Many Government organisations and businesses in New Zealand are electrifying their fleets – on the road to reducing carbon emissions. For organisations that share parking facilities with others, installing charging infrastructure that is fit for purpose comes with additional considerations.

EVs being charged by smart chargers in an open parking lot..

Almost half of New Zealand’s energy-related emissions come from transport. A key part of EECA’s strategy to reduce this is to support the transition of New Zealand’s 16,000 Government vehicles to low emissions alternatives and ensure that cars are used when needed to perform core services in an efficient way.

Ministry of Education (MOE) has piloted a collaborative project, in which it shares charging infrastructure with multiple other tenants at its Gisborne site via a co-location agreement. The charger-sharing project aims to optimise the use of EV chargers across the three Government organisations involved and ensure that energy costs and usage are fair and equitable. The project also seeks to identify and overcome any challenges that exist throughout the planning, installation of chargers, reimbursement of energy costs, and ongoing vehicle use. 

These learnings may be applied to other organisations in the public sector, as well as private organisations that are in the process of electrifying vehicle fleets at sites with shared parking facilities. 

Wider fleet electrification

Ministry of Education (MOE) has a large government fleet, with 565 cars in operation across 42 different locations. With a broader fleet electrification plan in place, MOE is on track to reach 90% electrification by 2025.

EECA has supported both the fleet optimisation and the leasing of electric vehicles. The initiative aligns to the Carbon Neutral Government Programme – set up to accelerate the reduction of emissions within the public sector.

Project snapshot

At MOE, many education staff require daily travel through urban and rural areas of New Zealand, to visit schools and education facilities. The cars are shared between staff members utilising an electronic booking system.

  • 13 chargers were installed at the leased Gisborne site, shared between three organisations.
  • Inland Revenue uses two of the chargers, Department of Internal Affairs uses one, and MOE uses the remaining 10.
  • All 13 EV chargers are owned by MOE but are allocated for use by the other organisations.
  • The chargers are all EVNEX X series commercial chargers.
  • The cost for energy used by the chargers is reimbursed through the existing co-location agreement between the three tenants.
  • The average distance travelled in MOE cars is less than 150km per day.
  • The chargers have been in operation for less than six months. So far, they are working as planned, and there have been no necessary upgrades to any of the services.
  • EECA supported the leasing of 280 battery electric vehicles and associated infrastructure. The remaining costs have been covered by MOE.
  • This is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 581 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The charging challenge for shared carparks

Prior to the implementation of the shared charger project, there had been discussion with other tenants at the shared Gisborne site exploring the option of installing their own EV chargers. Ministry of Education (MOE) understood that if co-tenants were looking at options for charging infrastructure, it would be in everyone’s best interest for them to explore a single installation to cover all the infrastructure, through a single supplier.

One of the main considerations in this decision was the landlord’s preference for one streamlined process with a single supplier agreement and point of contact, instead of repeating the process three times, in three different ways.

There were also technical factors to consider around how the separate organisations may be advantaged or disadvantaged by the process if they were to go about installations independently, with a mixture of different chargers and suppliers.

Early in the conversation, MOE identified that building load management would be compromised if there was not co-ordination amongst all parties. A key issue is the technical challenge around load management. If some chargers were installed first, they could effectively have a ‘ring fenced’ capacity for power. This would mean that there may be higher energy costs incurred for the organisations who were to install subsequent chargers. This challenge was compounded by the number of different types of chargers on the market in New Zealand, which are currently unregulated.

Smarter charging

Ensuring that the right supplier is used to meet the needs of any EV infrastructure job is key. Different suppliers may give different guidance on charging infrastructure, including the types of technology used, the way that load is distributed, and how this impacts other organisations on site. 

A dedicated smart charger is a safe and cost-effective option, that gives drivers more flexibility around how they use a vehicle, compared with portable backup chargers or public charging. 

A ‘smart’ charger can receive a signal from your electricity supplier to charge when there is the least demand on the national electricity grid. During periods of high demand, electricity becomes more expensive and can require generation from fossil fuels. Shifting demand to off-peak periods prioritises the use of New Zealand’s renewable energy sources. 

Recommended EV chargers

EECA has published a list of smart EV chargers recommended for residential and commercial use. 

The list has been developed to help identify, and purchase, smart and efficient EV chargers. To be included, chargers need to be efficient and capable of two-way communication (smart), based on our technical specification. 

This list will continue to be updated as suppliers apply to be included.

Working together

Ministry of Education (MOE) is the lead tenant in the shared Gisborne building and played a key role in the development and delivery of this project. Being a lead tenant comes with a responsibility to develop processes and encourage shared use of building facilities.

Initially, the process started with a kick-off meeting to discuss the idea, where each of the organisations had representation from sponsors and project teams. A collective decision was made that the tenants, led by MOE, would pursue a single installation of chargers for all three organisations.

A dedicated project team was established, and regular workshops were held to work collaboratively on a plan for chargers that would meet the specific needs of each organisation. This would provide them with access to EV chargers that were all running on one system with adequate energy availability, at a consistent cost. An agreement for the use of the chargers was also implemented, via the existing co-location agreement that is shared by the tenants.

Once the EV chargers were installed, the ongoing management and maintenance of the chargers became business as usual for MOE office staff - who were seen as the subject matter experts by the other organisations in terms of resolving any issues.

Troubleshooting and questions have generally been due to the learning curve of using the EV infrastructure for the first time, and are expected to decrease once staff have experience with the new tech.

“These organisations were all ready to bring in EVs at the same time, which makes the process a bit simpler,” says Paul Bull, EECA Public Sector Portfolio Lead.

“But this can also offer a good futureproofing exercise if that isn’t the case at other sites, as it means the infrastructure is in place for others to meet growing demand.”

In the future, if any tenants were to change at the Gisborne site, they would be offered access to the chargers via MOE’s co-location agreement.

EECA supports projects that demonstrate a degree of innovation. This shared charging project is a great example, as electrifying optimises how energy is used on site.

Paul Bull – EECA Public Sector Portfolio Lead

Key benefits of charger sharing

  • A single technology solution focused on equitable load management and energy distribution.
  • Installation is only done once, reducing costs associated with installation for all tenants.
  • Existing co-location agreements can guide how costs will be managed or reimbursed and ensure there is a high level of confidence between agencies.
  • A single delivery contractor with a single point of contact.
  • A single project lead that can advocate for all organisations’ needs.
  • A streamlined process for landlords or building owners.
  • Reduced reliance drivers have on the public EV charging network, which is still in development.
  • All agencies can obtain their own usage data through an online dashboard, to view and manage usage and emission calculations.

Advice for other organisations

Under the Carbon Neutral Government Programme, all State sector organisations are working towards carbon neutrality. Sharing learnings, resources and knowledge is invaluable, and helps to work towards our common goal.

Fleet electrification projects across Government

Charger sharing is well suited to organisations that shared parking facilities with other tenants who are interested in integrating EVs into their fleets.

Around 35 fleet electrification projects have been supported through the State Sector Decarbonisation Fund – introducing more than 1066 electric vehicles (EVs) and supporting vehicle charger installation.

While government organisations may have funding available to upgrade vehicles with newer models, this isn’t always sufficient to make the switch to EVs. The State Sector Decarbonisation Fund has helped to bridge this financial gap, so that the most efficient, low-emission option can be used.

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