Policy will strengthen charging networks and electrification of transport

ChargeNet says National policy will strengthen charging networks and electrification of transport

Announcement highlights electrification of transport sector has strong support across the political spectrum

ChargeNet, Aotearoa New Zealand’s nationwide EV charging network says it welcomes the National Party’s announcement today that it will “supercharge” EV infrastructure by investing $257 million over four years into building 10,000 EV charging points, and enable a greater strategic focus from private investors on where infrastructure is needed by removing red tape while maintaining co-investment. With both National and Labour offering support to emerging EV charging industry, the bipartisan support to decarbonise the transport sector is an encouraging sign for investors and New Zealand drivers.

ChargeNet CEO, Danusia Wypych says efforts to strengthen and diversify EV market growth, as well as charging infrastructure in New Zealand must be maintained as the cost of an EV approaches price parity with internal combustion vehicles within the next five years. Private capital is ready to lead, and effective public funding amplifies and accelerates that investment.

“I have recently returned from a European market insights tour, where there is a public charger for approximately every 10 EVs on the road. In New Zealand, that ratio is closer to one charger for every 100 EVs. The demand is already there. Earlier this year, when we paired a brand new hyper-rapid 300kW charger alongside our hard working 50kW charger in Bulls, the new charger hit more than 10% utilisation in the first month, in line with international utilisation rates,” says Danusia.

“We have been investing heavily in the ChargeNet network for seven years: for any dollar the Government has invested with us in charging infrastructure, we invested a further three dollars. The announcement of greater funding and the freedom for private investors to be more targeted with their funding will ensure that infrastructure is being built in step with EV market uptake, and using data-based insights to ensure it’s going into the areas where it’s most needed. Increasing the availability of multiple points at sites where drivers need them is a priority,” she says.

ChargeNet has recently approved investment for a proposed site with up to five 150kW chargers being installed, with a total 750kW capacity available. The proposed site is equivalent to 15 of ChargeNet’s original national network sites. ChargeNet has also confirmed installations and upgrades at the new PAK’nSAVE Warkworth supermarket, Tamahere in the Waikato, and at PAK’nSAVE Paraparaumu.

“Our sector should be led by companies that know the market intimately and have the data to support targeted investment. We are pleased to see that National’s approach will help to remove red tape. Some of our new build sites are now commercially viable from inception, so
ensuring public funding is focused on accelerating adoption and balancing equitable access is something that will benefit every mature market participant.

“Our business is data-driven, and we know that our customers have two or three “favourite” places to charge: they are already incorporating EV charging into their everyday activities. It is critical that both Government and business continue to invest in the locations that support rapid adoption,” says Danusia.

ChargeNet continues to invest in new sites across the country, as well as strengthen its existing sites to accommodate more EVs. In the last 12 months, it has increased its network to over 300 charging points.

“We currently have a baseline plan with over 20 sites to deliver in the next nine months. That’s 34 chargers committed to new sites, with the capacity to deliver charging sessions at a rate that is equivalent to 100 of our current 50kW sites. We have just placed an order for 100 charging units, which will start landing in New Zealand in the next three months. Every month we’re confirming more sites and adding to our investment programme,” says Danusia Wypych.

ChargeNet’s position on National’s proposed removal of the Clean Car Discount Danusia Wypych says the Clean Car Discount has been a highly effective tool to stimulate the market and encourage people to make the transition. The timing of National’s policy to remove the Clean Car Discount could be delayed to optimise the support for individuals and industry.

“While we’re now at a point where EVs are a mainstream purchasing consideration, there is still a few years to go before EVs reach price parity with internal combustion vehicles. The removal of the Clean Car Discount is premature, as it may deter some drivers from making the switch, and slow down the growth of the market,” she says.

“With that said, EVs already make sound economic sense. They cost much, much less to “fill up” – the average cost of home charging to get to 100% is around $5, depending on your electricity provider, and the average charging session costs around $15 – $25. By comparison, an internal combustion vehicle currently costs around $160 to fill up. That’s a huge difference in running cost, and in addition to that EVs require less maintenance, so the overall lifetime cost benefits are far greater.

“We’re confident that EV adoption can and will continue even if the Clean Car Discount is removed, however it will be an important tool to encourage growth as a second-hand market for EVs continues to develop.”