Electric vehicle (EV) sales have skyrocketed following the recent introduction of the Clean Car Discount. Canny car buyers are lining up to take advantage of the rebate scheme. In fact, according to the Ministry of Transport, a record-breaking 1944 EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) were registered in July. This is up more than 900 on the previous monthly sales high.
Money back is, of course, a great initial incentive to go electric. However, it’s equally important to look ahead and weigh up how you can keep the financial benefits flowing. If you are charging your car every night, the costs could add up if you’re stuck paying high rates. With this in mind, an EV-focused power plan could deliver substantial savings over the longer term. You’ll also need to consider the structure of your home charging set-up.
EV Power Plans: The Best Power Plans for Electric Vehicles. In this article we cover:
- What to keep in mind when signing up for an EV power plan
- The plans on offer
- Battery charging: what are your options?
- How to extend your car’s battery life
- The Clean Car Discount
EV power plans: what to keep in mind
A number of power plans have emerged in recent years that cater for EV charging. These typically employ a day/night tariff structure, which allows for EV charging at night, when electricity rates are cheaper.
The idea is that you can simply plug your car in at night and wake up to a full charge. Under this type of EV power plan, there are actually no restrictions around power use. So although designed for charging up your EV, you can also run your household appliances during the cheaper tariff hours. However, it’s important to keep in mind that higher rates will apply during the day.
As it says on the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s Gen Less website, charging at home off-peak is like buying petrol at around 40c per litre, depending on your retailer.
In weighing up EV power plan features, you should also consider the following:
- Smart meter – a smart meter will likely be required to cater for the tariff structure. If you don’t have a smart meter installed at your property, power providers may install one.
- EV proof-of-ownership – a power provider will likely require EV proof-of-ownership when you sign up, so it’s worthwhile clarifying any specific EV ownership and property conditions.
- Ongoing EV ownership – power providers may conduct checks throughout the duration of your contract to confirm your ongoing EV ownership. If you no longer own an EV, you will likely need to change plans.
- Fixed-term – the EV power plans outlined below are fixed-term plans, meaning you’ll need to commit for a set period of time. If you cancel your contract, it’s likely you’ll have to pay a termination fee.
It is, of course, important to shop around and run the numbers on a range of plans when determining what will be best for your household. Aside from costs, are there any associated benefits on offer with a plan, such as sign-up incentives or bundle offers? Or does a retailer offer rewards programs in conjunction with their plans?
EV power plans: what’s on offer?
The following is a selection of EV power plans designed for EV owners. As advised above, it’s worthwhile shopping around and weighing up the pros and cons of a variety of plans. Further information on plans and eligibility is available on each retailer’s website.
Mercury’s EV Fuel Package is available for residential customers, providing 20% off electricity usage between 9pm and 7am every night (standard plan rates apply outside of these hours).
You or a member of your household will need to either own or have a long-term lease for a plug-in vehicle. The offer, which can also apply for a bach, runs for two years from the date of sign-up.
Further information on Mercury’s EV Fuel Package can be found here.
Meridian Energy’s Electric Car Plan is available for residential customers who own a plug-in EV. The day/night plan is structured so that customers pay different rates for power during the day and at night (between 9pm and 7am). Rates during the day will be higher, but rates at night will be significantly lower.
Meridian advises that the plan is fixed for a term of three years and customers who sign up can get a $300 bill credit. Meanwhile, if you’re not keen on a day/night power plan, you can get in touch with Meridian to discuss your options.
You can check out Meridian’s Electric Car Plan here.
Genesis Energy’s EV plan offers residential customers with an eligible plug-in EV registered to their property cheaper power rates at night (between 9pm and 7am).
Under the plan, which runs for a 12-month fixed term, Genesis Energy’s night electricity rates are 50% lower than its day rates.
Find out more about Genesis’ Energy EV plan here.
Contact Energy states that its fixed-term Good Nights plan, available for residential customers, provides “the perfect time to charge your EV”. The plan offers customers free electricity from 9pm to midnight every night!
Because this plan is not EV specific, there are no requirements around proof of EV ownership or long-term leases.
Further information about Contact’s Good Nights plan can be found here.
→ Related article: Contact Energy’s New Good Nights Plan
Powershop doesn’t advertise any EV power plans. It does, however, advise that customers can request rates for EVs by filling out a form via its website. On the Powershop website, it states that Powershop can “hook you up with cheap off-peak charging rates in most areas, including the main centres”.
