Having introduced a collection of Hyundai Ioniqs to their fleet in Christchurch and Auckland, Thrifty Car Rental is offering us an environmentally-friendly option when it comes to driving away from home.

Chatting to the team at Thrifty Car Rental, I was both excited and daunted by the thought of opting for an electric vehicle – EV for short – as my car rental recently.

A hot topic in the car-buying world at the moment, it is great to see so many people jumping on board and opting for EVs over a traditional vehicle, however, I was still a little hesitant about giving it a go. Would it have much get up and go? And how would I charge it?

Let me start by saying there were many pluses: I could return it empty; it was incredibly stylish, easy to drive and of course emitted no tail-pipe emissions. With a 200 km verified range it also meant I could travel a significant distance without having to tackle the biggest challenge – charging!

But like many things in life, the thought was worse than the reality with far more recharging locations found in Canterbury than I had expected. From Little River to Lincoln, Geraldine, Timaru, Temuka, Amberley, Culverden and the list goes on, all boasting convenient locations in which to park up and ‘refuel’.

And ‘refuelling’ was easy. You need to preplan slightly by downloading an app for easy payment (charging typically costs about $10 per 100 km) but once you are ready to go you simply park up, plug the car in and await the green light to carry on.

With three types of chargers available for EVs, recharging also allows you to stop and explore the local environment and community – should you wish to do so. A fast charger will typically recharge a small EV in 3–4 hours; a rapid charge will do the same in 30 minutes, while a slow charger can take several hours, but is typically free! A handy hint for those seeking chargers is to pop onto charge.net.nz which has an interactive map of recharge points allowing you to plan your journey from start to finish.

Both my husband and I drive Hyundais on a day-to-day basis and the Ioniq was no different when it came to comfort, style, power and features. In fact if 4WD functionality and a massive boot (so the double pram and groceries could both fit in), weren’t must-haves on my purchase list, I would have invested in an Ioniq as my primary vehicle, not simply just my now go-to car rental.

With two special offers available to AA Members as well as the option to now go environmentally friendly when on holiday (or away for work), Thrifty is succeeding in their aim to have us ‘driving happy’.

Tips & Tricks to get the most out of your EV Journey

  • Be gentle with the accelerator – it’s the same with petrol engines, if you’re constantly assertive with the accelerator, your EV’s range will be negatively impacted. So wherever possible ease on and off the accelerator and brakes.
  • Use climate control conservatively – cranking on the air conditioning may seem like a minor draw on your car’s energy supply, but in all EVs it can make a big difference. If you can tolerate a slightly higher temperature, there are km gains to be had.
  • If you are driving on the motorway or climbing a lot of hills you’ll use up your battery faster, but travelling downhill or braking recharges it.

Words by Lucinda Diack