Can they really be this good?
This is a guest post from our South Island Regional Manager, Martin Amott, who is an EV and all-round Green Cabs enthusiast!
As an early adopter of a fully electric vehicle I’m still scratching my head wondering where the small print is…. Fun, relaxing to drive, faster than their fossil burning equivalent, better for the environment and ridiculously cheap to run.
And whilst there are all these amazing benefits, the big question I’m always asked is “what’s the range” to which I generally respond with “how far do you need to go?” Very few people need to commute over 150km a day - a commute I do daily in my 2016 30 kWh LEAF - but generally, the norm is more like 30km a day 😉
Believe it or not, EV’s are good at much longer trips than this. I was recently invited along to relocate a new 40kWh Leaf from Auckland to Queenstown - a trip which on paper looked nearly impossible given the recent bad press about 40kWh LEAF batteries overheating and the two-day time frame we had given ourselves to do the trip. I joined for the final leg; Christchurch to Queenstown, a drive I have done on many occasions in my 30kwh LEAF, however always starting with a cool battery and a 100% charge. On this occasion we were leaving with 80% charge and a semi-warm battery. So again, on paper a trip which was certainly not doable in a 40kWh LEAF, at least in the time frame we had given ourselves, reason being the battery would not cope with the multiple fast charges.
Surprisingly, the battery held up well and we made it easily. Not only was it easy, but it only took a total of 36hrs to drive from Auckland to Queenstown. By current EV standards I think that is amazing, but it just gets better - the total cost to drive the 1500km trip (excluding the ferry) was only $140!
The sweet spot for charging on the 40kWh LEAF to keep the battery temperature down for longer trips over 500km is between 40% & 90%. Yes, this does restrict you as you are only using 50% of the total battery, which is approximately 20kWh, however with the infrastructure for DC fast charging this is very easy.
So if they are good for long trips how are they as taxis? EV’s are perfectly suited to run as taxis - they are quiet and comfortable to travel in as a passenger and from a drivers’ perspective much easier to drive.
I drove the Christchurch to Queenstown leg of the Auckland trip, arriving in Queenstown at 11pm, and feeling like I’d been driving for only a couple of hours. The big benefit an EV has over a hybrid taxi are the reduced overheads and less time spent off the road for mechanical servicing. An EV is approximately $7k a year cheaper to run than the equivalent hybrid Toyota Camry!
If you're curious to know more travel in one of our fully electric taxis in either Wellington or Queenstown and get our drivers feedback… The future is green, the future is electric 😉