices. Most Kiwis drive an average of 25 to 30 kilometres a day (or 10,000km per year). At current electricity prices, it means charging an EV costs the equivalent of paying 30 cents for 1 litre of petrol. 
  2. Depending on the model EV you own, you can charge it overnight for an approximate cost of $3 = 100km.
  3. If you use the fast charge option at a public EV charger outlet, the costs change to upwards of $10 = 100km, and the charging time is around 20 minutes long.
  4. An average drive does not use up an entire battery charge, so if you are recharging overnight at home, it can range anywhere from $1 to $3 in price. 
  5. The average EV user driving the national average of 10 to 30km a day and recharging overnight at home pays around $15 per week in power bills. That easily offsets the initial outlay in costs in the mid to long-term.
  6. If your home or business premises are solar powered, these costs do not apply.

In comparison, on average, a petrol car has a consumption of 7.6 L per 100km. That’s $20.5 per 100km given a litre of 91 costs $2.7.

EV cost about $15,000 more than a petrol car, and $11,550 more after a $3,450 rebate.

What will I need to charge my electric vehicle at home?

A lot of new EV owners ask this question. It’s super-convenient to wake up to a fully charged car in the mornings - not to mention skipping those long queues at the petrol station forecourts and endless petrol price increases - but it also means never having to worry about relying on an alternate EV charging service.

As more EVs come onto the car market in an effort to reduce carbon output, consumers want to know the hidden costs associated with electric car ownership. 

  • The best way to charge an EV
  • How much does it cost to charge an EV at home
  • Is it cheaper to install a designated EV charger at a residence or business
  • Is it possible to overcharge an EV battery and does the battery wear out faster if it is continuously kept charged instead of allowing it to run flat every time?

 You can use a standard 3-pin plug to charge your EV

Yes, it is possible to charge your electric car with the power setup you already have established in your home. It’s fine for either an EV or a hybrid to be left to charge overnight, because they have low range, relatively small batteries.

Low powered residential chargers are not always the best solution, especially in one-car families who might need to use their EV in the evenings as well. For more juice that is delivered faster, the best solution is a dedicated wall box charger. These EV charging solutions are becoming increasingly popular, and that isn’t only because they add to a residential property's value. 

 Not only are wall box-style EV chargers the must-have addition to newly built houses, but they can be installed into any existing home where there is an electric car owner. 


A low-power charger with a 1.2kWh charge, takes around 8 hours to fully charge a 16kWh battery (lithium-ion with a range of 80km). 

A high-spec smart charger unit, such as a Mode-3 single-phase wall box charging station that delivers 7.4kWh (at approximately $1,500 for installation + $2,000 retail costs) will have your EV charge in a matter of 45 minutes with the added bonus of raising property valuation at the same time.


The bottomline: (purchasing a new EV + Wall Box charger + Installation + Rebate VS New petrol car). Petrol: Based on $2.7/L, and 7.6L /100km. Breakeven after 60,000km.

cost of ev ownership

Please note: 

As the average New Zealand household spends around $50 per week on fuel - with no benefit of adding to a home’s value (which worked out at $2500 a year according to petrol prices in 2019), a wall charger pays for itself quickly, even when you don’t take the value a wall charger adds to a property’s value. If you are a landlord, a wall charger increases rental value too.

When looking at time-wise and cost-effectiveness, having a built-in wall charger on your property that has been installed according to current electrical health and safety recommendations is a win-win - nothing beats installing an EV charger in your own home. 

EV charger installation is an all-round investment because it doesn’t depreciate in value; it saves you time and is also very convenient. 

Is it impossible to overcharge the battery in an electric vehicle?

EVs have a built-in monitoring system that includes battery management. This makes sure the system deactivates when the battery is fully charged so it no longer uses power. 

If you still have range left on your battery, it is not necessary to charge your EV every night. 

If you are planning to leave your EV unused for an extended period, there is a Deep Sleep mode you can activate. This means you can leave the vehicle without driving it for as many days as you like. 

Can I only recharge my EV when the battery is flat?

You can charge your EV at any time but remember not to keep it topped up when there is no need, as this might shorten the battery life, depending on the make and model EV you own. 

Rapid charging at home or overnight charging - it’s really up to you which one is better suited to your lifestyle. EVs are here to adapt to your vehicle needs, so choose the method of charging that suits you best.