The significant uptake of EVs in New Zealand will mean an ever-increasing number of New Zealanders will start charging their EVs at home. Widespread use of “smart” and energy-efficient EV chargers would significantly reduce peak demand issues, result in lower electricity bills for charging, and minimise line upgrades.
EECA (The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) is calling for submissions from the public on a new green paper – Improving the performance of electric vehicle chargers.
Feedback received will help inform the conversation about the government’s role in encouraging the uptake of “smart” EV charging technologies to support the electricity system and New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy.
“The government wants to accelerate the decarbonisation of the transport sector, but as the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand grows, there is a need to ensure there’s enough capacity in the electricity system,” said EECA’s Chief Executive Andrew Caseley.
“EV chargers will use the most energy of any appliance in the household, making this important to get right at what is still a relatively early stage of EV adoption. New Zealand's electricity demand is expected to increase significantly, as the country phases out fossil fuels and increasingly moves to renewable electricity. The Climate Change Commission’s demonstration path expects total electricity consumption to increase 53% by 20501. Smart chargers can ensure peak demand doesn’t rise more than necessary, but we have only a small window in which to act.”
Mr Caseley noted that while “smart” technology has great potential to improve energy outcomes, at the moment most EV owners use the basic cable supplied with their vehicle.
There are currently over 42,000 EVs2 in New Zealand, which is a little over one percent of all light vehicles. But that number is expected to grow quickly with the rate of adoption increasing.
Currently, the vast majority (82%) of EV charging occurs within the residential home and this is not expected to change significantly.
Mr Caseley noted that transport makes up around one-fifth of New Zealand’s total emissions and that meeting our net carbon-zero targets will require both the uptake of electric vehicles, and encouraging a shift away from a reliance on cars.
“New Zealand phasing out fossil fuels and moving to renewable energy will increase demand on the grid and distribution networks, and require new generation capacity,” Mr Caseley said.
‘Smart’ technology means that consumers can shift load to off-peak periods meaning less extra generation and grid and distribution networks need to be built resulting in decreased costs to the consumer and a more manageable transition.”
A “smart” charger will enable consumers, or their lines company, to monitor and manage their EV charging to avoid peak demand periods and take advantage of low off-peak prices while ensuring their EV is charged and ready to drive when required.
In addition, advances in vehicle-to-home, or vehicle-to-grid, technology would allow a car to power a house, if needed, or even feed power back into the grid.
The green paper canvasses a range of options for increasing the uptake of “smart” charging technologies, including regulation, incentives, and education campaigns.
“We’re seeking feedback from a wide range of stakeholders – from industry bodies to EV owners – to ensure we have a robust discussion to inform consideration of the government’s role in this area,” Mr Caseley said.
“The Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan has bold goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
“Wide uptake of ‘smart’ charging technology alongside the growing electric fleet will benefit everyone, from EV owners to electricity distributors. We encourage anyone with an interest to submit their feedback.”
1 Climate Change Commission (2021), Scenarios data-set
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) seeks New Zealanders’ feedback on the issues raised in this discussion document.
Please send your submission, or any queries, to STAR@eeca.govt.nz
Submissions on this document close on 5 September 2022.
EECA will provide advice to the Minister of Energy and Resources following the consultation period.
A summary of submissions and analysis will be sent to all submitters and posted on the EECA website.