Smart EV charging put to the test in New Zealand first

Media Releases

With the Interim Climate Change Commission (ICCC) calling for the electrification of up to half our national vehicle fleet by 2035, and almost half of those expected to be in Auckland, Vector and Auckland residents have embarked on a trial to test smart technology that could help manage the change. This is the first time a trial of this nature and scale has been conducted in New Zealand.
120 EV users across Auckland have signed up to participate in the trial, in which Vector has installed a 7kW smart EV charger at each participant’s home. The trial, which was launched by Hon. Phil Twyford, Minister of Transport and MP for Te AtatÅ« this morning, will last for up to 18 months, during which time Vector will work together with participants to collect data on their EV charging preferences and better understand how smart EV charging can satisfy their expectations.
The trial will also determine if optimising EV charging schedules could help alleviate peak demands on the network, a key benefit of which could include avoiding the need to invest in expensive network infrastructure upgrades.
Vector Group CEO, Simon Mackenzie said, “EVs present a large opportunity for New Zealand to reduce carbon emissions, increase energy security and improve air quality. However, if uptake is left unmanaged, the distribution network will start to become constrained and require costly reinforcement.
“If the number of EVs on our roads reaches 2 million by 2035, as supported by the ICCC, the demands this will place on our existing network infrastructure will be unprecedented, especially if residents arrive home at the end of a typical work day and start charging their cars at the same time, on top of their other energy needs.
“We’re interested in finding out how smart EV charging, combined with intelligent load management, can help us seamlessly integrate and support EV uptake. Our aim is to determine how we can all benefit from the environmental advantages of EVs, and ensure we have affordable and reliable infrastructure as Auckland grows, while avoiding the need for large infrastructure investments.”
During the trial, participants will provide regular feedback about their experience and participate in a community forum with other EV users. Vector will be able to use the feedback to learn more about customer requirements, and to determine how managed charging can establish a level of flexibility that benefits both customers and the network.
Minister of Transport Phil Twyford said, “As we move to a zero-carbon future, it’s important that we have the infrastructure to support the changes we need to make. Our Government is working to meet Auckland’s infrastructure needs through the Auckland Transport Alignment Project and we’re also looking at encouraging the uptake of low emission vehicles. We look forward to seeing the results of Vector’s trial.”
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomed the trial.
“Transport emissions make up 40 per cent of overall carbon emissions in Auckland so transitioning to sustainable transport modes such as electric vehicles is a key part of tackling our climate change challenges.
“This trial by Vector will help maximise the environmental benefits of increased EV usage while avoiding disruption to the energy network.”
The trial was launched at the home of participant Loren Woolmore this morning.
“For us, owning an EV means breaking away from our dependence on fossil fuels and setting an example for our children that shows them we need to care for our planet, which they will one day inherit,” said Ms Woolmore.
“We wanted to take part in the smart charger trial because we wanted to see exactly how much power our cars were using, and we are passionate about doing our part to become a more sustainable country.”

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