Z Energy Transport Award

The Z Energy Transport Award recognises an initiative that is successful in improving transport energy efficiency or increasing the amount of renewable energy used in transport, where benefits are likely to be sustained, rather than a one-off project.


Winner – Charge Net NZ

They’re going the distance for electric vehicles with a nationwide network of fast DC charging stations.

Photo of staff from Charge Net.
Charge Net NZ

Charge Net NZ is on a mission to change the way New Zealanders think about electric vehicles (EV). The commonly-held belief that EVs will run out of electricity on long journeys has fuelled Charge Net NZ’s move to increase the number of charging stations in New Zealand.

The company is taking a methodical approach to the locations of charging stations by placing them in areas of high population, near EV users and organisations such as councils who own EV fleets. The spacing of stations is optimised so that an EV with a 120km range can reliably reach the next station with an 80% charge.

It has already opened six rapid charge stations, with two in construction. By the end of 2016, it plans to open 30 more and by 2017 its ambition is to have 100 up and running. A credit card pre-pay charging system supported by cloud-based technology is in place. EV users register their payment details securely on Charge Net NZ’s website when they become members and charging stations are then activated by the member’s key fob or smart phone app and members are billed according to usage.

The project aims to accelerate the uptake of EVs in New Zealand and fully utilise the country’s renewable electricity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels. Charge Net NZ is supplied by Ecotricity, a zero carbon certified electricity provider.

The New Zealand Transport Agency estimates that each light passenger EV displaces two tonnes of greenhouse gases as produced by a light passenger petrol vehicle over its lifetime. At the end of January 2016, Charge Net NZ had 154 registered customers using the zero carbon charging facilities.

Judges said:

An inspiring and enthusiastic project that has excellent potential. The timing is well pitched and the
accessible and innovative technology is very customer-focused. An admirable display of forward thinking and support for low-carbon transport systems.

Highly Commended – Northpower

Leading by example to encourage the use of electric vehicles from the top of the country down.

Photo of Northpower electric vehicle.
Northpower - electric vehicle

Northpower has led the charge to promote the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in their region, quickly realising the potential of the cars, their suitability for use in this country and their long-term importance for environmental and sustainability reasons.

It made an early commitment to encourage and support the adoption of EVs in New Zealand in a range of ways.  Northpower imported EVs for their own use and has given EVs to other organisations to promote their use. It realised the cost of EVs was a problem and accordingly sourced cars cheaply from overseas and succeeded in finding a supplier of ready-to-drive, low mileage Nissan Leafs at around a third of the New Zealand list price of new Nissan Leafs.

Northpower has been at the forefront of installing EV chargers, beginning with a standard charger at its Head Office in Whangarei. After installing standard chargers in different parts of Northland, the company moved to fast chargers as these can fully charge EVs in 20 to 25 minutes, rather than the four hours it takes with a regular charger. The key reason for installing fast chargers is to reduce range anxiety. EV drivers now know they will always be able to get their vehicles charged, including when they are travelling long distances.

Northpower established New Zealand’s first EV fast charge station in Alexander Street in Whangarei in May 2014. Even more impressively, the station is powered by the company’s Wairua Hydro Power Station at Titoki. It has subsequently collaborated with Charge Net NZ, which plans to install many more fast charge stations around New Zealand in the next three years.  Charge Net NZ selected Kaiwaka as the site for its first fast charger because of Northland’s high concentration of EVs compared with the rest of New Zealand.

Northpower continues to promote use of the vehicles by demonstrating them at community and commercial events such as parades and field days. Northland now has one of the highest per capita uses of EVs in New Zealand and is home to the first all-electric taxi.

Judges said:

For a small company they have made a big impact in their region. They are spreading an important
message in a creative, committed and holistic way and the results are tangible.

Commended – Red Bus

Monitoring technology gives a green light in fuel efficiency for Red Bus drivers.

Photo of the Red Bus.
Red Bus

On-board mobile technology in the cabs of Red Buses in Christchurch communicates with drivers so they can track their fuel-efficient driving behaviour. The red, amber, green warning system reacts to speed, braking, acceleration, cornering and idling.

In 2013, Red Bus researched telematics technologies that could be used to provide real-time feedback to the bus drivers to let them know how they were performing with regards to the five fuel efficiency measures. MiX Telematics was selected for a three-month trial on four buses, which began in February 2014.

Evaluation of the trial identified a reduction in fuel consumption – and therefore carbon emissions – of 4% and a drop of 24% to 75% in event frequency across the five driving measures. The controlled trial justified wider implementation of the technology and, by March 2015, MiX Telematics was operating on 80% of the fleet and the programme was reinforced by Save and Fuel Efficient Driver Training (SAFEDNZ).

Conservative driving behaviour also means that vehicles are put under less pressure in their day-to-day use, so fleet repairs are less common and maintenance costs are reduced. Red Bus says the fuel saving plan could save 4–5% of their $2 million annual diesel costs, with additional repair and maintenance cost savings expected to add to that over time.

The detailed feedback from MiX Telematics tells Red Bus which drivers display excellent driving; resulting in increased passenger comfort and safety, reduced fuel consumption, fewer carbon dioxide emissions, reduced tyre wear and savings on repairs and maintenance. In July 2015, an incentive scheme was introduced, whereby drivers can see their weekly red, amber, green performance and are rewarded as a result. The system now features on monthly payslips with adjustments made accordingly.

Red Bus is owned by Christchurch City Council and carries 3.8 million passengers a year. They are the first bus company in New Zealand to implement the Heavy Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Programme.

Judges said:

Creating positive action on energy efficiency in an entire workforce is commendable. Training will impact driver behaviour both inside and outside work. The combination of staff incentive and innovation makes great business sense.


Z is for New Zealand - we supply fuel and petrol to to retail customers and large commercial customers like airlines, trucking companies, mines, shipping companies and vehicle fleet operators, from one end of the country to the other.

At Z, we are committed to doing the right thing by New Zealand. We are a transport energy company, not an oil company — so we’re not wedded to fossil fuels and we reckon we're in a unique position to move from being a part of the problem to being at the heart of the solution.

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