Print this page

Electric vehicles go the distance

  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

If you think you can’t go places in an electric vehicle, you’re wrong.

The latest data from Flip the Fleet, a coalition of over 1,150 EV owners from all round New Zealand, shows that electric vehicles are actually driven further each year than combustion vehicles.

The annual average distance travelled across all models of EVs is 14,100 km/year, a quarter more than the 11,500 km/year for combustion vehicles.

Kathryn Trounson, Chairperson of The Better New Zealand Trust, couldn’t be happier!

“Our Trust provides test drives to let people experience what a joy EVs are to drive. These data show that the switch to electric cars is also saves them money while reducing New Zealand’s carbon footprint,” Kathryn commented.

Even the very earliest Nissan Leaf model with a small battery is travelling more than the average for combustion vehicles. The average single trip away from base and back again in a New Zealand EV is 48 km, whereas NZTA estimates that the combined distance of all the day’s trips in a combustion vehicle averages only 28 km. One of the 30 kWh Leafs contributing to the Flip the Fleet data base is travelling 45,000 km a year.

“The data well and truly busts the myth that EVs aren’t a practical substitute for a conventional car,” Kathryn went on to say.

The higher average distance travelled by EVs doesn’t surprise the Flip the Fleet researchers.

“Many EV owners also retain one of their old combustion vehicles as back-up, but then concentrate most of the family’s travel in the EV to save money and enjoy a better ride. Families often run a simple rule. Whoever is going furthest that day, gets to take the EV. That way the EV becomes the family workhorse and the household’s transport costs and transport emissions are minimised,” said Daniel Myall, Flip the Fleet’s statistician.

“EVs are particularly good for people with a reasonably long commute to work. We think some people are doing the sums and realising that even though a typical EV costs more to buy, they can quickly regain that through avoided petrol costs.”

Flip the Fleet estimates that a commuter doing a 100 km round trip to work, five days a week, is saving $90 per week in fuel and maintenance costs.

The sums in favour of an EV are getting even better with the recent petrol price hikes.

The Mitsubishi Outlander, a Plug-in Hybrid, averaged 19,000 km per year – the furtherest of any EV model reporting to Flip The Fleet.

At the lower end was the Nissan eNV200, the only readily available second-hand electric van for light commercial use in New Zealand so far. Its average travel per year is just 9,400 km.

“The next big breakthrough we are look forward to is an inexpensive light commercial electric van that can travel a decent distance with a heavy load of passengers or gear on board,” said Daniel.

Flip the Fleet is a citizen science project that provides scientifically reliable information on the benefits and constraints of electric vehicles in New Zealand. The project is partly funded by the government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Participation is free and all New Zealand’s electric vehicle owners can enrol at

  • Source: A Flipthefleet release