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The personal experience: Little Bird Organics' Megan May reports from the front lines of EV ownership

Yes, yes, we all know the benefits of electric vehicles. They’re good for the environment, cheap to run and quiet as a mouse. But what’s EV ownership really like? To find out, we talked to EV owner and enthusiast Megan May, who is also the founder of Little Bird Organics. 

Megan May's love affair with electric cars started with a fortuitous ride in a Tesla.

While it was a fun experience, May says she also knew the car was well out of her price range, so she wanted to find an EV more suited to her.

So, late last year, she started doing research around what was available, with her key concerns being price, looks and range.

“We looked around for a while and when I found the IONIQ, it was just the clear winner. In terms of design, in terms of range and the price point was really good too. I got in touch with Hyundai and now I'm driving it.”

“People still seem to think that you’re losing something switching to an electric vehicle, as if it’s a compromise in some way – but I just don't really think that's true at all.” 

She’s certainly not the only one. More than 250 Hyundai IONIQ's have been sold in New Zealand since the model was introduced last year – making it the country’s best selling EV – and Westpac has just added a further 65 new IONIQ electric and plug-in hybrids to its corporate fleet.

Though much of the dialogue around EVs is future-focused, it seems that the electric vehicle future is already here.

“For example, people have the perception of EVs being slow, but the IONIQ is not something you have to drive around slowly – it goes really fast. It has all the bells and whistles of any good car, but you don't have to pollute the environment to drive it.”

“People still seem to think that you’re losing something switching to an electric vehicle, as if it’s a compromise in some way – but I just don't really think that's true at all.” 

May says that she’s still discovering the benefits that an EV vehicle offers. “During the week I never go to a petrol station,” she says. “I just charge it at home during the night. And I only have to do that once a week.” 

Add to that preferential parking at a growing number of locations, as well as access to fast transit lanes on the motorway, and EVs offer Kiwi drivers more than simply a clean, green vehicle option.

And now that she’s got some time behind the wheel, how has she coped with that classic (but increasingly irrelevant) issue of range anxiety?

“I don't worry at all,” she says. “I can get from Auckland to Tauranga in one charge, so I don't need to even think about it most of the time.”

And when it comes to longer trips, May insists it’s just a case of planning ahead, just as you would on any trip.

“From Auckland, we go up north a lot and there are plenty of options,” she says. “We will usually stop in Warkworth and we'll go down to the nearby river while the car charges. It takes about 20 minutes to charge fully, so it doesn't even add time to the trip, especially if you have kids.”

So, what about those looking to make the leap? Any advice for the EV curious?

“Just do your research, know what's out there and go for a drive in one,” she says. “That will dispel any myths you've got around electric vehicles.

“It brings a lightness and a fun to driving around. Doing the right thing can sometimes feel a bit heavy. But doing good stuff shouldn’t be that way. It should be exciting and you should be uplifted by it, and that’s what this is. So yes, you could say I’m convinced.” 

For more information on Electric Vehicles call Hyundai on 0800 493 640 or visit www.hyundai.co.nz/electric-cars

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