Your take-home message:
Electric vehicles are already a better financial and environmental choice than internal combustion vehicles. The savings in running costs already offset the higher cost of purchasing an EV for most people, so they should switch immediately rather than waiting for prices to fall and new long-range models to enter the market.
This month’s poll:
Many people are keen to switch to electric vehicles but believe it would be better to wait a while longer before their first purchase. Our eleventh 1-click survey explored whether to wait or switch right away.
We set the scene by stating: “The public charging infrastructure is improving, new EV models are getting cheaper and will be able to go further on a single charge, and there are more second hand EVs becoming available for purchase” and then asked “So when should people buy their first EV?” and provided the following five options
(2) About a year from now
(3) 2-5 years from now
(4) 6-10 years from now
The poll was sent on 15 September 2017 to 335Electric vehicle owners who have enrolled in the Flip The Fleet project • 213 participants responded by 22 September • 129 members provided 288 reasons for their choice.
What makes you Click?
Most (76%) of the Flip the Fleet members urge people to buy an electric vehicles right away. Some (15%) suggest waiting just one more year, and 8% think that they will be absolutely ideal to buy 2-5 years from now.
There was a clear acknowledgement that currently EVs are not yet fit for everyone’s purpose and circumstances. EVs are suitable for immediate purchase by more people in urban areas, when the work commute is within the range of current EV models, in regions with relatively good rapid charging support, and where home charging is practicable. Immediate purchase of an EV is particularly advantageous for two-car families where an ICE can be retained for occasional longer trips and the EV used for most daily uses closer to home. However, if the available EVs fit your basic requirement, there is no reason delay, especially since they cost less to run and maintain compared to their internal combustion vehicle counterparts and because they offer significant environmental improvements. Financial and environmental benefits top the main reasons why existing EV owners urge new purchasers to invest right away, but many find them exciting and pleasant to drive, practical and safe (Table 1).
Table 1: Reasons associated with respondents’ choices about whether to buy an EV now, in about a year, or in 2-5 years from now
Some of those advocating immediate purchase emphasise a wider community advantage of early adoption – that the overall uptake of EVs will therefore accelerate and thereby get even better for everyone. Others point to the transitory existing incentives (low road user charges, reduced registration costs, less crowded infrastructure) as being good personal advantages for buying right way and getting your EV paid off faster and to be more enjoyable sooner rather than later. Many respondents pointed out that the savings from buying an EV now can be used to trade-up to a flasher EV when the improved models arrive soon.
Those respondents who emphasised advantages in delaying for a year, or sometimes 2-5 years for some people, most emphasise that provision of rapid charging infrastructure is not yet fully in place and that financial benefits will rapidly improve once the higher capital costs of purchasing and EV come down (Table 1). Nevertheless, even those urging some delay reckon that the current barriers to EV uptake are rapidly being torn down for more prospective purchasers and multiple benefits already far outweigh any disadvantages for many people. Many EV owners wonder why people are holding back and only wish that they themselves had switched to EVs earlier.
The results of this month’s 1-click poll are consistent with earlier surveys by Flip the Fleet (see www.flipthefleet.org/discussion) which showed that an overwhelming majority of EV owners would buy an EV again (1-click survey #1); that although more fast chargers are needed in some parts of New Zealand (1-click survey #6), they are not much fazed by range anxiety (1-click survey #9); they find EVs easier and more pleasant to “refuel” at home than visiting petrol stations; and they care deeply about improving environmental wellbeing, especially by combatting climate change (1-click survey #8).
Your comments in detail:
Below is complete record of your comments from 129 respondents.
