Twice as many electric vehicle charging stations to open in a year

Mercury and Contact have joined forces with North American company PlugShare (Getty)
Mercury and Contact have joined forces with North American company PlugShare (Getty)

Two of the country's biggest power companies have teamed up to double the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on Kiwi roads.

It's hope the initiative will put an end to 'range anxiety' and boost uptake of electric vehicles

"We know from our experience as EV drivers that you only want to know one thing - where is a charger if you need one?" says Mercury Energy chief executive Fraser Whineray.

To help EVs along, Mercury and Contact have joined forces with North American company PlugShare to launch the Electric Highway network.

PlugShare is an app which tells drivers where they can find electric charging stations - no matter who owns it.

There are already sites that tell users where charging stations are, but some only show where their own stations are.

"The Electric Highway is a universal and inclusive solution that brings everything together in one place, a free app that's the single source of the truth," says Mr Whineray.

"We already have more than 500 charging points registered in New Zealand and growing."

Other organisations building charging stations can add theirs to the Electric Highway via the website.

In June, there were 1304 EVs registered in New Zealand, according to non-profit group Drive Electric. Now there's almost 1800.

"EV ownership is only going one way in New Zealand, and that's up," says Mr Whineray.

"This is New Zealand's greatest green-growth opportunity. It's very hard to argue with homegrown fuel at the equivalent of 30 cents per litre, no tailpipe emissions, reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels and helping preserve our hard-earned export dollars."

It's no surprise then Electric Highway has the backing of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

"We see New Zealand as one of the most exciting markets globally for EVs, given your outstanding position in renewable energy and New Zealand's global reputation," says PlugShare vice-president of strategic initiatives Ashley Horvat.

"I would be amplifying this in the country's branding. It's a wonderful story to have behind your biggest export earner, tourism, and should be helpful in bringing people to New Zealand."


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