Staff of a large Auckland insurance office will have to remember to plug their company pool car back into the wall after business trips.

Sovereign has had power charging points installed in the garage of its energy-efficient North Shore headquarters for an all-electric car it has bought from Nissan ahead of a public sales launch in July.

The Nissan Leaf, valued at $69,600, has become available for any fully-licensed staff who need to make business trips from their Smales Farm building.

But they will have to plug it back into the wall after use, to ensure its lithium-ion battery is kept charged for trips of up to 160 kilometres - the car's maximum range - under an arrangement with Mercury Energy for a 30 per cent off-peak electricity discount.


They will also have to get used to fast and noiseless acceleration, although the car gives out a softened bell-like sound to alert pedestrians.

At $4 a power charge, their fuel costs are less than 20 per cent of petrol and diesel cars, and supporters of the technology say it is only a matter of time before they become cheaper.