No “Best time” to buy: “If you want an EV buy it now and enjoy it — why wait? There will always be a better/cheaper/newer model next year” • “If they are waiting for “The best time” then they probably won’t buy one = procrastinators. They need an incentive” • “You will always be able to dream up reasons for waiting because it’s going to be a rapidly changing market” • “Charging infrastructure will improve. Better choice of car avail. Better range and probably cheaper” • “There are so many improvements just around the corner especially in distance they can travel” • “There’s always going to be better and bigger technology. Just do it now!!!” • “Like computers, you can always think there will always be a better, cheaper EV just around the corner. Just do it now!” • “There will never be a perfect time to buy!” • “Electric cars are a bit like computers and phones, there is never an ideal time to get in the market as there is always something better on the horizon. At some point you just have to do it otherwise you never will. And now is as good a time as any. The sooner you enter the market, the sooner you start making savings and a difference to the environment”
Seize the day: “There is no time like the present. Once you have gone electric you will never want to go back” • “This is a must do…life is too short to delay. Driving a dream car like the Tesla makes it a no brainer for us” • “Reasons would be different for all people. My reason is if I want to own and drive an EV it must be now, because at 90.5 years old I can now and I have now. In whatever years in the future I may not be able to drive. I have a licence that must be renewed in 1.5 years’ time, so meantime I enjoy driving without any restrictions” • “Today is as close as we can get to yesterday, and the best time to get your EV, was yesterday. Then you could’ve been spending today enjoying your car” • “What better time to save on fuel costs, and look after the environment” • “Strike when the Iron is hot!”
No reason to wait: “There’s no good reason not to” • “There is no reason to delay” • “EVs are perfectly fine right now. Cost is coming down. Range is going up. 22 months I’ve had mine and love it to bits” • “An EV is absolutely the right choice for you now – economically and practically – if you drive almost entirely fairly locally and only occasionally drive longer distances, or it you have another car in the household (or company fleet) for those longer journeys. And range is only a constraint in the relatively short term. The nation’s rapid charger network is developing fast, thanks to ChargeNet and others, making those longer journeys ever more practical. New EVS are still expensive…but second hand Gen 1 and Gen 2 Leafs for under, say, $27,000 down to under $20,000 are excellent value for money” • “They are available now. They are a great price. They are a great car” • “Today’s EV’s work perfectly for 90% of the population. Why wait? There’s always going to be something better/newer next year” • “Absolutely NO reason to wait, especially for development of nationwide infrastructure – which is actually already happening rapidly. Home charging is all you need – I’ve yet to use a public rapid-charger after nearly two years of satisfied ownership – NO dramas!” • “It’s so easy now to own an EV. It easily does all my commuting and what I want to do in a day and in the evening I just plug it in at home. And it feels so good to finally have an option to get away from using petrol/ oil and have a more sustainable transport option. Also EVs are now cheap enough to pay for themselves really quickly and they are great to drive”
I wish I’d gone electric even earlier: “The only regret I have about purchasing an EV is that I didn’t do it earlier” • “I wish I had bought my EV earlier for pure economic reasons alone. It saves me in average $500per month on vehicle running costs when compared to my petrol vehicle. I can also go anywhere I want now as charging infrastructure is so good”
It all depends! “This varies greatly with people’s circumstances! For urban youngsters who are getting along fine with public transport and no vehicle ownership, never. For rural long-distance drivers, not for quite a while. For people who can’t charge at home, maybe never, because I wouldn’t want them to be trapped in a lifestyle of queueing at public charging stations. But I’m guessing that for many others, it’s a question of how soon it suits them to part with the cars they have now” • “It really depends on how far they need to drive and what they expect an EV to be capable of. I think it’ll be at least 2-5 years before there is an EV option for everyone looking at new or slightly used cars” • “It depends on the individual use case; Some people could go electric now; others will want to wait for better range, cheaper prices and more model choice which will hopefully happen over the next five years” • “The questions answer is, of course, “it depends”. Some people will be happy to join the advance guard and cope with the constraints that an EV imposes. But more people will find things more comfortable in a year or two when there is more choice of cars (and price) and when the charging network is further advanced” • “This is too simplistic an answer. If someone is not in the market for a new vehicle then the answer may be different to NOW. If someone needs to borrow heavily and has a reliable and efficient ICE then it does not make economic sense….”
