E-car service FAQs

Got a question about the ŌCHT/Zilch Car Sharing e-car scheme?

You’ll find plenty of information on our ŌCHT/Zilch Car Sharing e-car scheme page or over at Zilch Car Sharing.

Still can’t find what you need? The service is managed and maintained by Zilch Car Sharing– drop them a line:


Our frequently asked questions

What is the service?

The ŌCHT/Zilch Car Sharing subsidised EV scheme is a scheme offered to OCHT tenants.
The service has two Nissan Leafs which are based a charging stations at Karoro Lane.
The cars are supplied by ŌCHT.
The service is managed by Zilch Car Sharing.
Users need to be registered with Zilch Car Sharing.
Users need to follow Zilch Car Sharing’s terms and conditions.
All questions and concerns about the service should be made to Zilch Car Sharing.
The car trip cost is subsidised by ŌCHT.
The service is being run on a two-year trial from June 2021.
The service is being monitored by researchers from Lincoln, Canterbury and Otago universities.
The service is funded by ŌCHT and a grant from the Government’s Low Emissions Vehicles Contestable Fund, which is administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

How do I get set up to use the EV?

You need to register with Zilch.
You can do that via the Zilch website: https://www.zilch.nz/joining-zilch/
You need to have a full New Zealand drivers’ licence and be at least 21-years-old.
You need a clean drivers’ licence.
It might take a day for Zilch to approve your registration.
When registered, Zilch will send you an access card.
It looks like a credit card or hotel access card.
You use the card to open and start to use the car: you swipe it on the car name on the windscreen on the driver’s side to open the door.
You’ll need a credit or debit card to register with Zilch and to start using the cars.

Do I need an app to start using the car?

No. You can use the access card and you can book the car via the online booking system on Zilch’s web page.
You have 15 minutes either side of the booking time to open the car using the card.

There is an app you can use on your smartphone, though.

You can download the Zilch Car Sharing app from wherever you get your apps.
The app allows you to book and use cars.
When using the app, you can scan the QR code on the name on the windscreen to start using the car.
You’ll need to have data on your smart phone to use the app.
You have 15 minutes either side of the booking time to open the car using the app.
You can’t use the app to register with Zilch. You have to do that via the Zilch website: https://www.zilch.nz/joining-zilch/
You don’t need to use Bluetooth to use the app and start using the car.

What happens if my phone goes flat while I have the EV out?

Nothing – even if you’ve booked using your smart phone, you can use the card to check it back in my simply swiping the window sensor after you’re brought it back.

Do I need a key?

No. You need to use the card or the app to open and use the car.

Can anyone use the cars?

The cars are available to anyone who books them. They are based at Karoro Lane but they are available to tenants from any other ŌCHT properties to use. Anybody can use the cars.

How does the system know I am a tenant?

It doesn’t collect this sort of information. The cars are available to anyone who books them.

How much do they cost to hire?

  • $8 an hour
  • $25 overnight
  • $50 for 24 hours

The rates are subsidised by ŌCHT for ŌCHT tenants, so they are lower than what’s available to everyone else.
You’ll need a credit or debit card to register with Zilch and to start using the cars.

Can I book the car and let someone else drive?

No. Only the registered driver can drive the car.

Can I take other people for a ride in the car?

You sure can. It’s yours to use once you’ve booked it. Just make sure the car is clean and tidy when you return it.

How do I drive an e-car?

They handle like any other car – this video gives a pretty good summary. If in doubt, call 0800 2 ZILCH.

Will ŌCHT or Zilch pay any fines I might get while using the car?

No. These are the responsibility of the person who booked the car, or who is driving the car. Zilch will follow-up any fines associated with the hire.

What do I do if the car breaks down?

Zilch manages the car service. You need to call them on 0800 2 ZILCH

The charger’s not working, What do I do?

Check to be sure you’re using it properly. You need to swipe your card over the charging station to make it work.
You need to plug the car into the station correctly. Check the points line up.
Call Zilch 0800 2 ZILCH if the problem persists.

I’m using the car for a while. Where can I recharge it?

You can use other public chargers around the city. However, they may charge you for using them. The Zilch card works with all chargers. You tap the card on the charger. You may have to pay if it is a pay-for charger.
You can call Zilch and they can tell you where the nearest charging station is.
You can download the Plugshare app to your smartphone. It shows all the chargers around the country.
You can visit Plugshare on your browser, too: https://www.plugshare.com/

How can I tell how full the battery is?

There’s a battery indicator on the dash. It tells you how much charge there is a percentage, and how far you can go on the charge you’ve got.

The battery went flat while I am using the car. What do I do?

Call 0800 2 ZILCH. They’ll talk you through what to do next.

The car has been stolen – what do I do?

Call 0800 2 ZILCH. They’ll talk you through what to do next. The cars are GPS tracked so Zilch will be able to notify the police very quickly.

Can I take the car out of the city? What are the limits?

There are no limits as to how far you take the car, but some journeys might attract additional charging. Call 0800 2 ZILCH to be sure.

Are the cars tracked with GPS?

Yes. This is standard practice for car sharing services. The information will also be used to help EECA understand how much use the service is getting.

Can I reserve a booking ahead of time?

You sure can – you can book weeks in advance if you want to.

I’ve booked a car and the last person hasn’t returned it – what do I do?

Your booking will be moved to the other car if it is available, If not, please call 0800 2 ZILCH.

What do I do if I damage the car?

You should let Zilch know by calling 0800 2 ZILCH.
You should take photographs of the damage. You’ll need to email them to Zilch.
You may be responsible for damage if it is caused by your negligence.

Who maintains the EVs?

Zilch is managing the service and maintaining the cars. Please let Zilch know if they need maintaining by calling 0800 2 ZILCH.
Zilch will book the car out for servicing so no scheduling clashes can happen.

Can a tenant reserve more than one car at a time?

Yes – but only one card can operate one car at a time.

Can you smoke or vape in an EV?

No. They are smoke free zones.

Do children need to be in a car seat as usual?

You need to follow the usual road user rules, so children need to be properly restrained.
The cars have ISO fix points you can use to secure your child seat.


Helpful links:


The service is managed and maintained by Zilch Car Sharing– they can help.
Call Zilch on 0800 2 ZILCH (0800 294 524)
Email Zilch at support@zilch.nz

E-vehicle Scheme

The Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust
61 Kilmore St,

Hours: 8.30 am-5.00 pm, Monday-Friday.

Postal: PO Box 53, Christchurch 8041