Auckland energy company Vector and Dutch start-up Chargetrip
have teamed up to ease ‘range and charge anxiety’ among New Zealand’s rapidly growing number of electric vehicle (EV) users.
Range anxiety is a term often used to describe the stress EV users experience when their destination is or could be further than their car battery’s range, and they fear they could end up stranded on the side of the road. Charge anxiety is caused by the uncertainty of waiting lines at charge stations. Both are considered major barriers keeping people from switching to electric driving.
To put more control and freedom in the hands of EV users, Vector and Chargetrip are adapting a popular EV journey planning app for the New Zealand market, that equips EV drivers with journey planning information that is tailored to them, their trip, and their EV.
The app is based on the popular Chargetrip service used by more than 50,000 EV drivers in Norway – which has the largest number of EV users per capita in the world. The app will offer Kiwi EV drivers route planning and navigation guidance, suggesting the optimal charge stops along the way.
To help fund the app’s adaptation to the New Zealand market, Vector and Chargetrip have been awarded a grant from Elemental Excelerator
(Elemental) - a growth accelerator that has funded more than 50 projects globally.
Vector’s Group Chief Executive Simon Mackenzie said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Chargetrip, with support from Elemental, to create a tool that improves the overall experience for EV owners, who we know have very different needs compared to drivers of internal combustion engines.
“Vector has long been committed to stimulating and facilitating uptake of EVs in New Zealand and we have a network of EV chargers in Auckland. We have invested in new EV related technologies such as Vehicle-to-Home, which allows EV’s to become mobile sources of energy and we are now excited to be working towards improving the user experience for EV drivers,” Simon said.
The app will include information for public charging locations throughout New Zealand, their availability (to help avoid queues), as well as real-time assessment of the environmental factors that can impact EV batteries, such as topography and temperature.
It will utilise data from NZ Transport Agency’s EVRoam database of public EV charging infrastructure. EVRoam collects data directly from electric vehicle charging infrastructure providers and freely distributes it to a wide range of transport maps, apps and websites.
The app will also inform people about their CO2 savings per journey and will be compatible with every EV type regardless of make, model or configuration.
Chargetrip's CEO Gideon van Dijk said, “Electric mobility is a crucial catalyst in the renewable energy transition. We are excited to partner with Vector and Elemental, who both have an impressive track record at moving the needle. Range anxiety, waiting lines, and complex logistics are some of the biggest hurdles to rapid EV adoption. We are committed to solving these barriers and empowering drivers to make the switch to a cleaner transportation.”
Ramsay Siegal, Elemental Excelerator’s Managing Director said, “We are proud to partner with Vector, a global leader in energy innovation, and help Chargetrip scale its pioneering smart navigation technology. This project is a perfect example of how startups and utilities can collaborate for transformative change, and we're excited to share lessons from New Zealand to support faster EV adoption worldwide.”