It depends on whether you need a new car of any sort: “If you are currently in the market for a new car it makes sense practically, financially and environmentally to go electric. Do the sums and take one for a drive” • “It does depend on where you are at with buying a car. If you need to get a new car then you should get one now. Why. Because you’ll start saving now” • “If someone is planning to purchase a car and their usage patterns suit they should definitely seriously consider an EV now”
Still not financially even? “Economically it might make more sense in 2-3 years, when more models are available with longer ranges at lower prices” • “For the average driver EVs and EV infrastructure are still evolving – compromises and capital costs will have reduced within the next couple of years”
or … financial winners already: “buying an EV has raised my standard of living, by being cheaper to run. And my EV is safe and oh so comfortable” • “Start saving money from today!!” • “I have found an EV is just a car. It does everything my pervious car does only heaps cheaper” • “We purchased our EV three years ago, and back then, we were already saving money! With cheaper prices for second hand Leafs now, it’s a no brainer to get one – better for the planet and better for the wallet.” • “The savings from using electricity over petrol are substantial” • “The prices for second hand Nissan leafs mean the decision from a financial point of view alone is now very compelling, never mind from an environmental perspective” • “For the record, I have bought a Leaf today. But Generation 1 and 2 Leafs are now quite cheap and make sense when you look at the costs to run” • “It’s a major cost saving (so nice on the wallet!) when petrol is getting more expensive and it’s great for the environment. Every bit counts!” • “Their running costs are low” • “When considering a change this big, it is always easier to put it off, but the economics of EVs already make sense for most people if they would only objectively think about their vehicle usage” • “The timing is perfect especially if you are purchasing a Nissan Leaf , you have the benefit of a car that’s been around since 2010, the purchase price starts at a reasonable $10,000 for earlier models so affordable if on a budget” • “Aside from all the other good reasons, they are actually financially viable now. The fuel savings for most people commuting will more than pay for the interest to buy a $12000 Leaf” • “We decided to switch electric a few month ago (6 year-old iMiev) to get a feel for it and love it. When it came onto the market at $60,000, it was ridiculous. But now at $12,800 as a 1-1 exchange for our old diesel Pajero, we thought it was a good deal” • “Availability and pricing is great compared to a year ago, and the removal of road user charges makes it a no-brainer in cost per km terms” • “The price is competitive with a gas car and the benefits don’t need explaining again. NOW IS THE TIME!” • “EVs are already cheap enough and save way more than they cost so that even in 1 year you will be in a better financial position than if you waited” • “Prices have also reduced substantially from when I purchased 18 mths ago, so now is better value for money for a second-hand Nissan Leaf for example” • “EVs are superior in every way, pay for themselves in no time through the savings you make” • “Petrol prices are very volatile ( $1.83 in June now $2.04 ) whilst power companies often have 2 or 3 year fixed price electricity plans you can sign up to so your EV “refueling” costs are more stable”
… and will be even bigger winners soon: “In a years’ time you will have more choices and with luck they will be cheaper i.e. Tesla Model 3 at $50k” • “In my honest opinion people should look to purchase an EV 3-5 years from now. Purchase price will be cheaper with more available models on the market, technology advances will provide better range and faster recharging” • “More 2nd hand ones are coming into our market, which is lowering prices meaning that they become better value for money. We have had ours for 16 months and it is a learning curve to charge every night and keep it warm in winter (if possible). Already prices have dropped by about 30% for a similar vehicle” • “Purchase price will start to get better” • “Prices will be reduced”
But EV benefits depend a lot on local electricity prices: “We are very happy with our EV, and would like to offer our particular thanks to Vector for the free road charging points that they are providing around Auckland. However, we have come across a couple of wrinkles that may be more important to the next generation of purchasers. Firstly the quote that fuel costs are ‘up to’ six times lower than for petrol-engined vehicles is perhaps somewhat exaggerated and related to a specialised and localised electricity price that is only available to a small number of EV owners. In the North part of the north Island the usual (GST inclusive) price of electricity is just over three times cheaper (in terms of km/$) than petrol. There may be some room for improvement by going to an ‘EV nightime rate’ but that is only 20% and most of that will be swallowed up by the second wrinkle, namely that there are significant efficiency losses (maybe 18%) in the car’s transformer. Each kWh paid for and sent into the transformer/rectifier will only deliver 0.82 kWh into the car battery. At this point in time the financial impact of an EV is still that they are more expensive to buy and that higher cost is not really compensated by the fuel costs only being 3 times less. However, the costs and performances of EVs are improving and for the individual new purchaser the situation may well be better in a couple of years”
You’ve got to be doing the miles to make EVs pay for themselves: “If you need to go long distances, the sooner you get an EV the better – there is not much point in having an EV that stays in the garage most days!” • “Buy now, especially if your annual kms are over 15,000”.
