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NZ keeping pace with electric vehicle charging technology

A ChargeNet NZ EV and public charging station.

Drive Electric’s EV charging experts say work is underway to make sure New Zealand keeps up with the latest charging technology.

One of the electric vehicle advocacy group’s board members, Ewan Morris says the public and private sectors are working together to future-proof current infrastructure.

“Locally we need to prepare our main highways for future high power charging infrastructure,” says Morris, who is also managing director of charging infrastructure technology supplier ABB.

“That will help us meet the demand for future high power charging for long range EVs.”

Higher kilowatt charging is already a reality and will continue to increase, Morris says.

“When we look at public charging infrastructure, the majority of cars will charge at 50kW until 2020.

“With the first cars with up to 150 kW charging coming to the market at the end of 2018, we foresee 50 kW charging shifting to metropolitan areas, with high power/fast chargers with 150-350 kW mainly being used on highway locations on long distance corridors.”

Allowances also need to be made for private and residential charging, he says.

“As the penetration of EVs increases, a key consideration for New Zealand will be the ability to allow for shifting the peak load through managed charging and control.

“Regulation will most likely be needed to help mandate intelligent/connected home chargers that will enable loads to be managed and peaks to be shifted.

Planned housing growth is also creating an opportunity to educate people about the benefits of home charging, Morris says.

“To offer people that knowledge now with smart AC chargers will prevent the need for retrofitting in the years to come. This could also require some regulation we think, as in effect people will have a fuel station at home.”

Another Drive Electric board member Steve West says governments around the world are setting strict targets for reducing carbon emissions, which accelerates electric vehicle adoption.

However, people will not make the move to electric vehicles without access to reliable rapid charging, says West, who is also chief executive of charging
infrastructure provider ChargeNet NZ.

“As such, we have seen both governments and the private sector make significant investments in developing infrastructure in order to support the exponential growth in electric vehicle adoption.”

West says the government and private sector are moving to develop and implement policy frameworks and an operating environment for a zero-carbon economy by 2050, which includes significant investment in electric vehicle adoption.

He notes the secretary general of the Norwegian EV Association, Christina Bu,recently pointed out at the EV Roadmap Conference in Oregon, New Zealand has “blown away the rest of the western world in terms of its growth in the electrification of transport”.

“In terms of infrastructure, New Zealand has well-developed nationwide charging infrastructure compared to the rest of the world - especially for a small-market nation. There are 94 DC fast chargers and 27 AC chargers on ChargeNet NZ's nationwide network alone,” West says.

“Motorists will appreciate an electric vehicle fast charging network across New Zealand that makes long distance driving a clean, quiet and hassle-free experience.”

Editor’s notes: Drive Electric is a not-for-profit group that includes many electricity and transport industry leaders on its board. It has several functions, including undertaking research about issues affecting electric vehicles, lobbying the government to continue setting ambitious targets for electric vehicle uptake and helping educate the public and companies about the benefits of EVs.


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