Further information is available via the Powershop website.
EV battery charging: what are your options?
Of course, along with an EV power plan, you should carefully consider the configuration of your home charging set-up. As an initial step, you’ll need to confirm that your EV will have ready access to an electricity source (such as in a garage).
Keep in mind the respective charging requirements and capabilities of different types of EVs. As we explore below, the amount of time it takes to charge will depend on the type of set-up you opt for.
Standard household power point
Many EVs come with a portable charging cable that can be plugged into a standard household 3-pin power point. It’s important to note that you should always use the cable that comes with your EV. Avoid other equipment, such as extension cables and adaptors.
This type of charging set-up is suited for overnight charging, having your EV good to go first thing in the morning. However, at a rate of around 10km per hour of charge, it’s on the slow side compared to other options.
If you’re planning on using this type of set-up, it’s still important to consult with an electrician about any modifications that may need to be made.
A wall-mounted unit requires an additional investment on top of your EV, but can bring down your charging times considerably compared to a standard power point. These types of units are a particularly good option to pair with EVs with a greater battery range.
Charging speeds will, of course, vary depending on the capabilities of the unit. You’ll need to decide how fast is fast enough for your needs. Many units offer speeds of around 30-40km per hour of charge, although significantly faster models are available.
A wall-mounted unit, which may also encompass smart charging features designed to limit electricity costs, will need to be installed by an electrician.
Public charging stations provide the fastest charge for your EV. Gen Less advises that fast chargers can add around 100km of range to a battery in 20-30 minutes (typically costing about $10 per 100km).
Information on public charging station locations can be found here.
How to extend your EV’s battery life
It is, of course, important to be mindful of how to maximise your EV’s battery life. This will help to ensure you get full value out of your investment. As with any vehicle, regular servicing, in line with manufacturer advice, is important.
Keep in mind that, while batteries will degrade, a few simple steps can help to maintain capacity for a longer period of time:
- Recharging – do so only when needed (many EV owners only charge every few days).
- Limit extreme heat and cold exposure – when over 30°C, park and charge in the shade or a garage. While in freezing temperatures, follow the manual battery care instructions.
- Fast-charging – frequent fast-charging could decrease battery capacity over time, depending on the EV model and climate (the manual or manufacturer should provide more details).
- Servicing – follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and always use a qualified technician.
- Storage – don’t store an EV with a fully charged battery for a long period of time (follow the manual instructions).
What is the Clean Car Discount?
Introduced in July this year, the Clean Car Discount aims to bring down the cost of buying Electric Vehicles (including plug-in hybrids). The Clean Car Discount comprises a range of rebates for new and used EVs and PHEVs.
The scheme covers cars with a cost under $80,000 (including GST and on-road costs) and a star safety rating of at least three (as published on the Rightcar website).
For eligible EVs, first registered between July 1 and December 31 this year, the following rebates apply:
- Battery EV (zero emission) – new vehicle: $8625; used import: $3450.
- Plug-in hybrid EV (low emission) – new vehicle: $5750; used import: $2300.
Following the purchase of an eligible EV or PHEV you (the registered person) need to apply online for the rebate. To do so you must provide the sale agreement, plates number and your bank account. Waka Kotahi with will then transfer the rebate to your account.
It’s also worthwhile keeping in mind that plug-in EVs are exempt from road user charges until March 31, 2024, which will save you an additional $600 a year on average.
Compare electricity providers with Canstar Blue
If you have an Electric vehicle, or are thinking about getting one, the right power plan is paramount. But finding the right provider can be a real challenge. Less than half of Kiwis believe they are getting a good deal on their power, yet only 12% of us have actually changed our electricity provider in the last 12-months.
If you are looking to change electricity providers, or are unsure if you are getting the best deal, Canstar Blue can help. We rate NZ power companies for customer satisfaction and value for money, see the table below for some of the results, or you can click on the button below for the full results of our survey.
Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction. The table below is an abridged version of our full results, available here.
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Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in April 2021, published in June 2021.
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About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar author Martin Kovacs. Martin is a freelance writer with experience covering the business, consumer technology and utilities sectors. Martin has written about a wide range of topics across both print and digital publications, including the manner in which industry continues to adapt and evolve amid the rollout of new technologies