Knowledge and awareness of residential smart EV chargers

Publication date: May 2024

As EVs increase in popularity, electricity demand will also increase. Data so far shows many users begin charging on returning home after work – which is already a time of high electricity use. By 2050, modelling indicates that uncurbed charging could increase average household peak electricity demand by up to 40%*. This could mean significant extra costs to supply electricity as more infrastructure would be needed. It could also make it harder to meet our electricity needs using clean, renewable energy.

Use of home smart chargers – that have built-in capability to communicate with the electricity grid and make better use of off-peak electricity – has the potential to enable a more optimised approach to the growth of New Zealand’s electricity generation, transmission and distribution, as well as save EV owners money on their energy costs. 

About the research

EECA is working alongside the electricity and charging sectors to encourage greater uptake of smart EV chargers. This research seeks to understand what EV owners, and people considering buying an EV, understand about smart chargers. It covers motivations, barriers, and the EV buyer journey, and will help us to understand where and how to influence smart charger uptake.

Key findings

Smart charger uptake is low

Just 19% of current EV owners use a smart charger for charging, and 66% use their 3-pin trickle charger. Of those considering an EV, 38% intend to use a wall box (not necessarily smart), and 35% intend to use the 3-pin trickle charger.

Ultimately, charging is not top of mind when considering buying an EV.

Awareness raising is needed

Nearly half of EV considerers know very little about home EV charging units, and over one-quarter of owners are also in the dark.

There’s a clear education job to do to raise awareness.

Cost to buy and install is the biggest perceived barrier, however there are significant advantages

Among EV owners, 55% cite installation cost and 51% the cost of the charger itself as a disadvantage. This is followed by 36% concerned you can’t take the unit with you when you move house.

EV owners see a strong set of advantages to smart chargers:

  • Charges up to 5 times faster than a 3-pin plug – 54%
  • Can take advantage of lower off-peak charging rates automatically – 50%
  • Can monitor and control charging remotely – 40%
  • More environmentally friendly as it can maximise the use of renewable energy – 37%

 

*Source: Concept Consulting, Shifting Gear: How New Zealand can accelerate the uptake of low emission vehicles (concept.co.nz)

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