A month of battery powered travel

Our first month of EV travel has been busier than we expected with the Zoe clocking up 2,175km.

We certainly did not intend to travel quite so many kilometres but family needs had us on the road a lot more than planned. We were thankful that we only needed to pay $57 for our electricity rather than the $418 that filling up with petrol would have required.

The Indian Char Bagh Garden in the Hamilton Gardens were briefly visited with the grand children – we have made a note to return and spend some time here in spring or summer

A consequence of these high kilometres (for us) has been a compression of the time available to ‘learn the ropes’. We now have firm favourites for our top-up charges on the trip between Kerikeri and Auckland (they all currently offer free charging) and are getting pretty expert at calculating the range we will get. On the hilly country roads Zoe’s computer is telling us that we are still ‘fast’ drivers (but not ‘sporty’) and as such we are only getting between 72-77% of our available range of around 300km. We rarely use our car in Kerikeri but in our travels around Auckland we are getting close to the ‘gold standard’ with around 95% of the range. I suspect our rural travels won’t improve much.

The Zoe sits on a free Northpower charging point in Mangawhai while we fuel up at a nearby cafe. The Oaty Cookies were excellent and the flat white comes with my endorsement – it was good.  

Ruth has got into the swing of things and is now expert at determining what charging stations we can use, how to get the power flowing into the battery and what getting ICED means. ICED is when a car with an Internal Combustion Engine parks in your EV charging spot. We have not worked out what the appropriate course of action should be. Leave a polite note to help to educate the person or slash their tyres. Unfortunately under the latter scenario you become the villain so I suspect pointless notes are the order of the day. Parking behind them and charging for an hour could be an option if the cable will reach – so far it has not been a huge problem.

The dashboard is a little different. “Ready” is the only sign that the engine is ‘running’. The Fuel tank (left) shows your remaining range while on the right hand side you have your trip details – 226km travelled on 35kilowatts of battery power. Instead of a rev counter the semi circular gauge shows how much power you are currently drawing from or adding back into the battery.

The next step in our education will be undertaking some genuine touring that involves traversing areas that are not so well kitted out with charging infrastructure that suits our vehicle. When I look at the map, that incorporates a fairly large slice of the country. When thinking about booking an AirBnb property you need to determine; 1. can you get the car close enough to run a cable to a power point and 2. is the owner friendly to your needs.

Ruth has a choice of three cables at this Waikato Energy charging point in Te Kauwhata. She is checking that the plug configuration matches ours. The only mis-step was that on this station you needed to push “start’ on the touch screen.

Camp sites are generally not a problem, we are set up to plug into a powered tent or caravan site. Hotels & Motels pose a similar problem to AirBnB although some of the more forward thinking hotels already have EV charging outlets installed. In some cities charging points have been installed in some public parking buildings so you can charge up for the cost of parking in the building. Public charge points are mushrooming so I hope that any inconveniences we experience are going to be fairly short term in nature. This summer is probably going to be our only challenging year.







  1. So interesting and a huge thank you for writing about your experience with your new electric car. Portugal has yet to get the infrastructure installed for this form of transportation but I suspect, with its emphasis on alternative forms of energy, it won’t be long. At the cost of gas, it wouldn’t take much to talk us into switching to an electric vehicle! Anita


    1. Hi Anita & Richard
      Our petrol costs are also very high and the outlook is for them to rise even further. With the EV it is not just petrol costs that you are saving but also maintenance – no oil and many fewer moving parts. The infrastructure here has gone from virtually nothing a couple of years ago to being quite reasonable now and it is improving at a very fast pace. The pave will quicken as Governments have to meet Greenhouse Emissions targets which most are falling woefully short of. We may save enough carbon to make that trip to Portugal a little less guilt ridden.


  2. So glad to read about this and love the informational photo of the dashboard. How did you learn everything you needed to know before you took off on your first ride? Looks like a fun challenge and you both are truly adventurous – and forward thinking – to plunge in.


    1. We didn’t. I attempted to absorb the manual info but in the end it was a case of learn as you go. It looks more challenging than it is and as a ‘bonus’ I am learning a lot about electricity – electrifying stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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