Combine with solar generation for an even better deal: “Despite no meaningful policy from WorkSafe on EV charging, which will result in lines companies charging what they like for rapid charging, home options are still viable but limited. Users are denied cost savings as smart grid features are denied by being forbidden in NZ. Run your EV partly on PV and beat the rip-off merchants”
EVs in transition! “My perception is that we are now transitioning from ‘1st generation’ EVs such as the current import Leafs etc, to the ‘next generation’ with comfortably usable range (like the new Gen 3 Leaf, Tesla 3 etc). I think this new generation will normalise EVs to a greater degree over the next year or so” • “I am waiting eagerly for an electric campervan model, maybe on the basis of the electric vans already produced by and for the German Post”
EVs are improving faster than ICEs: “This rate of improvement has not occurred in combustion vehicles”
Wait a while longer if you want to buy a new EV: “Depends on whether they are buying new, in which case a year would probably give a better car. If second hand, now is probably fine” • “2nd hand EVs (e.g. Leaf) are very affordable, so why wait?” • “At present there isn’t a large enough supply of low cost EVs. I think in about a year we will see more NZ new cars with good range and price”
The early bird catches the worm! “Better to get in early to start reaping the benefits” • “At the moment there are no road user charges for EVs. This means their running costs now as cheap as they ever will be, making the initial investment easier to pay off” • “Hey, the longer others wait, the better for us sharing the EV benefits with less people” • “Because I understand Road User Charges will come in when the number of EV’s hits 62k and I hate paying RUC’s. Totally selfish I know” • “Because there is a limited window of extra benefits for early adopters…..use of T2 lanes, free public charging, no RUC, cheap registration” • “Get used to it before the rush!” • “While technology might improve and prices drop in the future, you can get a good value car now and get the RUC savings now” • “Buy used Japanese cars & enjoy the second-hand benefits of a wise government’s EV subsidy while it lasts”
Uncertainty about the future EV market: “A lot of new models have been announced recently but we don’t yet know how much they will cost in NZ. Once they become available I expect a number of existing models will become available at a lower price” • “Every article says that the batteries are getting cheaper, so why is it not reflected in the price we pay for a second hand EV?”
An ICE is increasingly a dud deal anyway: “Who would by an ICE when their resale value is going to plummet soon? People worry about the residual value of an early EV dropping, but I reckon it’s even more of a concern if you buy a new ICE” • “Many kiwis like to drive a car into the ground, but the ICEs will lose value and cost more to fix as the EVs take over in the market, and as oil companies increase prices for those trapped with ICEs”
Join the club! Plus it’s sort of a club atmosphere when you see another EV. But when they become ‘mainstream’ they’ll be just another vehicle!” • “Getting into the EV community is like no other! Just do it!”
Public acceptance & perception: “Price, public acceptance, charging stations and variety of cars are be sufficient reasons [for waiting a year]” • “The way to EV acceptance is making them “normal” • “I think there is still a confidence issue with range and perceived performance but these quickly melt away once the leap is taken”
Government incentives would help: “To the politicians, the answer is simple. Tap in to the high renewable energy source that NZ is blessed with to support the impending future of transportation now. Provide tax incentives, akin to states in USA and some EU countries, so purchasing an EV is more affordable and attractive now. The operative word, NOW!”
