According to Minister for Energy and Resources Dr. Megan Woods, significant gaps in the South Island’s public EV charging network will be closed with funding from the government’s Low Emissions Transport Fund (LETF).
“This round of co-funding was strategically targeted at a few specific locations, to ensure there is good charging coverage in the South Island,” Megan Woods said.
“Five new locations – Kohatu, Haast, Hari Hari, St Arnaud, and Springs Junction – will receive DC fast chargers in a partnership between the LETF and Meridian Energy.
They represent some of the most challenging sites in New Zealand to install electric vehicle chargers, with electricity grid constraints and lower traffic volumes,” Megan Woods said.
Just over $1 million was made available by the LETF, which is run by EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority), to help close significant gaps in the State Highway system.
The public will be able to access fast chargers at 75 km intervals along state highways thanks to the chargers at these places, which will mainly fulfil the government ‘s goal.
“These locations are on some of our popular tourist routes, giving travellers and locals alike the confidence to take their electric vehicle and enjoy the scenic drive without the risk of getting stranded,” Megan Woods said.
“Being more remote, they presented some unique challenges to potential charging providers, so I’m delighted that this public good funding government assistance gets them over the line.”
Meridian Energy Ltd will install 10 chargers as part of their nationwide charger rollout (see related map):
- Kohatu – two 50kW DC fast chargers in Kohatu, filling a network gap between Murchison and Nelson.
- Haast – two 50kW DC fast chargers in Haast, filling a network gap between Wanaka and Franz Joseph.
- Hari Hari – two 50kW DC fast chargers in Hari Hari, filling a gap between Fox Glacier and Westport.
- St Arnaud – two 25kW DC chargers in St Arnaud, facilitating electric vehicle traffic to Lake Rotoiti and Blenheim.
- Springs Junction – two 50kW DC fast chargers which will be supported by three 120kWh BESS (battery energy storage system) units in Springs Junction west of Lewis Pass, eliminating a key charging infrastructure blackspot.
The installation of the chargers is anticipated to begin in May 2023. Along with Meridian’s $756,782 private investment, the LETF is co-funding the project with $1,065,914. Both the greater cost of each installation and the anticipated levels of utilisation are reflected in the higher level of government co-funding.
“Meridian provided a robust solution, with two fast chargers at each site to provide redundancy. They thought outside the box to provide both value for money and workable technical solutions, including the battery storage system at Springs Junction, the first of its kind in New Zealand.” Megan Woods said.
In the coming months, the names of the successful candidates from a second LETF co-funding round that welcomed submissions for vehicle and technology projects would be released. The following rounds will start later in 2022.
You can read more about the confirmed co-funding and earlier rounds here: Low Emission Transport Fund | EECA.