Blog Archives

Funding for innovative EV projects

The latest round of the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund opened for applications on Tuesday, 20 February. Up to $4 million will be available for investment during round four.

The fund offers up to 50 per cent funding towards projects that support the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in New Zealand. Applicants must match or exceed the amount granted.

Companies, councils and organisations can apply, or partner together to apply.

Applicants have until 8am, 11 April 2018 to submit proposals to The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Projects should support practical, sustainable ways to increase EV uptake, particularly in the light fleet market, close gaps in charging infrastructure and demonstrate the uses of heavy electric vehicles across the economy.

Examples of previous projects:

For more information visit our website.

Click here to see other projects that received funding previously.

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PM launches Christchurch car sharing service

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Mayor Lianne Dalziel have officially launched Christchurch’s first fully battery powered electric car sharing service.

Christchurch City Council

The Council, the Ara Institute, Aurecon, Beca, the Canterbury District Health Board, Chapman Tripp, Christchurch International Airport, Environment Canterbury, Jacobs, Meridian Energy, Tonkin and Taylor, and Warren and Mahoney are the foundation members of the scheme, which is being run for them by Yoogo Share.

From today other Christchurch businesses and the public can access the battery electric vehicles in the service’s fleet.

Yoogo Share will see a pure EV fleet of 100 cars, ten hubs and 100 chargers made available around Christchurch. Twelve key businesses with 3,000 drivers are already working with the Yoogo Share cars, removing 115 combustion engine vehicles from their fleets. 

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says she is proud that Christchurch is the first city in New Zealand, and one of the few cities internationally, that has a battery electric car sharing service.

“Our purpose here today may not have been in any blueprint, but it is as much a part of our regeneration as is any project that was envisaged. It is about who we are as a city – New Zealand’s 21st century Garden City putting sustainability to the fore.

“This service will deliver improved environmental and health outcomes and help the Council achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030,” the Mayor says.

“It’s a smart and sustainable way for businesses and for local residents to get around town and I’m excited to see the service grow. This is way of the future.’’

 Prime Minister Ardern says encouraging the use of electric vehicles is an important part of the Government’s plan for New Zealand to become carbon neutral by 2050.

“It’s great we could help Christchurch lead the way with this innovative car sharing scheme,’’ she says.

Christchurch City Council

Yoogo Share General Manager Kirsten Corson says the company is looking forward to opening up the car share service to the public.

The first stage of the car sharing service has started with Hyundai Ioniq and BMWi3 vehicles now available at hubs in the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu car park, the West End car park, and at Christchurch International Airport.

In April, further hubs will be added at The Crossing car park, the Ara Institute, Canterbury University, Papanui and Fendalton libraries, and the Lyttelton Community Centre.

“This is an exciting new transport service powered by electricity that is largely generated from renewable energy,’’ says Kevin Crutchley, the Council’s Resource Efficiency Manager and project manager for the scheme.

“The result is a service with zero tail pipe emissions that will both reduce our city’s greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, which will have positive health benefits for the residents of Christchurch,’’ he says.

The Christchurch Agency for Energy Trust was a foundation funding supporter for the service, providing a grant towards the electrical and charging infrastructure for the hub roll-out.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority has provided funding towards stage two of the service through its Low Emission Vehicles contestable fund.

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Musk struggles to finalise deal in China

Without a local partner, every Tesla sold in the world’s biggest EV market faces a steep import tax

Tesla Inc., the top-selling electric auto manufacturer in the U.S., is in danger of being relegated to a niche market of luxury cars in China as CEO Elon Musk is struggling to finalise a deal to open a factory there.

More than several months after Tesla said it was working with Shanghai’s government to explore assembling cars, an agreement hasn’t been clinched due to the two sides disagreeing on the business structure for a proposed factory, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

At present, all foreign automakers must partner with Chinese companies in order to manufacture locally, however Tesla wants to own the factory completely, the sources close to the situation said.

Tesla’s reluctance in investing in local manufacturing means losing out on a chance to capitalise on China’s hard sell for new-energy vehicles (NEVs), such as all or hybrid electric vehicles (EVs).

President Xi Jinping’s administration wants to scrub notorious air pollution and reduce dependence on imported oil, and it’s doling out billions of dollars in subsidies to entice consumers away from gas guzzlers.