..and government help might be coming: “Govt might have some incentives and hopefully have thought about EV and RUC issues” • “By getting one now we begin making savings, we reduce emissions, and we maintain or enhance momentum on EV uptake. This will help grow the market. But I would add one caution: if we get a progressive government on Sept 23rd, we should see some incentives for EVs following, so if we get a better government I’d be tempted to wait until they bring out their incentive package” • “the govt will have subsidies in place to reduce running and registration costs”
Range and charging infrastructure is still a perceived problem for some people: “I use my leaf for commuting, and even if the battery degrades to a point where my range is halved, it could still cope with my daily commute” • “Although range is improving all the time, this is in my mind the biggest factor [deterring new purchasers]” • “Wait for more chargers around town and around the country” • “more charging stations need to be in every small town and be much more visible”
Range improvements are nearly here: “Big range improvements coming in 2018” • “In about year I expect models will be available with double the range (60kw). I have a 30kw Leaf with about 175km winter range and 200km summer range (around town, fewer on highway). Double that would be fantastic” • “Nissan announced that their new Leaf could run for approximately 400km and the price won’t be increased compared to their older models. When the second hand of this new model becomes available, I think that most people should feel comfortable buying an electric car” • “newer models will have increased range”
Range & charging infrastructure is already adequate for many people: “Today’s second hand Leafs (Gen2) are good value and suitable for most of mobility needs with the infrastructure that already exists” • “Fast charging is fine; these are only on long trips and I need a break anyway; shopping, coffee, post etc.” • “Thanks to ChargeNet, there are now many fast-charging stations so range anxiety is no longer such a factor” • “The charging infra structure is improving every day”
Charging is no real barrier, just one of perception: “We do 95%+ of our charging at home. This is available now for almost everyone so public charging infrastructure is not really a major issue for EV ownership for most people, they just don’t realise this until they own an EV!”
Perfect around town already: “The range of current EVs makes them great cars for around town” • “This depends entirely on where they live If you live in a big city then buy it NOW If you live out in Southland 150 Km from Dunedin then you need to wait a bit” • “There’s no perfect time to adopt evolving technology, for city driving all the options are at least adequate and what shortfalls in charge network etc will be addressed faster with greater adoption” • “Despite the knowledge that Lithium Ion batteries will improve in range and degradation in the years to come, the sooner you buy the sooner you start saving. This is especially true if you live in an urban place and mainly use your vehicle to commute to and from work as EV,s are at their best in the often congested , stop/ start urban driving pattern where their regenerative braking etc comes in to play” • “The infrastructure is building in the metro areas but once you get into the countryside – and for any longer range journeys – the odds of finding a publicly available charging point are not good” • “They totally make sense as city cars at current prices, range and running cost savings versus the alternatives”
A greater variety of EVs is still needed: “There isn’t a very good range of cars available yet” • “Should be a larger selection of cars available”
It’s about accepting a smaller car: “It depends on the buyer’s circumstances – if they are going to buy a small car anyway, then [buy and EV] “Now”.
