Everything You Need to Know About Renting and Driving an Electric Car Around New Zealand
Enjoy the freedom of exploring New Zealand on a road trip without the shocking carbon footprint by hiring an electric vehicle (EV). New Zealand is equipped with EV charging stations around the country; all you need to do is hire an electric car and hit the road. We’ll go through the EV car rental companies, how to plan for an EV road trip, as well as the CO2 emissions and fuel costs you’ll save in this guide on how to travel around New Zealand in an electric car.
While you’re here, don’t forget to check our How to Plan a Car Road Trip in New Zealand for our generic car road trip tips.
Video: The Complete Guide to Renting an Electric Car in New Zealand
Can’t be bothered reading? Listen to our video on electric car and EV rentals in New Zealand or keep scrolling for the full article.
What You Need to Rent an EV in New Zealand
Renting an EV in New Zealand is easy if you have the following:
- A full valid driving license
- If your driving license is not written in English, an International Driving Permit
- A credit card (if you don’t have a credit card, see How to Hire a Car in New Zealand Without a Credit Card)
- To be at least 21 years old (if you are under 21 years old, see The Best New Zealand Car & Campervan Rentals for Ages 18 to 25).
For more details on the requirements for renting a vehicle in New Zealand, see Renting a Car in New Zealand: The Essential Guide.
Electric Car Rentals: Can You Hire Electric Cars in New Zealand?
New Zealand has a range of electric vehicle rentals available. A few of the country’s popular car rental brands have adopted an EV option into their fleet, from the Nissan Leaf to the latest Tesla models.
7 Best EV Car Rental Companies in New Zealand
- GO Rentals – Tesla available
- Snap Rentals – VW E-Golf available
- Avis – Tesla and Hyundai Ioniq and Kona available
- Europcar – BMW i3 available
- Mode – Nissan Leaf available
- Blue Cars – Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-Miev available
- Renny Rent-A-Car – Nissan Leaf available
You’ll find that most of these rental companies have depots at New Zealand’s most popular airports, including Auckland Airport and Christchurch Airport. See which companies also appear on The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand.
Most car rental companies in New Zealand only have one or two electric car models to choose from, with ranges from 200 km (124 miles) to 500 km (310 miles). Be sure to compare your offerings before choosing a rental.
EV Charging Stations
Sure, New Zealand has EV car hire but does the country have the charging infrastructure to make an EV trip viable?
How Many EV Stations and Tesla Superchargers are in New Zealand?
There are EV charging stations along most of the major state highways (or a short distance from the highway) every 20km to 85km (12 to 53 miles). An exact figure on EV charging stations is hard to determine, due to new ones being added. However, as of 2021, ChargeNet has installed approximately 280 DC rapid charging stations in New Zealand. There are at least another 300 AC charging stations registered on PlugShare. Although Tesla Superchargers are much less frequent, they can still be found in 14 of New Zealand’s largest towns and cities.
Compared to more than 1,260+ fuel stations around New Zealand, there are fewer EV charging stations. This means that unlike driving a vehicle with a combustion engine, travelling long distances in an EV takes a bit of planning.
How to Plan for a Road Trip in an EV
Download the appropriate apps or go to the ChargeNet, PlugShare and/or Tesla websites and plan which charging stations you’re going to use. The New Zealand Transport Agency has a pretty good journey planner for EVs too.
Bear in mind that charging can take 30 minutes to three hours, plan for a few things to do while you’re vehicle is charging. Due to the charging times, we recommend drives that are no longer than 400 km (260 miles) a day when travelling around New Zealand. Otherwise, you’ll find that “charging time” will eat most of your day away.
We recommend that you slow-charge by connecting your vehicle to a normal mains power outlet each night at your chosen accommodation. Many accommodations in New Zealand are happy to facilitate this.
How Much Does EV Charging Cost in New Zealand?
EV charging stations in New Zealand cost approximately NZ$5-$10 per 100 km (124 miles). In other words, that’s how much it costs to charge an electric car at a public EV charging station. However, there are many free charging stations listed on the PlugShare app. However, you may need your own fast charging cables for some of them.
Carbon Emissions and Fuel Costs Saved by Driving an EV in New Zealand
Of course, the reason any traveller wants to hire an EV in New Zealand is to reduce their carbon footprint, in turn, their environmental impact.
How Much Carbon is Saved by Driving an EV?
A 100km (62 miles) drive in a mid-range petrol car produces about 0.034 tonnes of CO2. A road trip driving directly from Auckland to Queenstown is 1,548 km (962 miles), therefore you would produce 0.530 tonnes of CO2. However, a common two-week road trip of the North Island and South Island is more likely going to take you approximately 2,420 km (1,504 miles), producing 0.828 tonnes of CO2. For context, you would need about 45 trees to grow for an entire year to offset that amount of CO2.
For more ways to travel sustainably, head to our 31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in New Zealand.
How Much Do You Save on Fuel Costs by Renting an Electric Car in New Zealand?
As for fuel costs, say it costs as much as NZ$10 to charge an EV per 100 km (62 miles) – a very high estimation considering you’ll be able to charge for free overnight at some accommodations, that will be NZ$242 for a 2,420 km (1,504-mile) trip around New Zealand. In comparison, the average petrol car consumes 7.6l per 100km (62 miles). With petrol prices at NZ$2 per litre and climbing, it will cost a minimum of NZ$368 to drive the same distance.
For more tips on budgeting tips for your road trip in New Zealand, check out The Cost of Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand and NZ Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to New Zealand Cost?
More About How to Travel Around New Zealand in an Electric Car
That’s it for our guide on how to hire an electric car in New Zealand, as well as all our tips for EV rentals in New Zealand. But, of course, we have more advice which you’re free to check out at the following:
- What is the Best Type of Car to Rent in New Zealand?
- New Zealand Rental Car Insurance: Explained!
- 21 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in New Zealand
Do you need some road trip ideas? Check out the following itineraries for the best road trip routes:
- North Island in One Week: Road Trip Itinerary
- South Island in One Week: Road Trip Itinerary
- North Island in Two Weeks: Road Trip Itinerary
- South Island in Two Weeks: Road Trip Itinerary
- New Zealand in Two Weeks: Road Trip Itinerary
- New Zealand in Three Weeks: Road Trip Itinerary
- New Zealand in a Month: Road Trip Itinerary
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Guide to Renting a Car in New Zealand.