EV roaming pilot coming to New Zealand

EV roaming pilot coming to New Zealand as ChargeNet, Z Energy and OpenLoop partner up for 2024 trial project

Three of New Zealand’s leading EV charging providers – ChargeNet, Z Energy (Z) and Counties Energy Limited, which operates OpenLoop – have today announced they are launching an EV charging roaming trial, with support from Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). The project aims to develop and trial EV-roaming capability between the three EV charging networks, which would enable EV drivers to charge at any of three networks from their choice of account.

The trial will commence in early 2024 and seeks to develop a comprehensive proof-of-concept for New Zealand’s public EV-charging infrastructure. By providing trial participants with easy access to all three charging networks, the pilot aims to accelerate New Zealand’s transition to a more sustainable, electrified transportation system.

ChargeNet CEO Danusia Wypych says that the trial is driven by ChargeNet’s focus on continually investigating ways it can provide customers with best-in-class customer service, reliability and convenience.

“We want to make it easy for customers to love driving an EV – making EVs ‘everyday awesome’. EV-roaming technology allows electric vehicle drivers to conveniently access charging infrastructure across different charging networks using a single account, eliminating the need for multiple accounts. The trial will investigate the development of technology to support an interoperable system that enables seamless access and payment options for EV owners, across the three service providers. In practice, it would be like using an ATM for a different bank to the one you hold an account with,” she says.

“This partnership brings together the expertise, resources, and network reach of three industry leaders, with the shared goal of enhancing New Zealand’s charging infrastructure and fostering the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. We have recognised the need to work with other EV networks to facilitate the transition to electric mobility, and to support the needs of our customers. Customers, no matter who they hold an account with, will be able to travel longer distances confidently, knowing they can access charging infrastructure across multiple networks with ease.”

Kieran Turner, Head of EV Charging at Z, says that eliminating the need for multiple accounts will streamline the charging experience for EV drivers.

“Z is New Zealand’s leading transport energy provider, and we have a sound understanding of how people move about the country. Our goal is to make it as easy for EV drivers to refuel as it is for those who drive petrol and diesel vehicles.”

“It’s quite simple for people to refuel with petrol or diesel at any service station across the country, and we hope this trial will enable EV customers participating in the trial to have a similar experience. We recognise it’s a pain having multiple accounts for different charging platforms and during this trial customers will have the ability to use their Z, ChargeNet or OpenLoop charging account at any of these charging sites. It takes away the concern of having to find a specific provider’s charger or having to download and create another account, which we hope takes away one of the barriers for those who have made or are looking to make the switch to an EV,” says Kieran.

Moonis Vegdani, Group Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer of Counties Energy, says that by collaborating on this trial, ChargeNet, Z Energy, and Counties Energy’s OpenLoop aim to overcome barriers and accelerate the transition to electric mobility by making EV charging more accessible and convenient for all New Zealanders.

“We’re proud to be involved in this collaboration with ChargeNet and Z Energy, which will ultimately benefit all EV charging customers with easy access to multiple charging platforms via roaming partnerships. The flexibility we intend to provide customers removes a current industry barrier which requires different mobile apps across various charging networks around Aotearoa. As we work together with our industry peers for a better customer experience, we are committed to creating an open, fair and competitive environment for this increasingly critical energy service. This opportunity allows us to test roaming in Aotearoa both technically and commercially to determine the model that best suits Kiwi customers in the long term,” he says.

The trial demonstrates a shared commitment to sustainable transportation and the transition to a low-carbon future. By embracing innovative technologies and collaboration, the three organisations aim to further progress the evolution of New Zealand’s charging infrastructure, supporting the Government’s ambitious renewable energy goals and decarbonisation efforts.

The trial is jointly funded by ChargeNet, Z Energy, OpenLoop, and EECA, with funding from Round 7 of the Government’s Low Emission Transport Fund (LETF), which is administered by EECA.