Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Major boost for EV charging network

The nation’s public EV charging network has received a significant boost, with the Government to co-fund more than 100 EV chargers across New Zealand.

Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods says the focus for the EV boost is on major highways, throughfares, and places New Zealanders regularly visit while out and about.

“Our EV sales keep increasing month on month, so we’re working with the industry to ensure charging capacity grows, and in front of demand,” said Minister Woods.

“We have hit the previous EV charging target of one charger each 75km on our State highways, but our new vision is that New Zealanders should be able to charge where and when they need to. The projects that have received co-funding today show the full mix of options EV drivers can expect.”

EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) research shows that while 80% of people do more than half of their charging at home, Kiwis also need a range of options available to them while out and about, and especially on longer journeys.

“New chargers will be situated at places like shopping centres where people may be parked for up to a couple of hours,” said Dr Woods.

“To help with longer journeys, the government is co-funding high-speed chargers on main highways at 19 popular holiday routes including Bombay, Turangi and Wanaka. Also included are the country’s first charging ‘hubs’ where up to 10 high-speed chargers will sit alongside amenities like food options and toilets.”

The Government’s draft National EV Charging Strategy – Charging our Future –  proposed a target for hubs to be situated about every 150-200km across the State highway network.

The announced projects come from three rounds of the Low Emission Transport Fund (LETF), administered by EECA. Altogether, 16 projects will receive $11 million in government co-funding, matched by $13.5 million in private investment.

Danusia Wypych, ChargeNet’s CEO, says that when partnering with EECA, ChargeNet leverages data-driven insights and valuable customer feedback to strategically invest co-funding into communities that will support current and future EV drivers.

“We are excited to bring eight new electric vehicle charging sites across New Zealand’s regional centres. Our focus is on providing fast charging in the right place, at the right time and at the right speed.”

“The co-funding will support improving charging capacity ahead of the anticipated summer demand and build network coverage in regional areas and holiday hotspots throughout the country.”

Craig Marshall, Head of We.EV at WEL networks, says, “The LETF funding has been instrumental in enabling both the viability and speed to market of new public charging stations and is key to meeting the future charging demand.

“These sites are not necessarily economic from day one, however we need to build out the infrastructure to meet increasing demand and the funding assists business to bridge that gap.

“The size of the chargers we are looking to install now has increased enabling faster charge times and allowance for future upgrades.”

Head of EV Charging, Z Energy, Kieran Turner echoed the role of the partnership saying, “the support will enable Z to deliver more charging bays sooner at key locations for drivers.

“This includes the ability to put in more capacity ahead of the curve at some of our busiest locations, as well as plugging some of the gaps on people’s longer journeys,” he said.

“As part of this work, Z is excited to be partnering with Red Phase Technologies to bring innovation to the industry for our larger sites that will reduce the demand on the electricity grid while enhancing the overall customer experience.”

Minister Woods said the LETF had been a key driver for the development of the public network.

“The investment will help ensure we are in a good position to reduce emissions from transport. This is critical to hitting New Zealand’s net zero goal and avoiding the worst of climate change,” she said.

“We are starting to bend the curve on transport emissions; the latest data shows that emissions from household vehicle use fell 2.5% in the December 2022 quarter. We want to not only continue that downward trend but accelerate its pace.

 “We will continue to invest in the infrastructure that can help us get there.”

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

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