Planning an EV Road Trip
Choosing a route
Once you’re away from home, you’ll be relying on New Zealand’s network of publicly available charging stations to keep your EV going. Coverage varies significantly around the country, so it pays to check where the chargers are before you leave. Try to space out stops to around 2/3 of your vehicle’s highway range.
Timing your stops
Always ensure you know where your next charge stop is located and about how long you’ll need to charge there. Powerful DC chargers can deliver hundreds of kilometres of range in an hour, while smaller AC stations will require a longer stop to accomplish the same. Use mealtimes, overnight stays, and natural rest stops to minimise the impact of charging on your journey.
Plan for your vehicle
Range is a big selling point for many electric cars for good reason. If your vehicle caps out at 150km, you might have to seriously revise your trip expectations.
When planning your trip, don’t just look at the advertised range of your vehicle! Ensure you’ve tested—or at least researched—the highway range of your car. How far can you travel at 110km/h? What about routes with hills and frequent stop/start sections? This is important, and might make all the difference as you travel New Zealand.
Use our guide to New Zealand’s EVs as a start, then check for yourself to be sure.
Navigating New Zealand’s charging networks
Many of New Zealand’s public chargers aren’t privately owned, but managed by a single network such as Open Loop or Meridian networks. Often, specific routes are managed by a single network, so it pays to check out how their chargers work and how to pay for them.
Plugshare use a smartphone app to help locate and pay for chargers around New Zealand. Download it today to see what kind of chargers are available in your area.
Tesla have installed their own DC Superchargers and AC Destination Chargers at locations all over the country—often in places without any other brand-agnostic public chargers. As of 2020, only Tesla vehicles can use their branded DC Superchargers but some Destination Chargers are accessible to non-Tesla vehicles.
For chargers that are owned and operated by a business, it’s often best to call ahead and check that the charger is available in advance. If it’s a Tesla destination charger, they’ll be able to clarify if it can be used by non-Tesla vehicles. Some places will even let you reserve it before you arrive.
If all else fails, having a portable plug charger is the perfect backup plan to keep your EV going. These chargers can plug into any regular AC outlet in New Zealand. We recommend keeping one in your vehicle at all times. Just like a spare tire, you’ll be thankful for it later.