Buying a Second Hand EV in NZ – Mike Sheaff interview



Transcript – Buying a Second Hand EV in NZ


I’m on a mission to buy an EV, so I thought it was time to go along and see a car dealer. So I’m off to talk to Mike Sheaff from GVI to get some tips and advice on buying a second hand.Ev. With an in-depth look at buying the popular Nissan Leaf. I’m Adrian Maidment and this is Ev Quest.


Hi there guys, I’m Mike Sheaff from GVI car sales, here on Hewletts Road, here in Mount Maunganui.


First time buyers coming in, what questions are they asking?


A lot of interest in EVs and Hybrids at the moment .I’ll just concentrate on the Leaf EV at the moment. So, that’s of course the car with no engine purely runs on electricity. Yeah, a lot of interest obviously with fuel prices and the environmental aspect of owning an EV as opposed to a petrol car.

So the most popular one we get asked about is our Nissan Leaf. It’s by far the most affordable and reliable and available EV in the market today. So when people come in, they of course the number one there’s two main two main issues with electric vehicles. One is the range. So literally how far the car will go between having to charge up and then to the battery, the life of the battery has to look after the battery and things like that.


What should you look out for if you’re checking a car out?


 So if you are looking to purchase the Leaf, I mean like any car, just have a walk around, check your road condition tyres and we aren’t here and stuff like that. Just like any car mechanically, very little things to check other than what you would do on a Warrant of Fitness. So as long as it can come to the warrant, it’s less than 28 days old.

No dramas there. And but the battery, you do need to ask for a health check on the battery. Any, any half decent repeatable dealer will be able to provide that for you or there are software package or apps and stuff that you can get on your phone with a with the use of a little OBD reader you can do it yourself as well.

So you will need to get what’s called a state of health report on the battery and literally that gives a percentage out of 100 as to where your batteries with a battery in the car where it’s sitting. Brand new 100% a few years old 70, 80 90% somewhere. Yeah that does not directly correlate to the kilometres of cars several but have a bit of a quirk with EVs is it.

Just because it’s that low mileage does not necessarily mean the batteries are in better health and generally speaking it’s the way , but all batteries do deteriorate over time at different rates. The primary reason for that is how they’ve been treated. The number of charges, the type of recharging that’s been done is not so much how much your car’s been driven.


Is that how the battery is being charged?   


So that’s the number one thing to look out for with EVs.


Is there a percentage I should be looking at?


Whatever is viable for your use. So essentially what happens is a battery over time, you think of it like a big fuel drum over time its getting a bit crinkled in the middle and a bit smaller. So, your capacity is reducing, it doesn’t affect the performance of the car in any way apart from the fact that essentially your fuel tanks getting smaller.

So when you fill up over time, the amount of distance you can go between charges reduces, so on a 30 kilowatt Leaf like the one here. when they’re brand new, the range is around about 180 kilometres between charges and then so if your battery is down to 80% compared to brand new, essentially you’re taking 20% off the 186 ks, down to about 160 ks.


How old is this one?


So this particular one is 2017 but when we jump in we’ll be able to see what the range is.The first thing some people notice about electric cars is when you start them, there’s no noise. So a little song. Let’s know the car has started. There’s literally no noise. So what you can see down here.

This little green car that indicates the car is ready to rock forward or backwards obviously. And there’s a couple of things here. So right now our petrol tank is at 71% full.Which is what you see here.And it’s telling us we can go to about 120 k’s with the driving.

Leaf display
Leaf Display


How does the rebate work on a second hand vehicle?


The clean car scheme the Government set up. Essentially the driver behind it is it’s all to do with carbon emissions and you can imagine a scale where the top of the pile is the EVS because they have zero carbon emissions and then bigger engines you know, into diesels and stuff at the bottom end of the scale which obviously have a lot more emissions.

So there’s literally a scale between zero and high emissions and the EVs qualify for the highest level of rebates which on a second hand electric vehicle is approximately $3,400. And then a lot of hybrids can be anywhere from seven or $800 to maybe 1500 dollars with a rebate. And then once you hit your V6s and V8s, and your big diesel utes, you actually have to pay, often thousands of dollars to enjoy the privilege of driving one of those.

It only applies to the first time the vehicle is registered. So if the vehicle was already registered, then that’s not applicable. So first of all the New Zealand market, so there’s a fresh import or a brand new brand new car will qualify for those rebates.

The best thing about these EVs, and particularly these Leaf ‘s, is that they sit in a price bracket of 15 to maybe mid twenties for a 24 or 30 kilowatt Leaf. And also they are brilliant commuter cars. One thing about them, I can, I can show you if we get down here as you drive along here, you can see the little white dots on the.Screen light up as we accelerate. OK, so we’re drawing power there. When we slow.

Down you can see the blue lights light up now that recharging it’s actually put in a bit of recharge back into the battery so around town when you stop start like that. Yeah using power but also regenerate recovering a bit of it on the open road completely opposite you’re going to be flying along with four white dots drawing the battery life down, so you won’t go as far on the open road as you will around town.

It’s the first question I tend to ask people when they come and inquire about EVs. I say, How often do you travel more than 150 km in a day?” And if that’s quite regularly, then that’s either a very expensive EV or maybe not quite there ready for you just yet.

But certainly as a second car commuter car.Just brilliant yeah. I’ve sold cars to customers and they have an EV in the driveway and a nice second car and it’s always a fight to who gets into the EV in the morning.

Changing your drive style because you know, every kilometre, every comedy you use a battery life, it tells you. And so you become very aware of economical ways of driving. And on that, always have a couple of two or maybe three drive modes like your standard or your sport mode that are eco mode. There’s a little button on here.

You can flick into Eco and you can see actually you go with it with the eco on and a range is saying 150 now. If we turn the eco button off here, we see it disappear. There we lose a few Ks worth of range. And now the reason you do that is because they’re far more fun to drive out of eco mode.

You get there, it’s an acceleration, instant torque, but the price you pay, it obviously uses a bit more battery. So the thing to do is come down. talk to a local EV local specialist and, I’ll give you some advice as to which would be the right one for you. That our website is –

We do keep on here as a test drive vehicle and yeah, we have one of the biggest ranges between here and Auckland and you can choose your colour, c choose the right battery. That’s right for you. 


What about supply issues at the moment? 

So there’s no problem getting the vehicles here.The only problem we have is that we are sold out. And in fact, before the vehicles even arrive, while they’re still on the, on the, on the track on the boat. Sorry, coming from Japan we are selling them off the boat moment here. Yeah.

But we do have one. You can and the beauty with.

Particularly the Nissan Leaf is that you can drive this, they will drive the same so it’s really just a few little bells and whistles or colours that would make the difference in the battery obviously. 

The key thing is, the more you spend, the more you can go between charging.

Now I mentioned earlier about the battery check here’s an example of what’s called a Leaf Spy Report. The key things you’re looking for here, the state of health here is SOH. This one’s that 82% ,so good, really good battery in this car. And the other thing you look for as the here quick charges and L 1/L2s which are low rate charges so 130 with a quick charging and 500 of low and slow charges so that’s again perfectly normal nothing to raise any alarm bells here so this is just a good a good example of what’s called a at least spy and you would want this before buying a Nissan Leaf to check these figures here.

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