While most residents on Waiheke charge their cars overnight at home, you still need to know about charging when you venture beyond the island.
If charging at home, you just plug into a standard three-pin power socket although that’s pretty slow but OK if charging overnight. EV battery capacity is measured in kWh; the Audi e-tron 50, for instance, has a 71kWh battery, so plugging it into a home socket overnight at 2.2kW means you’d get roughly 18kWh of charge over eight hours. It doesn’t work quite that simply, but as a ballpark figure, that’s enough for about 70km of driving.
While EV battery systems are very good at safe self-management, it pays to have a specialist check out the wiring at your house - it’s worth improving the standard connection. Upgrade to a 7.2kW set-up, and this will get you approximately 250+ km of range from an eight-hour charge for larger battery EVs.
When you’re travelling more than a city route off-island, you can use public charging stations. Many shopping centres offer premium parking spots for EVs, with (usually free) charging up to 22kW. But the standalone DC fast-charging stations are the really grunty ones. Most are 50kW, which means you could charge that Audi e-tron 50 to 80 percent from flat in under an hour. Or in a more likely scenario, a couple of hundred km of range in about half an hour.
There’s now a huge network of these fast-charge stations in New Zealand. Some, like those operated by ChargeNet, require you to have a account. But in this young age of EVs, many power companies are also offering free DC fast-charging facilities to help get buyers hooked on the new technology.
It’s easy to find the stations when you need them. ChargeNet has its own app, but there are also communities you can join like PlugShare that will point you towards the closest stations.
Charging will only get faster into the future. There are already “HyperChargers” appearing in New Zealand, which can operate at up to 300kW – if you have the car to handle it. Different EVs have different maximum charging rates; the Audi e-tron is one of the faster ones, at 120kW for the 5- and 150kW for the 55 model.
If you’re worried about plug confusion, don’t be. An EV will come with the right connection for your home socket and most new models sold here have either a CCS (European) or CHAdeMO (Japanese) connection; most public fast-charging stations offer both and the CCS connector also accept the so-called Type 2 plug used at many of these 22kW chargers.