Used Cars ex Japan, NZ Roads. Why I’m buying an EV Part Two.


So that brings us to electric cars. In New Zealand there has recently been some promotion by the government to do something with electric cars. And so politicians will get out for these sorts of opening of a new fast charging station and we’ve got quite a lot of fast charging stations around New Zealand, almost enough to drive almost anywhere, depending on what model of electric car you’ve got, so if you’ve got a long-range electric car, like a Tesla and Tesla recently came to New Zealand, then you can basically drive anywhere in New Zealand, with a Tesla car, there’s lots of places you can recharge. There are some Tesla Supercharger stations and they’re building kind of a corridor through the middle of the North Island with Tesla Superchargers and the first ones are in Hamilton and that’s about 100 or 150 km from Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand so heading to Hamilton is somewhere where people might go for a weekend away so you know or even a day trip for work. but otherwise we have a network called: charge.net, and charge.net operates chargers and a billing system, so the billing system is the important thing. What you want is, when you’re trying to use rapid charges to take a trip around New Zealand, we might need to recharge our car several times, you want it so that you can just walk up to the charger, activate the charger, plug your car in and quickly charge, and then go, and so the charging system has taken hold in New Zealand and have started rolling out the whole network of chargers so at this point, this is the point where I think: it’s the right time for me to buy an electric car. so as I’m got a sort of background in electronics and computer science, you know, electric car as is the direction I want to go. I’ve had a hybrid car for a long time, three or four years, and hybrid cars are great because they’re very cheap to run and generally have low maintenance costs, but since i live in a country where is ample supply of electricity, electric car is where i want to go. In New Zealand at the moment, there’s about five million people and about 3,000 electric cars, so pretty early days, i would say that, of the approximate five million people in New Zealand, three or maybe four million seem to have cars, a lot of people have more than one car in New Zealand, and in New Zealand you know, people are moderately wealthy on a world standard, and if you want to have two cars, just because you feel like having two cars, that’s something that people do, some people will have a cool car that they drive in the weekend or big four-wheel-drive is for towing their boat or going on holidays. You know, we have campervans & utility vehicles, and trucks and vans, we have everything. So, New Zealand’s a very open market economy, so we have almost any car that you can buy in any country, is available in New Zealand, and there’s not a restriction to importing cars, so if you see a car when you’re overseas, and you really want to bring it in, you can you can bring it in. There’s paperwork and conversions and compliance and all that, but generally there’s nothing stopping you from having any car that you want, if you really want it and if you’ve got the money to buy it, and for a lot of New Zealanders having the money to buy a car, is something that, you know, a lot of people generally have, so you know you can, if you’re enthusiastic about any car, you can have any car, some of people i know have pretty cool cars, and you know they just go through whatever car, if they feel they want a car for a while, they’ll buy it and keep it for a few years, and then sell it again. In New Zealand is not really any special taxes for cars, in some countries, there’s all these government plans to: “if you buy an economic car, then you can get a tax discount” and all that kind of stuff, mostly that doesn’t apply in New Zealand, we just don’t really have any of those incentive schemes, so we have a kind of a fairly fair market, an actual market, so you can kind of have any car, there’s not really any major costs associated, there’s no, I don’t know that there’s any luxury car tax, or anything like that, that they have in some countries. What we do have, for certain types of vehicles, you pay an annual fee for owning a car, car registration that gives you your number plate, that you stick on your car, and every year you have to go back and pay that fee and you can you can pay it quarterly, but it’s cheaper if you pay a year at a time, just slightly cheaper because it’s slightly less paperwork. So generally that fee, it has a little bit built in, and it’s generally to do with the safety of a car, not much anything else, so newer cars tend to have somewhat lower fees, and cars they have crazy performance that people came to crash a lot have higher fees, because there’s a bit more of a danger factor built in there, and the reason why we have that, is because we have an accident compensation system (ACC) in New Zealand, so if you have an accident in a car, and you need medical care, then the medical care is provided by the state, and in general, most people don’t have private medical insurance, and most people don’t have private medical insurance that would cover emergency care. So in these registration fees there’s a part which is called the ACC levy, which is calculated by how often people will crash the kind of car, that you have, and how badly they get injured, so old rubbish cars have higher fees, new higher performance cars, that people like to crash often, have higher fees, but if you’ve got a very conservative car, that’s very safe then it tends to have lower fees, but these these these are only $100s, perhaps even $60 so the fee very low, it’s not like when you live in countries, I think Singapore and Hong Kong and China, have this huge sort of vehicle registration fees, that you know, for a lot of people, you have to save up for a year, to even go to buy a car, whereas in New Zealand the fee is quite trivial compared with the cost of running a car and buying a car. But that said, cars in New Zealand are actually moderately cheap, in the market some cars are expensive, and some cars are cheap, but we get a lot of second hand cars, about half of the market comes from buying secondhand cars from Japan and bringing them in directly. Then we have a lot of car yards, that sell a mixture of new and secondhand cars, and, the second hand cars come into the country after that they’ve just been used for a few years, often not more than say seven years. Importing more cars more than 10 years old, from Japan’s not really done. The government tends to adjust safety regulations, so cars that are being imported, even secondhand cars, have to have most of the very modern safety systems, built into the car, so you know, air bags and strengthened crumple zones, and over my lifetime, certainly, the safety of cars has massively increased, and, especially in the last 10 years, when air bags just were common on everything, and ABS braking. As secondhand cars have come into New Zealand, the safety requirements of the cars have had to quite closely follow the safety requirements of new cars but at, you know, something like a five year delay. At the same time we’ve been building better roads, so there’s a lot of, you know, a lot of the highways are planned by central government and there’s been a lot of improvements to roads, and also there have been some road safety campaigns, where dangerous roads have been, kind of “shamed” into upgrades, and everybody knows there are roads in the country, that are just considered to be: “oh, that terrible dangerous road”, “be careful when you’re driving down there”, “everybody drives like crazy on that road”. For whatever reason, quite often the case is that the road just carries much more traffic than it was designed for, it doesn’t have very many safe places to pass, and a lot of frustrated drivers just will drive badly because they get sick of following other traffic. I’ve certainly been on some of these roads that are considered to be bad roads, and you know, more than one time, I’ve been driving on a road with yellow lines, which you’re not a lot of pass on, and you come around a blind corner, and there’s somebody passing some other car, driving in your lane, coming head on towards you, and they shouldn’t be there. I really have diverged from the topic.

About the Author: Michael Flood

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