Infrastructure and choice is not quite there yet for some people: “The infrastructure and attitude aren’t quite there yet. More power points for L1 trickle chargers are needed, so people won’t have to think about rapid chargers, they’ll just top up every time they stop – groceries, movies, mall, etc.” • “Over the next 2-5 years there will be major advancements with many new models entering the market and the charger network will be significantly expanded within that timeframe. For most people in NZ they should find that there will be an EV that meets their needs well enough over the next 2-5 years. Obviously there will be some early adopters like myself, but the general public will have many good options to choose from in the next few years. The 60kWh version of the Nissan Leaf will be available to purchase within two years – that’s just one example” • “NZ should also insist on a standardized charging plug on all EVs” • “People who are passionate about reducing their environmental impact will do it now – they can find a price point with the Leaf – but I think the range is too low for the average driver who doesn’t want to think about working around that. Or they have money to throw at it – which is a luxury. Also cars reflect peoples’ personalities – that’s why there are so many brands. Until there is a wide range of offerings of EVs at 300km+ range I think uptake will struggle. I recommend to people, if they are interested but ambivalent, to wait 2 years – signs are that the range/pricing/brand choice will be so much better in 2 years that it will be hard for them to argue against EV then”
If they fit, buy now: “Buy now if your requirements fit existing technology/budget balance” • “Whoever [can cope with current range] should buy an EV now!” • “If an available EV suits your current needs, and you do enough kms for the numbers to stack up, then now is the time” • “If there is an EV that fits your current daily driving then get it now. I commute between Wanaka and Queenstown don’t need to fast charge as i charge at home and at the office. For me it was a no brainer, it cost me approximately $33 a day in fuel to do this commute in my old Subaru Legacy, my commute now costs me about $4 of which work pay half because they allow me to charge at the office for free… Whilst my EV may not be worth much if anything 3 to 4yrs from now, the money I have saved more than covers the depreciation in value”
More second hand EVs needed in market: “[Buying now will eventually increase the numbers of EVs in the used car market” • “there should be more second hand models and more variety of models to appeal to a wider audience”
Two-car families should include an EV immediately! “As soon as they need to change a second car – an EV is an inexcusable argument” • “It does depend what you need a car for though. They’re perfect for a second car at the moment, and in the next few years will fit the bill for a long distance vehicle as well” • “If you are a two or three car family, as many are, changing one car to an EV works extremely well and makes good economic sense. For single-car individuals and families a reasonably-priced EV will work well in many cases but not all cases yet” • “For a 2 car family, all the trips one of two cars needs to make are well within range of a Gen1 Nissan Leaf” • “For those who have some discretionary income for the capital outlay -houses with two cars, buy a second hand Leaf as the second car – the one that just does mainly round town running. This is still a ‘think of the future/ climate change’ purchase rather than always being a fully rational choice but we will get the ball rolling and a new normal faster the sooner we all do this (also a lot of car purchases are not fully rational anyway) so substitute the desire for shiny new stuff with a desire to have a world under 2 degrees temp change” • “There is always going to be an ‘entry point’ into any market. Since most journeys are local, then families with two cars could easily replace one with a current EV (Leaf), currently the most affordable” • “To be fair this is a difficult question to answer due to the number of variables that the purchaser may be taken into account when considering purchasing an EV. In most cases householders would be in a position to buy at least 1 short range EV runabout now with it being effective. Then consider a longer range EV when the technology gets better down the track” • “I think for a second car, you could buy a leaf now as the range anxiety is less of an issue. Although I think I would buy the 30kWH version if I was buying now. In another year Leaf prices will be less and we may see the arrival of 40kWH batteries” • “I chose 2-5 years as this is when there will be a number of 300+km EV options and battery prices will have come down significantly making them more practical and affordable. I would recommend EVs now for anyone as a second car with the purpose of >40 km daily commute and/or lots of weekend running around” • “Especially good two-car families [to buy a pure EV now]. One car can be an 100% electric ‘town car’ and the other can be a plug-in hybrid to overcome range anxiety on weekends away” • “I think a lot of my friends are waiting till their current old ICE dies before switching to an EV – what they don’t always realise is that the maintenance and fuel costs of the old gas guzzler are way above what it would cost in interest to raise a loan to get an EV. We run a virtual hybrid in the family home by keeping our old Subaru for towing and occasional long trips and a Nissan Leaf for most local trips. We have switched 95% of our overall running to the Leaf and the savings from that more than offset the cost of keeping the second car”
Hire for occasional long trips: “People could also use the savings from owning just an EV to hire a car occasionally for long trips and still come out on top financially. Some people retain an old ICE for a while, but eventually ditch it when they realise they don’t really need it”.
