New Zealand renewable electricity gen-tailer Meridian Energy has announced it will build a nationwide EV charging network to help reduce range anxiety and give drivers confidence in their decision to go electric.
In a statement published on Thursday, Meridian said the multi-million-dollar scheme would install more than 200 electric vehicle chargers nation-wide over the next three years “in the places that Kiwis live and play.”
Meridian said the rollout would use slower-charging AC chargers only, due to the lower impact these would have on the electricity networks and to their suitability to shopping malls, retail and business parks, and community facilities.
The gen-tailer said the AC network would complement New Zealand’s existing DC fast chargers, that were available for electric vehicle drivers who needed to charge quickly and travel long distances.
“New Zealand needs more extensive charging infrastructure to help build real momentum to the switch to electric,” said Meridian chief Neal Barclay.
“As a 100 per cent renewable energy generator, we’re committed to helping Aotearoa achieve its climate change commitments and this is one way that we’re able to make a meaningful impact.”
The move is significant, as New Zealand, not unlike Australia, has been slow to introduce meaningful political policies to support the transition to electric transport.
Other than recently mandating that all government agencies must now purchase all-electric or hybrid vehicles only, NZ’s Labor government, which was re-elected in December of 2020, is still “considering options” for an incentive scheme to drive the switch to clean cars.
The party appears to have ditched plans for a “feebate” that would have both taxed polluting cars and offer discounts for cleaner alternatives. A separate subsidy option previously proposed would have offered EV buyers a $NZ1000-$2000 subsidy.
As it stands, EV sales in New Zealand – both full battery and plug-in hybrids, new and used – are humming along at an average rate of 500 a month, and hit a peak of 1,010 in September 2019 with the arrival of the Tesla Model 3.
“We know that the electrification of transport is one of the biggest ways that we can help combat climate change. But New Zealand needs more extensive charging infrastructure to help build real momentum to the switch to electric,” Barclay added.