“It’s a market they need to get a foothold in,” said Jeffrey Osborne, a New York-based analyst for Cowen & Co.

Tesla currently sells cars in China, but an import tax of 25 per cent launches the price beyond the means of most consumers.

A Tesla Model X made in the U.S. and shipped to China costs about 835,000 yuan, or around NZ$178,500, meaning cheaper models, from domestic rivals such as BAIC Motor Corp., Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co. and startups NIO and Byton, are more appealing to consumers. 

In the U.S., Tesla accounted for the majority of the 104,471 battery-powered cars, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. However in China, Tesla sold a mere 14,883 vehicles, accounting for just 3 per cent of the nation’s battery-powered EV sales of 449,431 units.

Tesla ranked 10th behind leader BAIC’s affiliate, Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., which sold 102,341 cars, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. 

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Top tips for safe EV charging

Electric vehicle (EV) advocacy group Drive Electric is encouraging potential EV owners to find out if their properties are suitable for home-charging.

Drive Electric board member Eric Pellicer says charging at home is the easiest way to power up an EV.

“The good news is many homes should allow EV charging. But often a standard electrical socket on its own isn’t safe and specialist electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) is needed,” says Pellicer. 

“Electricians are also going through an educational process since the advent of EVs, with Master Electricians running a series of workshops to help educate their members about likely changes to industry guidelines.”

Pellicer is also encouraged that some EV dealers offer home assessments for customers. “This kind of service makes sure customers have the information they need when purchasing an EV.”

Drive Electric charging expert Nigel Broomhall recommends EVSE which is Worksafe compliant because they have a number of built-in safety features.

“Quality chargers are rated for use in heavy rain, ice, snow and excess heat, and will not put you at risk of electrocution,” he says. Some cheap products warn you not to charge in the rain – this is not a good sign.“Professionally installed EVSE also includes the right residual current device (RCD) protections, and a master switch so the charger can be turned off if you have any issues.”

The key to picking the right charger is finding out the size of the on-board AC
charger on the vehicle, Broomhall says.

Broomhall, who is also managing director of EVSE supplier Chargemaster, says there are other tips EV owners need to be aware of when charging at home.

These include never using extension cords with any EVSE equipment because they aren’t designed to handle the large amounts of electricity required to fill up an EV.

“They can melt, catch fire or even electrocute you. Also, be careful with adaptors. Unless the adaptor has been approved by the charger manufacturer then it is not Worksafe compliant.”

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New Zealand charges ahead

There were 407 electric vehicles (EVs) registered last month, a huge 96.6 per cent increase compared to January 2017, when a mere 207 vehicles were registered.

This brings the current overall total of EVs in New Zealand to 6,603. 

So how do these figures compare to other countries? 

According to Chargemaster, Europeans charged ahead with plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) purchases, purchasing 80,000 more than they did in 2016.

With sales almost perfectly split between the two types, BEV’s are proving just as popular as their longer range cousins, with 287,270 vehicles being brought in 2017.

Across the European Union population of 508 million, this is a per capita ratio of 0.0565 per cent of the total population.
New Zealanders in comparison brought 4,055 EVs in 2017 against a population of 4.7 million, or 0.086 per cent of the total population. 

Therefore, New Zealanders are buying EVs, per head of population, 1.5 times faster than Europeans.

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1 in 3 consumers are open to EVs

One in three Southeast Asian consumers planning to buy a car are open to purchasing an electric vehicle, a Nissan-commissioned study showed. 

The finding demonstrates the region’s strong potential to speed up the electrification of mobility.

 The study by Frost & Sullivan, titled “Future of Electric Vehicles in Southeast Asia,” was released today in Singapore at Nissan Futures, a gathering of industry leaders, government officials and media.

Consumer research in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines reveals that 37 per cent of prospective buyers are open to considering an electric vehicle as their next car. 

With the right incentives, the region can accelerate the adoption of electric and electrified vehicles, the study shows.

While potential demand for electric vehicles is significant, adoption barriers remain, including a lack of knowledge. 

“Leapfrogging in electrification of mobility requires strong collaboration between public and private parties and a long-term approach tailored to each market’s unique situation,” Yutaka Sanada, regional senior vice president at Nissan, said at Nissan Futures.

“Consumers in Southeast Asia have indicated that governments have a critical role to play in the promotion of electric vehicles.”

