German auto giant BMW and Charge Net NZ will build a network of fast-charging DC stations in New Zealand
With the creation of a so-called “electric highway”, drivers of EVs will be able to travel almost 2,000 km from the northern tip of New Zealand to the south without running out of juice.
More than 100 stations will be installed by the end of next year, with 80 new fast-charging stations being added to operator Charge Net NZ’s existing network of 20 by the end of 2017. The stations will offer both CCS (combined charging system) and CHAdeMO connectors.
BMW produces the i3 electric car, which will be able to get an 80% in 30 minutes from the stations via its CCS connector.
The NZ government has a goal of doubling electric vehicles yearly to 64,000 in 2021, although the Ministry of Transport figures suggest that only around 1,800 are on the roads, including plug-in hybrids.
Speaking at a launch event, Minister of Energy and Resources and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges said that: “We looked really closely at what was required for charging infrastructure. I was initially pretty keen to see the Government involved in the rollout. But counter-intuitively, the advice that I got from a range of private players, including [Charge Net founder] Steve West, as well as our own authorities, was that we would get a much better outcome if we left this to private players to step up and take the initiative.”
Nevertheless, networks such as these are a good start, and with the supporting infrastructure in place, NZ’s EV sales are likely to pick up.