Closing the gaps for public EV charging in South Island

Energy and Resources

Key gaps in the South Island’s public EV charging network will be closed with support from the Government’s Low Emissions Transport Fund (LETF), Minister for Energy and Resources Dr. Megan Woods announced today.

“This round of co-funding was strategically targeted at a few specific locations, to ensure there is good charging coverage in the South Island,” Megan Woods said.

“Five new locations – Kohatu, Haast, Hari Hari, St Arnaud, and Springs Junction – will receive DC fast chargers in a partnership between the LETF and Meridian Energy.

They represent some of the most challenging sites in New Zealand to install electric vehicle chargers, with electricity grid constraints and lower traffic volumes,” Megan Woods said. 

The LETF, administered by EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority), made just over $1 million available to help fill important remaining gaps in the State Highway network.

Chargers at these locations will largely complete the government’s goal to provide fast chargers to the public at 75km intervals along state highways.

“These locations are on some of our popular tourist routes, giving travellers and locals alike the confidence to take their electric vehicle and enjoy the scenic drive without the risk of getting stranded,” Megan Woods said. 

“Being more remote, they presented some unique challenges to potential charging providers, so I’m delighted that this public good funding government assistance gets them over the line.”

Meridian Energy Ltd will install 10 chargers as part of their nationwide charger rollout (see related map):

  • Kohatu - two 50kW DC fast chargers in Kohatu, filling a network gap between Murchison and Nelson.
  • Haast - two 50kW DC fast chargers in Haast, filling a network gap between Wanaka and Franz Joseph.
  • Hari Hari - two 50kW DC fast chargers in Hari Hari, filling a gap between Fox Glacier and Westport.
  • St Arnaud - two 25kW DC chargers in St Arnaud, facilitating electric vehicle traffic to Lake Rotoiti and Blenheim.
  • Springs Junction - two 50kW DC fast chargers which will be supported by three 120kWh BESS (battery energy storage system) units in Springs Junction west of Lewis Pass, eliminating a key charging infrastructure blackspot.

The charger installations are expected to be available from May 2023. The LETF is contributing $1,065,914 in co-funding alongside $756,782 in private investment from Meridian. The higher level of Government co-funding reflects both the higher cost of each installation and their expected levels of utilisation.

“Meridian provided a robust solution, with two fast chargers at each site to provide redundancy. They thought outside the box to provide both value for money and workable technical solutions, including the battery storage system at Springs Junction, the first of its kind in New Zealand.” Megan Woods said.

Successful applicants from a separate round of LETF co-funding, which invited applications for vehicle and technology projects, would be announced in the next few months. Future rounds will open later in 2022.

More information about the confirmed co-funding, and previous rounds, can be found here: Low Emission Transport Fund | EECA.

Note for Editors

The Low Emission Transport Fund, administered by EECA, supports the demonstration and adoption of low emission transport technology, innovation, and infrastructure to accelerate the decarbonisation of the New Zealand transport sector.

The fund focusses on activities in the transport sector that move people and/or goods on roads, off-road, and in the marine and aviation sectors to:

  • Demonstrate innovative solutions that will enable future adoption and deployment
  • Reduce energy-related emissions in the transport sector
  • Address market and organisational barriers through co-investment and diffusion of new knowledge and lessons, and
  • Share knowledge and lessons to stimulate wider replication of successful projects and solutions in the transport sector.
  • Wider transport systems and activities (such as building roads, urban design, and mode shift policy) are excluded.

Each round of the LETF provides co-funding to a particular area of interest (unlike the previous LEVCF, in which each round welcomed the full range of applications). An announcement will be made in advance of each funding round advising which areas of interest will be included.