Research released today by EECA (The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) highlights the speed at which New Zealand’s electric vehicle fleet is growing, and the ways in which the needs of these new EV drivers are changing.

The new research identified that the age of BEV vehicles on the road had shifted – with 74% of respondents owning a 2019 or later model, compared to the previous survey, in which just 30% of respondents owned a comparatively new model.

The new vehicles in the fleet have bigger batteries – which means a changing pattern of usage of the public charging network.

“New Zealand’s EV fleet has grown quickly in the last 18 months. Since October 2021, when we last surveyed EV owners, we have jumped from around 37,000 to over 70,000,” said EECA Transport GM Richard Briggs.

“EECA has long been committed to ensuring New Zealand’s charging infrastructure is set up to help EV drivers charge where and when they want. This research gives us, as well as our partners in government and industry, useful insights into where to focus future development.”

EECA’s Low Emissions Transport Fund (LETF) has been a key driver of the public charging network to date, and EECA has today announced the latest round of co-funding: Round 9 – holiday journey charging. The round has $3.0 million in co-funding available, and applications close May 17.

“We have identified 25 locations on 14 popular holiday routes that need an increased charger presence,” Briggs said.

“We want to see as many as possible of these chargers operational by Christmas. EV drivers should absolutely have the confidence to take off on a holiday without feeling nervous about range or queuing.”

The new research shows that charging at home remains the most common form of topping up – 97% of current EV owners charge at home at least some of the time, with 80% doing more than half their charging at home.

However, a significant increase in the use of public chargers was highlighted – from 49% of drivers using public chargers in 2021, to 76% in 2023 – mostly for longer trips.

Reported barriers to use included:

Almost half of those surveyed (42%) feel there is a lack of public chargers throughout New Zealand

55% of respondents say having to queue for a charger stops them from using public chargers more often (Aucklanders particularly noting this is an issue)

29% say they aren’t located in convenient places where they are passing.

And there’s a clear preference for ultra-fast chargers on popular routes, e.g. at petrol stations, being most in demand, ranked top by all regions

Briggs said the LETF’s focus on identifying areas of need to enable charger development supports the Ministry of Transport’s “Charging our Future” draft strategy for Aotearoa’s Charging Infrastructure.

He noted the government’s previous goal was to have one charger every 75km on the state highway network, which is now almost 100% complete. While that network will remain, the strategy has now evolved, to target charger hubs every 150km – 200km on the state highway network.

“EECA sought tenders for the first two of these charger hubs earlier in the year, and we’re looking forward to these getting underway.”

Future EV charging rounds of the LETF will focus on hubs with multiple chargers and amenities; more chargers on popular holiday routes; and chargers at destinations like malls and supermarkets, where people can top up while they shop. Further rounds for vehicles and technology will also be available later in the year.

Additional information

About the research

EVs will play a key role in decarbonising the transport sector, which accounts for around half of New Zealand’s energy-related emissions.

EECA first undertook research to better understand the charging habits of EV owners in late 2021, when there were just over 37,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in use.

A new survey was conducted in February 2023, at which time over 70,000 were on our roads.

There were 712 responses to the survey: 93% of respondents were BEV owners, and 12% owned a PHEV.

74% of respondents had EVs from 2019 or newer, compared to the previous survey, in which just 30% of respondents had a newer model EV.

The insights into driver behaviour and the use of public EV charging will help both industry and government, plan the development of public EV charging infrastructure.

See the full report: Electric Vehicle Charging Survey | EECA

About the funding round

Round 9: Destination charging

Opens: April 26, 2022

Closes: May 17, 2023

This Request for Proposals (RFP) has up to $3 million excl. GST in co-funding available for projects at 25 pre-identified locations along 14 identified holiday journey routes requiring public charging infrastructure. Proposals for other locations will not be considered.

The objective of this RFP for these locations and routes is to add to the network of public electric vehicle charging sites to service popular holiday routes and destinations during the peak holiday seasons, removing a key barrier to uptake. The speed of deployment of the chargers is a key requirement.

Applications with a guaranteed deployment timeframe in or prior to early December 2023 will be prioritised. 

Identified locations:

  • Christchurch to Wanaka: Geraldine, Fairlie, Twizel, Omarama 
  • Christchurch to Nelson or Motueka: Culverden, Murchison, Kohatu 
  • Dunedin to Wanaka: Ranfurly, Roxburgh 
  • Wellington to Castlepoint or Riversdale: Featherston, Greytown, or Carterton  
  • Hamilton to Pauanui or Whitianga: Paeroa, Waihi, Hikuai 
  • Tauranga to Ōhope: Whakatane 
  • Auckland to Bay of Islands (Taipa): Taipa 
  • Napier to Mahia: Wairoa 
  • Hamilton to Raglan: Raglan 
  • Queenstown to Te Anau: Athol/Garston, Te Anau 
  • Auckland to Wahi Beach: Ngatea 
  • Wanaka to Arthurs Pass: Haast, Franz Josef, Hokitika, Greymouth, Arthurs Pass 
  • Auckland to Mangawhai Heads: Mangawhai 
  • New Plymouth to Ohakune: Stratford, Hawera 

About the LETF

The Low Emission Transport Fund, administered by EECA, supports the demonstration and adoption of low-emission transport technology, innovation and infrastructure to accelerate the decarbonisation of the New Zealand transport sector.

The Fund focuses on activities in the transport sector that move people and/or goods on roads, off-road, and in the marine and aviation sectors to:

Demonstrate innovative solutions that will enable future adoption and deployment
Reduce energy related emissions in the transport sector

Address market and organisational barriers through co-investment and diffusion of new knowledge and lessons, and

Share knowledge and lessons to stimulate wider replication of successful projects and solutions in the transport sector.

Wider transport systems and activities (such as building roads, urban design, mode shift policy) are excluded.

Each round of the LETF will provide co-funding to a particular area of interest (unlike the previous LEVCF, in which each round welcomed the full range of applications). An announcement will be made in advance of each funding round advising which areas of interest will be included.