Find out how you can make the most of your new EV.

Top tips for new EV owners


Made the transition into EV ownership? Welcome to the silent revolution that’s rocking New Zealand’s roads.

I recently took possession of an MG4 Essence and don the eco-friendly cap like a badge of honour. But it’s taken a bit of getting used to the new way of driving.

Know your EV range – not just in kilometres

Range anxiety is old news with the arrival of longer-range EVs, but you still need to be smart about your vehicle’s limits. Every EV has an estimated kilometre range that’s more guideline than gospel. Your actual range can change based on various factors:

  • Driving style: driving in a less halting style will help preserve energy.
  • Load: the weight and wind resistance from additions like trailers and roof boxes will impact range. 
  • Weather: the more you use the heater and air conditioning, the less range you’ll have, especially if you’re clearing a fogged windscreen, which uses both.

So, monitor your habits and learn how your EV responds to real-world scenarios.

I have started memorising a few basic sums to help me calculate my real-world range. I know my EV can run at seven kilometres per kWh and has a 64 kWh battery (let’s call it 60 for ease). So, 7 x 60 = 420 kilometres of range. But if the car’s doing five kilometres per kWh (check the dashboard), then the range will be just 300 kilometres. Making these calculations on the fly is a useful way of checking your range.

EV driving INP

Monitor your driving habits and learn how your EV responds to real-world scenarios.

Plugging in and getting app-savvy

Charging is the new refuelling and it’s a novel routine. At home, I use the standard wall plug the dealer provided. For out in the wild, I bought myself a Type 2 to Type 2 cable (from Smart EV Chargers) to use at public chargers in supermarket and public car parks. I use the PlugShare app to see where available chargers are.

When I need to charge away from home, I use the ChargeNet or Zero app (depending on who owns the charging station) and because I’ve pre-loaded my credit card details I can plug in and start charging almost immediately.

I also have the MG app to monitor battery levels, schedule charging and control cabin temperature from my phone. Finding the apps that best suit your car can turn your EV experience from good to great.

Mastering the charge-time tango

Charging times can vary, depending on the type of charger and the rate of recharging. My MG4 takes around 24 hours to charge from 0% to 100% with a standard 8amp home charger. Out and about, depending on the capacity of the car and the charger I’m plugged into, it may take only 30 minutes to charge.

You’ll also need to strategise your stopovers. If you’re someone who can’t sit still, sync your charging breaks with a lunch stop, a stretch of the legs or a mini Netflix binge.

When it comes to charge points, many experienced EV drivers recommend not giving up on a ‘difficult’ or ‘out of order’ unit, but instead phoning the helpline printed on almost every charge point. Often, they can be reset remotely or, if payment systems aren’t working, they can offer free charging.

EV Charging INP

Sync your charging breaks with a lunch stop, a stretch of the legs or a mini Netflix binge.

Recapture that energy

EVs are masters of regenerative braking. They reclaim energy whenever you lift your foot off the accelerator and channel it back into the battery. Ease off the throttle early, be consistent with your driving style, and let that re-gen do its magic. Not only will you conserve energy, but you’ll also reduce wear and tear on your brakes.

Staying light on the accelerator can also mean the difference between pulling over for an emergency charge and cruising confidently to your destination. Slow and steady will keep your battery happier for longer. Embrace the zen of eco mode.

Join the community

EV drivers tend to be pioneering, eco-conscious and often tech-savvy. Tap into that wealth of knowledge! Online forums, social media groups and local meet-ups are gold mines for shared experiences and troubleshooting tips; the EV camaraderie that can make all the difference on your electric journey. I’ve had great communication with EVDB (focused on all-round consumer EV information) and Leading the Charge (events and education run by Better TrustNZ).


Story by Kathy Catton for the Winter 2024 issue of AA Directions Magazine. Kathy Catton is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to AA Directions Magazine.

What do you think? Do you have an EV? What are your top tips for getting the most out ofyour vehicle?

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