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BMW and Charge Net to create 'electric highway' in NZ by 2018

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  • #14117
    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV, BMW R100GS
    • Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

    BMW New Zealand and Charge Net have effectively set the standard for electric vehicle charging with the announcement of a joint-venture ‘electric highway’.

    The partnership will establish 100 DC-fast-charging stations that will enable a pure-EV to drive all the way from Kaitaia to Invercargill. Charge Net already operates 20 such stations; the next 80 will be completed by the end of next year.

    Minister of Energy and Resources and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges attended the electric highway launch event at BMW NZ headquarters in Auckland. He expressed some satisfaction that his call for private industry, not Government, to lead the way in EV infrastructure had paid off.
    Pure-electric i3 BEV can get 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes from the new ‘filling’ stations.

    Pure-electric i3 BEV can get 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes from the new ‘filling’ stations.

    “We looked really closely at what was required for charging infrastructure. I was initially pretty keen to see the Government involved in the rollout. But counter-intuitively, the advice that I got from a range of private players, including [Charge Net founder] Steve West, as well as our own authorities, was that we would get a much better outcome if we left this to private players to step up and take the initiative.

    “To get real momentum in EVs, it’s going to take much more than just Government. It’s going to take business really coming to the party and individuals as well. We see that today. Charging infrastructure is a vital part of the ecosystem to make EVs a success.

    “I feel very chuffed that we are seeing this happen in such a significant way. In NZ, as much as anywhere in the word, we are EV-ready. Rather than import fossil fuels, we can charge up on clean, green energy.

    Nissan Leaf is NZ’s most popular used-import EV.

    “But here’s the challenge. From a really good start, more NZers now need to consider buying EVs to match this infrastructure. Now is the time to step up. We’ve seem the confidence in this investment; purchasing an EV is one of the best and most practical steps you can take for our environment.”

    The stations will offer CCS (combined charging system) and CHAdeMO connectors. The former is favoured by European and American carmakers, the latter by Japanese. Both are capable are putting 80 per cent charge into an EV in about half an hour, making it feasible to stop and ‘fuel’ on a road trip.

    This will almost certainly set the charging-connector standard for future NZ-specification EVs. Currently, there are a bewildering number of different types in use and not all are served by public charging stations.

    With an electric highway established, connectors likely to become standardised for NZ.

    There are currently only two pure EVs on sale new in NZ: the BMW i3 and Renault Zoe. Both are compatible with the CCS standard and both can drive about 200km between charges.

    The most common CHAdeMO-equipped car is the Nissan Leaf, which is no longer sold here new but is popular as a used-import.

    Every other plug-in model on sale in NZ is a hybrid, meaning that electric power is supplemented with an on-board petrol engine. There are currently no plug-in hybrids fitted with CCS or CHAdeMO connectors.

    BMW NZ previously used the Type 1 connector for its i3 ‘REx’ model, which has a 650cc range-extending engine. But with the introduction of the i3 ‘Bev’ (battery electric vehicle), which relies solely on electric power, it has moved both models to the CCS standard. CCS cars can charge on a Type 1 plug, but Type 1 cars cannot use a CCS connection (which is a combination of the Type 1 AC plug and an additional DC port).

    So the scene is set: expect most future pure-EVs imported into NZ to be fitted with either CCS or CHAdeMO charging connectors.

    BMW NZ’s part in the electric highway project has come with support from head office in Munich. We’re a long way from Germany, but the Kiwi situation fits BMW’s stated mission to make fuel from renewable sources available to its customers. All the BMW/Charge Net stations will be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity.

    Drivers will be able to pay for their power with the Charge Now card, which operates like a debit card. At current Charge Net stations, the average plug-in time is 19 minutes, at a cost of $10.

    The Government has set an ambitious target of doubling the number the number of electric vehicles each year in NZ to reach 64,000 by 2021. There are currently fewer than 2000 registered.

    Government proposals for EVs include an extension of the Road User Charges (RUC) exemption until 2021, moves towards bulk purchasing of EVs, nationwide promotion/education, access to bus lanes for EVs and a contestable fund of up to $6m per year to encourage EV use.

    From: http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/84704171/bmw-and-charge-net-to-create-electric-highway-in-nz-by-2018

    Peter Creagh

    Maybe technology has changed but I thought by fast charging a battery you can shorten its life. These electric car batteries are likely to cost thousands of dollars to replace which will well and truly offset the fuel savings made.

    Gary Rees

    Time to start saving for one of these?

    • Bike: 2012 DR650
    • Rank: 250cc Rider

    I think there is a lot of undue stigma about electric cars, especially the range on one charge. There is already a race for more range, when the current range of electric cars are more than enough for most vehicle commutes. The charging can happen while at work, or overnight at home, don’t even need to worry about petrol stations.

    Carl Watson

    The Z garage round corner from me has a charging station round back, one day I will go in and ask if it ever gets used, I’ve never seen anyone at it, but then I don’t exactly go past every day either.

    Col Mere

    I just want somewhere to charge my ph

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