“Meanwhile, as car manufacturers, we need to do a better job in explaining that EVs are indeed a safe, smart and sustainable option in all weather conditions,” Sanada added.

“Nissan’s electric vehicles undergo extremely rigorous testing in the most severe conditions. We are very proud that our 300,000 Nissan LEAF customers have driven more than 3.9 billion kilometers around the world since 2010, without experiencing any critical incidents with the batteries.”

Vivek Vaidya, senior vice president of mobility at Frost & Sullivan, added: “Contrary to popular belief that the high cost of EVs is the impediment, the survey reveals that safety concerns and charging concerns run high on customers’ minds. If the industry and government can take away these barriers, the full potential of EVs can be reached.”

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Porsche to double their investment in EVs

The German automaker announced on Monday that it will double its investment in both plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles (EVs) to more than 6 billion euros ($7.43 billion).

Along with the already pledged Mission E pure electric due next year, the company promises to develop other vehicles on that platform.

Porsche will further invest in what it’s calling “new technologies, charging infrastructure and smart mobility.” Porsche got into the smart mobility game last year with the Porsche Passport pilot program that launched in Atlanta.

“We are doubling our expenditure on electromobility from around three billion euro to more than six billion euro”, explains Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG.

“Alongside development of our models with combustion engines, we are setting an important course for the future with this decision.”

The plans have been bolstered significantly to include around three billion euro of investment in material assets, and slightly more than three billion euro in development costs.

From the additional sum of three billion euro, some 500 million euro will be used for the development of Mission E variants and derivatives.

Around one billion euro for electrification and hybridisation of the existing product range, several hundred million for the expansion of sites, plus around 700 million euro in new technologies, charging infrastructure and smart mobility.

The Mission E

The purely electric Mission E sports car has a system power of 600 hp, meaning that it will require significantly less than 3.5 seconds to reach to 100 km/h and it will also be able to accelerate and brake repeatedly without any loss of performance. Thanks to the 800-V system voltage, it will take a charging time of just 15 minutes for 400 kilometres.

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Tesla may reduce Hong Kong operations

Tesla is reportedly considering reducing its Hong Kong operations if the government fails to give residents incentives to buy electric vehicles (EVs).

Last year, Hong Kong officials eliminated a registration tax waiver that benefitted EV car buyers.

Consequently Tesla sales in the the territory dropped significantly.

In total only 99 EVs were registered in Hong Kong from April to December 2017, compared to more than 2,000 in the same period a year earlier.

A source close to the company told the South China Morning Post (Post) said Tesla had written to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor asking her to rethink the waiver removal.

Sales at Tesla, which employs 200 people in the city, were hit hardest. It sold 32 cars from April to December, although 2,939 cars were snapped up in March, as buyers rushed to its showrooms after Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po’s announcement that the waiver was ending in last year’s budget.

Tesla told the Post on Sunday: “Our launch in Hong Kong in 2010 was one of Tesla’s earliest, and we remain committed to our customers here, affirming that commitment with the opening of our second Service Centre last year.

“We remain hopeful that the government will continue to encourage more electric vehicles on the road and preserve Hong Kong’s lead in clean, sustainable living.”

Hong Kong

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Six EVs headed to Nissan and Infiniti

A glimpse into the future of Nissan’s all electric fleet – The IMx concept

It has just been announced that Nissan and its luxury division, Infiniti, are scheduled to receive six new all electric vehicles (EVs) within the next five years. 

Speaking with Automotive News, Toshihiro Hirai, Nissan corporate vice president for powertrain and EV engineering revealed that four will go to Nissan and two will be under Infiniti.

The six EVs will be part of the 12 that the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is planning to release up to 2022, as originally detailed last September on a business plan by Carlos Ghosn, the alliance’s CEO.

All six vehicles will be fully electric and none will feature hybrid technology like Nissan’s own e-Power system, which was proven popular in its home market of Japan.

Although this plan only covers the next five years, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa announced last month at the 2018 Detroit auto show that Infiniti will eventually become an electrified brand.

Starting from 2021, new Infiniti vehicles will either be all-electric or feature the automaker’s e-Power hybrid system.

Infiniti will launch its first all-electric vehicle in 2021.

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EVs jeopardising NZ roads

Electric vehicles (EVs) could be jeopardising the future of New Zealand’s highways.