Enjoy a fun ride now: “EVs are so much better to drive than ICE cars. I am yet to meet anyone that has not liked them after driving one” • “Jumping back into an ICE always makes me feel even better about going electric, they are so noisy and have zero torque” • “EVs are great to drive” • “Even though prices are coming down and EVs are getting better it is still worth having an EV now as they are more pleasant to drive and probably less expensive to run that a petrol car” • “Because they work, are cheap, quiet and awesome to drive”
Buy now to bring on the tipping point: “Buy now so that industry keeps investing in this technology and the availability of cars in NZ improves and prices come down; and of course the more electric cars on the road, the more people will change their mind and buy an electric one!” • “The more people purchase EV’s now the quicker the major car companies will start converting their production to EVs” • “The more EVs, the more likely businesses are to put in fast-charge stations near their business (captive customers for half an hour or so). The more of us buying EVs, the more likely that car manufacturers are to put investment into developing their own EVs, which will lead to more choice of vehicle types. Maybe soon there will be an electric Minnie Cooper (my favourite car) or and electric station waggon that can handle a tow bar (so people won’t need to keep a second car for that purpose). We’ve definitely reached the tipping point where having an electric car is so easy it’s almost a no-brainer” • “Also more EVs will mean more infrastructure” • “The more EVs on the road, the faster we’ll get more chargers so it’s easier to make long trips without range anxiety”
Momentum and critical mass: “The technology is now well established and the trend to EV is clear globally. The NZ network of owners is very supportive” • “The sooner we get critical mass in EVs the better. It’s inevitable so let’s make it happen
Buy and they will build: “The sooner people convert to EV, the sooner infrastructure can develop. Chicken and egg situation? Yes. So convert to EV and be part of the solution!!” • “If there is more demand now for plug-in EVs, it will spur on OEMs to bring more variety to the market” • “The more of us buy and use these lovely cars, the sooner we’ll have a really good network of charging stations and information about how they perform. Will help the environment and reduce pollution. If we all hang back and wait nothing will change – need to get moving now! I know the manufacturers will improve their range and performance but they will only do that if enough of us buy and use them now”
Build and they will buy: “It’s great to see EECA helping businesses put in infrastructure to kick-start the EVolution” • “Thanks ChargeNet, Vector and all those lines companies putting in free charging – North Power (Whangarei), EA (Ashburton, Rakaia, Methven), Network Waitaki (Oamaru, Kurow, Hampden), Aurora (Dunedin)”
Buy to save now, trade-up later: “I don’t understand what people are waiting for – why not print money while you cruise round in a cool car? It’s not as if you are necessarily going to keep you next car for life, so why not get an EV now and use the savings to upgrade to an even better EV further down the track? The second hand EVs seem to be holding up quite well in value and there will always be someone else down the chain that will scoop up your earlier model when you are in a position to move up” • “Technology is always improving at a faster rate than we can keep up. There is no point in waiting. Buy what you can afford now and perhaps bank the fuel savings to go toward your next EV” • “Buy now and your savings on petrol and maintenance will kick in immediately. If your goal is to have a more upmarket EV, with better range, but to wait a few years for the cost to come down, then buy a cheap Gen 1 Leaf, which will likely pay most of itself off in savings over that period, then upgrade. Most families have two cars anyway, so why not have one as a shorter-range EV that will cover 95% of your travelling needs, and cost practically nothing to run. From an environmental perspective, the buy-now option will have an immediate impact on your emissions” • “The fuel and money you save in the meantime waiting for the next generation will help you to upgrade. And you may find you didn’t really need all that range anyway”
Take care to not EVangelise: “If you tell them to buy one now, they may come up with multiple reasons they can’t whereas if they start thinking and researching it now knowing the best time to buy is a year from now, within a year they will be keen as – things are improving all the time” • “But EVs are not quite ready for mainstream. People buy based on value – and until the value proposition is close to breakeven with petrol/diesel I don’t want to push people to spend beyond their comfort zone”
We need fewer cars, not just for the remaining ones to be EVs: “I feel cars are going to become outdated in the next few years” • “Ultimately we need fewer cars on our roads overall, not just to have the ones left to be EVs. New EV car sharing schemes are great – partly for showing newbies just how good the EVs are – but I look forward to a time when we have similar car sharing schemes for old ICEs that people can use for occasional special needs, while they either own or share and EV, or just dial one up to drive itself round to take you to the pub (and home again later)”
