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ENA New Zealand moves towards infrastructure world-first

In a move that could see New Zealand become one of the first countries in the world to boast this kind of infrastructure, the Electricity Networks Association (ENA) has announced it is investigating the instillation of charging locations for plug-in electric vehicles along its highways. The “Renewables Highway” project could see these charging stations cover all highways across the country to encourage individuals to purchase electric cars.

Chief Executive Graeme Peters said the ENA Board was enthusiastic at the potential of the Renewables Highway and the effect it could have on the uptake of electric vehicles (EV). The study is expected to be completed by the end of July.

“There’s now a lot of recognition that New Zealand is ‘EV-Read’. We have an electricity supply that’s 80 per cent renewable due to our abundance of hydro, geothermal and wind generation – accessing fuel that’s clean and home grown and at the equivalent of 30 cents per litre makes sense,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand also has a high proportion of off-street parking, meaning most cars can be charged at home or work, even from a standard three-pin plug.”

A working group has been formed between the ENA and representatives from other interested companies such as Contact Energy, Mighty River Power and Drive Electric.

“Some electricity distribution companies and energy-related businesses are already actively involved in growing the availability of EV charge stations in convenient locations,” said Mr Peters.

The ENA also welcomes contributions from other interested parties, such as major tourism operators, local and regional councils, electricity generators or others with an interest/capacity to participate. Mr Peters said the group was also intending to work closely with government entities such as the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

“Though there is a relatively small number of EVs in New Zealand currently, the technology is advancing quickly and we expect demand will pick up strongly as the benefits of EVs become evident and behaviours change,” said Mr Peters. “EVs release no carbon emissions, save motorists’ money, increase our use of renewable energy and reduce New Zealand’s reliance on peak oil.”

Interested parties should contact the Electricity Networks Association.

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