Barney Irvine, the principal adviser for the Automobile Association of New Zealand, has issued a warning that the increasing uptake of EVs in the country could threaten the funding needed to maintain and develop the national road infrastructure.

“As the number of EVs on the roads goes up and as petrol engines become more efficient we’re going to see a big hole emerging in the fuel tax take, so it’s a really big concern.”

Currently, the maintenance, upgrades, development, and police enforcement of the national highway system is funded from the National Land Transport Fund.

The money used in the fund is derived from the tax levied on the sale of petrol, with approximately NZD 0.50 per litre being diverted to the fund.

Diesel cars also contribute to the fund via an annual tax bill levied at a rate of approximately NZD 0.06 per kilometre driven, as diesel is not subject to the same taxes as petrol.

EVs are currently exempt from the road user charges faced by diesel cars, and they will remain exempt until electric vehicles make up 2 per cent of the national fleet. The 2 per cent threshold is expected to be reached in approximately 2021.

“The exemption is scheduled to be lifted in 2021 which means EV’s will be required to pay road user charges but that won’t solve the issue of vehicles in general becoming more fuel efficient, we’ll still have the problem of the hole in the fuel excise system and the fact is that the fuel excise is the main way that we pay for our transport system and we need to make sure that the system continues to work,” said Irvine.

However, the Ministry of Transport’s principal advisor, Brent Lewers insists there is no cause for concern, adding that the lost revenue will be only a fraction of the country’s total income generated through fuel excise and road-user charges.

“It’s going to balance out, EVs will start paying at the same rate that small diesel vehicles do now and that’s about six cents per kilometre. Broadly people switching between petrol vehicles and non-petrol vehicles doesn’t make any significant difference the numbers are set so that it all comes out to be about the same,” Lewers said.

“At the moment petrol and vehicle users are subsidising EV users, that was part of the electric vehicle set of initiatives that the government announced in May of 2016 which was designed to encourage people to buy more EVs.”

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Which format will prevail?

Most plugs used to charge cars at home use the slow alternate current (AC). Therefore, building a network that can charge vehicles quickly when on the road is key, given many potential consumers still worry about battery range.

The fastest DC stations, capable of delivering up to 400 kilowatts, can recharge cars within 10 minutes, a vast improvement on the 10-12 hours it can take to reload at some AC charging points today.

There are currently four major standards for electric vehicle (EV) chargers that will supercharge batteries:

  • Tesla’s Supercharger system.
  • CCS, favoured by Europe, BMW, Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler, Ford and the Volkswagen group, which includes Audi and Porsche.
  • CHAdeMo or Charge de Move, developed by Japanese firms, including Nissan and Mitsubishi.
  • GB/T in China, the world’s biggest EV market.

“I think over time CHAdeMO and CCS will converge, likely into the current CCS standard, and the jury is out as to what will happen to Tesla,” said Pasquale Romano, chief executive officer of Silicon Valley-based ChargePoint, which runs one of the world’s largest charging station networks.

So far, there are about 7,000 CCS charging points worldwide, according to CharIN, with more than half in Europe.

The European Union backs CCS as the standard for fast-charging but does not prohibit other plugs being installed.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) recommends both the CHAdeMo DC and CCS connector types in order achieve compatibility across public charging stations. 

Source: NZTA

Globally, there are 16,639 charge points compatible with CHAdeMO – mostly in Japan and Europe – and 8,496 Tesla Superchargers, with the majority in the United States.

In China, there are 127,434 GB/T charging stations, according to the China Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Promotion Alliance.

Tesla’s system is exclusive to its clients, for example, while CCS features a double-plug that can charge DC and AC, increasing the number of spots where drivers can recharge.

CHAdeMO allows cars to sell power from their batteries back to the grid, a process known as bi-directional charging that can help stabilise energy networks in times of demand swings and earn car owners some extra cash.

CCS fast-chargers has also teamed up with companies that have service station networks in Europe: Shell, OMV, Germany’s Tank & Rast and retailer Circle K.

For now, CCS, Supercharger and CHAdeMO plugs continue to be installed in Europe as well as the United States, while China is pressing ahead with GB/T, suggesting it is too early to call a winner in the plug wars – especially as no carmaker will want to lose out on the Chinese market.

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