The growth of New Zealand’s EV market has been nothing short of astonishing over the past 12 months.
The boom has been accelerated by the Clean Car rebates that provide cashbacks on low-emission vehicles – demand is so high that for many models, you may face a long waitlist for some models.
With such a rapid shift toward electric vehicles, it’s leading some people to ask: Do we have enough chargers to meet this growing demand? EV drivers have been concerned about recent social media comments that chargers are often out of order and there are too few chargers available at various popular locations to meet demand.
Should Kiwi drivers be worried that high demand for chargers will outstrip supply?
Our charging network is growing almost as fast as EV sales
New Zealand has one big advantage over Australia – our land mass is long and thin, which makes it much easier to install chargers that can service the entire country.
Even if you don’t drive an EV, you will have noticed public chargers popping up everywhere. Unlike your at-home charger, these are available to everyone, and you can plug in at petrol stations, in supermarket car parks, at malls, campgrounds and other easily accessible spots.
The network is also growing: ChargeNet has 266 charge points on its network, including 22 installed in 2021, with an additional 60 charge points under development. The Warehouse is expanding its network of free chargers, while an Australian provider (Jolt) is coming to the market with plans for 500 new chargers over the next four years.
Charge up at home, then plan your journey
Most new BEVs will travel for at least 300km on a single charge, and the best place to charge is at home. The batteries found in BEVs and PHEVs are designed to be trickle-charged and your home charger is the ideal way to do this, especially late at night when the load on the grid is the lowest.
Before you take a long trip, charge your car fully using our at-home charger, then plan where to charge up when you’re out and about – ideally just enough to get you to your destination rather than filling to 100% with every charge. You can use the Waka Kotahi EV Journey Planner, which currently lists more than 330 EV charging stations throughout New Zealand, or the AA Time & Distance Calculator, which also lists charging stations.
GenLess recommends that you check the manufacturer’s advice for fast charging your car – frequent fast charging can decrease battery capacity on some models, and in hot weather you should try to charge in the shade.
Better batteries and BEV infrastructure
As the growth of the BEV market continues, engineers and scientists keep coming up with innovations that remove barriers to adoption. Battery innovations are improving all the time as businesses race to develop longer-lasting, faster-charging lithium-ion batteries. There are also alternative innovations, like EV lanes on motorways that charge your car as you drive. These are being tested in the US and UK, and experts at the University of Auckland are leading a local project.
Our government is highly motivated to create better infrastructure for electric vehicles to try to achieve its climate change targets. And businesses all over the world are working to come up with new ways to grab a slice of this fast-growing market. So if you’ve been wondering about going electric, don’t let anxiety about our charging network capacity stop you from buying a BEV or PHEV.
In 2020, AA Battery Service introduced a mobile EV charge service in Wellington to support AA Members who have been “caught short” on their journeys with an EV. For EV charger assistance Wellington AA Members can call 0800 500 222, #222 from their mobile or request assistance via the AA Roadservice app.