Good for the planet: “We are helping to save the planet” • “The planet needs saving now” • “Actually, you didn’t give us the choice of (0) – Last year! We’ve had our “Leaflet” for over a year now, and she’s been fantastic! The sooner we all get ourselves driving on electricity, the better for the planet” • “Most importantly though, no time to loose in reducing carbon emissions” • “The sooner we all go electric the better for the planet and the worse for the oil companies” • “CO2 emissions must be reduced and buying an electric car is the best action a single person or family can make to help us reduce CO2 levels” • “If everyone waits, it will just take longer for the country to achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” • “The planet needs it” • “Because now is when we need to shift the implementation of fossil fuel consumption change along, urgently. Now is when signals about public demand and public expectations needs to be sent to producers of cars of fossil fuels and electricity and electricity management equipment, such as batteries , in order that change comes soon enough to prevent a climate catastrophe. Waiting a few years will hasten a catastrophe and increase its likelihood. Now is the best time to act to avert disaster” • “Early opportunity to reduce emissions to trade up later when technology improves and battery life increases” • “The primary reason to buy is to reduce pollution, so the earlier the purchase, the greater the reduction” • “You’re saving money while you’re saving the planet :-)” • “There’s no better time than now. The sooner you start driving one, the sooner you start reducing your carbon footprint, and saving money. No car is ever an investment so falling values are offset by all the other benefits”
A matter of morals: “If you can afford an EV, then morally there is no choice but to buy one” • “Buying now is the only correct answer unless you’re the kind of selfish dick who votes for National and doesn’t care about the quality of life of the next generation”
Feeling good: “The best part is driving past a fossil fuel station and smiling knowing you may never have to stop there again!” • “Because I love my EV. I have a PHEV & I love the fact that I only fill up with petrol 3 times a year. I love the fact that my EV only cost $1.50 per day to charge (and it costs me $1.00 per day to keep my beer cold). But most importantly I love the feel good factor that I’m doing my bit to leave the planet a better place than when I joined it” • “the experience of driving an EV is so satisfying” • “I brought one because not using petrol appealed. Being able to charge at home for minimal cost and never have to again detour to queue at a petrol station is the best thing ever” • “We already drive one – best decision we have made in a long time and great fun”
Multiple considerations apply: “EVs are a credible commuting choice for most people, and as soon as you buy an EV, you start saving money and reducing our dependence on imported oil” • “Even with the existing infrastructure and car models, EVs are simply fantastic. Cheap to run, quiet, fast and cool-just a real kick to own and drive” • “Because there was no parameters to the question, the simple answer is Now, as we believe it’s the right thing environmentally to do. However, the upfront cost is still high, and people – may have already recently invested heavily in their current car and rightly expect to get some form of amelioration of those upfront costs before buying again – may not be able to afford those upfront costs of an EV over a non-EV. For those that can afford it and are in the market for a car, an EV solution has shortcomings eg range and size/cost-effectiveness, on-street charging requirements. But: range should be addressed by planning and patience, size could be addressed through rentals/existing second cars, the costs of which will commensurately reduce through car-sharing options. Waiting will improve these concerns, but – there is a cost to caring for the environment – we should all contribute in ways we can afford to, as soon as we can afford to. – there will always be remaining concerns, and the greater uptake now, the incrementally cheaper it will become” • “I would have thought the sample of respondents (those of us with EVs) will skew results significantly towards ASAP. Maybe an alternative would be : (multi answers possible) what tipped you into choosing an EV – environmental concerns/motivation – marketing alignment and strategy (biz decision) – pure economics (total cost of ownership less than previous) – mix of economics and enviro – increased confidence based on knowing people with EVs – desire to be a leader/different to others? And for those not yet driving EV what is stopping you from purchasing an EV – concerned about the range I need vs ability of available vehicles – entry cost is too high – not long purchased another vehicle would lose too much if trading – live too far from rapid charging network – don’t know anyone with one to recommend – sick of EVangelists telling me I have to… :)”
What should we ask the members next? Please suggest questions to ask of your fellow EV owners in future 1-click surveys – email your requests to email@example.com.
Henrik Moller, Dima Ivanov and Jefferson Dew,
27 September 2017