New Zealand needs more charging points for electric vehicles, say owners finding themselves having to queue to plug in.

The latest survey by EV-focused citizen science project Flip the Fleet quizzed more than 100 owners on what made the ideal charging station.

While everything from car vacuum cleaners to coffee came up in the responses, the biggest demand was simply availability.

New Zealand Transport Agency aimed to have rapid DC charging points in place across every 75kms of state highway, making long-distance travel more viable.


But the EV owners said it was in city centres, where most of the country's EVs were clustered, that more charging points were urgently needed.

They saw the top priority was having a charger in full working order, without having a queue – and immediate availability was rated almost twice as important as all of the other features desired at a station.

EV owners were on average having to wait their turn to charge on 14 per cent of visits, for an average wait of between nine and 12 minutes.

"EV owners do nearly all their charging at home, where it is cheap, convenient and reliable," said Justin Boyd, a Flip the Fleet participant and co-ordinator to the Waikato EV group.

"But it's also important to have access to rapid chargers on those occasional long trips away from home."

The second-most important issue for men was locating the chargers close to a main route.

Women prioritised high visibility to increase their personal security while waiting to charge and were more content to drive further off the main route to charge if necessary.

Proximity to shops and food, also a favourite for men, and a public toilet, especially for women, were less important.


A minority wanted to charge close to a park for the kids or natural areas for a walk, or just to enjoy a good view while their car charges.

"I want something to do while I charge," one respondent said.

"Knowing I can get back to my car quickly when required, I stop, go to the toilet, grab a snack, maybe get some stuff for home and then head off."

Boyd believed more education would help.

"As the survey shows, sometimes EV owners leave their car at the charger while they go to do some shopping and don't return in time before it's full," he said.

"So the car is fully charged but is blocking access for others."

EV owners became most aggravated when they got "ICE'd" – or when an internal combustion engine car had parked in a charging spot.

"If parking is at a premium, and the charger is key to getting home, it's frustrating to find an ICE owner has taken the only charging spot in the vicinity," Boyd said.

"How would people feel if an EV blocked the only petrol station between them and home?

"We need to continue to promote the benefits of EVs to all the community and to build mutual respect to the needs of drivers of both ICE cars and EVs."

Fortunately, the survey found that "ICEing" happened only around two per cent of the time on average.

The exception was Dunedin, where EV owners are blocked from the charger between six per cent and 15 per cent of the time.

Boyd welcomed the issues raised by the survey.

"The more we know about the developing issues, the better placed we are to lobby for them to be corrected," he said.

"It's a collective effort of government and business to build the charging network, and we are supremely grateful for their investments."

As of last month, there were nearly 7600 EVs on our roads – up from 200 the same time five years ago.

The bulk were concentrated in Auckland, and light EVs were a growing proportion of registrations, with more individuals owning them than companies.

Pure EVs were now also out-selling plug-in hybrids, the latest Ministry of Transport figures showed.

New Zealand aims get 64,000 EVs on our roads by 2021, including one third of Government vehicles, through incentives such as allowing them to use special vehicle lanes, exempting them from road user charges and subsidising projects through the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund.