Thursday, June 13, 2024

Closing the gaps in South Island EV charging network

Key gaps in the South Island’s public EV charging network will be closed with support from the Government’s Low Emissions Transport Fund (LETF), Minister for Energy and Resources, Megan Woods announced today.

“This round of co-funding was strategically targeted at a few specific locations, to ensure there is good charging coverage in the South Island,” Minister Woods said.

Five new locations – Kohatu, Haast, Hari Hari, St Arnaud, and Springs Junction – are set to receive DC fast chargers in a partnership between the LETF and Meridian Energy.

“They represent some of the most challenging sites in New Zealand to install electric vehicle chargers, with electricity grid constraints and lower traffic volumes,” Dr Woods said. 

The LETF, administered by EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority), made just over $1 million available to help fill important remaining gaps in the State Highway network.

Chargers at these locations will largely complete the government’s goal to provide fast chargers to the public at 75km intervals along state highways.

“These locations are on some of our popular tourist routes, giving travellers and locals alike the confidence to take their electric vehicle and enjoy the scenic drive without the risk of getting stranded.” 

“Being more remote, they presented some unique challenges to potential charging providers, so I’m delighted that this public good funding government assistance gets them over the line,” the Minister said.

Meridian Energy Ltd will install 10 chargers as part of their nationwide charger rollout:

  • Kohatu – two 50kW DC fast chargers in Kohatu, filling a network gap between Murchison and Nelson.
  • Haast – two 50kW DC fast chargers in Haast, filling a network gap between Wanaka and Franz Joseph.
  • Hari Hari – two 50kW DC fast chargers in Hari Hari, filling a gap between Fox Glacier and Westport.
  • St Arnaud – two 25kW DC chargers in St Arnaud, facilitating electric vehicle traffic to Lake Rotoiti and Blenheim.
  • Springs Junction – two 50kW DC fast chargers which will be supported by three 120kWh BESS (battery energy storage system) units in Springs Junction west of Lewis Pass, eliminating a key charging infrastructure blackspot.

The charger installations are expected to be available from May 2023. The LETF is contributing $1,065,914 in co-funding alongside $756,782 in private investment from Meridian. The higher level of Government co-funding reflects both the higher cost of each installation and their expected levels of utilisation, the Minister said.

“Meridian provided a robust solution, with two fast chargers at each site to provide redundancy. They thought outside the box to provide both value for money and workable technical solutions, including the battery storage system at Springs Junction, the first of its kind in New Zealand,” she said.

Successful applicants from a separate round of LETF co-funding, which invited applications for vehicle and technology projects, would be announced in the next few months. Future rounds will open later in 2022.

More information about the confirmed co-funding, and previous rounds, can be found here: Low Emission Transport Fund | EECA.

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