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New Zealand's Electric Vehicle Charging Network

It’s a case of the chicken and the egg. What came first? The electric car, or the charging network to support it?
Electric vehicles are steadily growing in numbers, and so are the number of charging points around New Zealand.

In addition to charging stations provided by electricity distributors (including Unison), private providers are also entering the market to meet the increasing demand for public charging stations.

With electric vehicles suited to the short, daily commute within towns and cities, charging stations are initially being installed in central city locations or at shopping malls, to provide vehicle owners with a convenient place to top-up their battery.

The concept of a nationwide charging network running the length of the country is an idea that has been supported by the electricity industry, and will likely evolve as chargers are deployed in and around urban centres, eventually spreading inter-city.  Continually improving battery technologies and charging speeds will also help to support longer distance travel.


Finding charging station locations

While fast-charging station options are limited to Unison’s Power Parks in Hawke’s Bay, there are companies around New Zealand working to roll out charging stations, some with aims to have public charge points available across the country.  Electric vehicle owners can sign up with these providers to gain access to their charging stations.

A number of electricity distribution companies around New Zealand (including Unison) are helping to support the roll out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, by providing one or more public charging stations. Some of those include Alpine Energy (Timaru), Powerco, Delta (Dunedin), Northpower (Northland), and Vector (Auckland).

You can also download apps to help you locate charging stations.  PlugShare is a free application for iOSAndroid, and web that has good information on charging locations in New Zealand, allowing users to find and review public charging stations, and to connect with other plug-in vehicle owners.

A number of medium-rate chargers are also expected to become available for public use, with some electric vehicle dealers installing medium-chargers onsite, and other types of retailers also showing keen interest (for example, in the US, charging stations can be found at some supermarkets).