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New Electric Charging Partnership

ChargeNet New Zealand and Aurora Energy are partnering together to extend a charging network for electric vehicles in Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown lakes.

Aurora Energy is New Zealand’s seventh largest electricity network by customer connections, supplying electricity to more than 88,000 homes, farms and businesses in Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes.

ChargeNet NZ is the only organisation installing a nationwide network of rapid charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. It is also the largest privately owned and operated DC fast charger network in the Southern Hemisphere. The partnership will mean faster growth in the Southern region.

“The Otago region is one of the most active regions in the country in terms of embracing electric vehicles, and we are keen to support electric vehicle owners through this partnership with Aurora Energy,” said Nick Smith, Chief Operating Officer of ChargeNet NZ.

The agreement between the two organisations means an upgrade to the existing charger in Filleul St, Dunedin, to a Tritium charger supplied by ChargeNet. Other sites around the Dunedin CBD are also being considered for new installations.

“Extending the Dunedin and surrounding offerings is an important step in bolstering our ever-growing nationwide network of fast chargers and will be a game changer for both local and visiting electric vehicle owners.”

“The sites will complement the existing infrastructure in the Aurora Energy network, including Wanaka and Alexandra, and other installations underway in Queenstown and Roxburgh.”

“With most electric vehicles taking between six to eight hours to charge via a domestic power point, one of the challenges has been the ability to charge them when away from home, but the fast charge network which we are putting in place will allow electric vehicle owners to charge a vehicle in less than 25 minutes,” he says.

Aurora Energy is also delighted in the partnership as it will allow vehicle owners in Dunedin and wider Otago region greater confidence to make the move to driving electric said Grady Cameron, Chief Executive of Aurora Energy.

“We expect the new partnership will support further electric vehicle uptake across our network area and encourage even more people to make the switch to electric vehicles.

“Since Aurora Energy installed the South Island’s first public fast charging station in February 2016, the number of electric vehicles in Otago has increased from 50 to 225. Nationwide, the growth in electric vehicles has been exponential with 5,400 now registered in New Zealand, up from just 500 three years ago.

“Electric vehicles are an increasingly attractive option for New Zealand drivers and are cheaper, cleaner and quieter to run than traditional petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles,” added Mr Cameron.

There are 57 chargers connected to ChargeNet’s network nationwide, at 30 November 2017 and they aim to have over 105 stations by the end of 2018.

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GM to increase focus on EVs

General Motors has said it will combine operations outside of China and North America into a new organization based in Detroit, in an attempt to further scale back its operations that are losing money, and increase their presence in the EV market.

Automotive News reports that GM said it will combine the leadership of its Southeast Asia, India and Oceania operations, with its South American operations, effective January 1 next year. The new company will be led by Barry Engle, currently GM executive vice president and president of GM South America.

GM CEO Mary Barra.

On Monday GM outlined plans to add 20 new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to its global lineup by 2023, financed by robust profits from sales of gasoline-fueled trucks and sport utility vehicles in the United States and China.

GM’s Latin American and Asia/Pacific operations both lost money in 2016, excluding profits from GM’s operations in China.

“Our strategy (is) to refocus our traditional business operations to free up the resources and financial power needed to really step into the next chapter of the automotive industry,” Stefan Jacoby, executive vice president of GM’s International Operations told Reuters.

GM has shrunk its international operations over the past five years, ceasing manufacturing in Australia and Indonesia entirely, while restructuring its Thai operations. The car maker is also reducing its presence in India.

GM has also sold its European unit Opel, to French automaker Peugeot SA.


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Dyson working on electric vehicle

Dyson has begun work on a battery electric vehicle, due to be launched by 2020.

James Dyson, inventor and founder of Dyson Limited, says it has long remained his ambition to find a solution to the global problem of air pollution.

“We’ve started building an exceptional team that combines top Dyson engineers with talented individuals from the automotive industry. The team is already over 400 strong, and we are recruiting aggressively. I’m committed to investing £2bn on this endeavour.

“Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential,” he says.

In London, nearly 9,500 people die early each year due to long-term exposure to air pollution according to a study carried out by researchers at King’s College London. The World Health Organisation reports “in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure”.

“It is our obligation to offer a solution to the world’s largest single environmental risk,” Dyson says.

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EV strategy flagged by UN

Volvo Cars has been recognised by the United Nations for its ground-breaking electrification strategy in the latest report from the UN’s Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

The recently launched report focuses on the progress that Global Compact members have made in supporting the delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It highlights 10 chief executives who have taken bold and disruptive action, including Volvo’s president and chief executive, Håkan Samuelsson.

The Global Compact has also recognised Volvo Cars as a LEAD member, a group of the most committed, engaged and ambitious companies within the Global Compact. A founding member of the Global Compact, Volvo Cars is one of only 44 LEAD companies out of a total of 9,500 members – and one of only two car makers.

In the report, entitled ‘Business Solutions to Sustainable Development’, Håkan Samuelsson lays out the company’s reasoning behind the electrification strategy announced in July.

“We’re doing this because we think this is the right future for Volvo Cars, and that it will make us stronger. It’s sound business,” says Samuelsson in the report.

With the announcement Volvo Cars became the first established car company to fully embrace electrification and place it at the core of its future business. From 2019 every Volvo car launched will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine.

The electrification announcement was a watershed moment in the industry and Volvo’s example has been followed since by other car makers which have made similar announcements.

As part of its strategy, Volvo will launch five fully electric vehicles between 2019 and 2021. Three of these cars will be Volvo models and two will be Polestar performance cars. These cars will be supplemented by a range of plug in hybrid and mild hybrid options on all models, representing one of the broadest electrified car offerings of any car maker.

“Volvo Cars is leading the way and we can see now that the automotive industry is waking up to its responsibilities. We are proud to be a LEAD member of the UN Global Compact and of being acknowledged for our industry-leading commitment to an electric future,” says Stuart Templar, director sustainability at Volvo Cars.


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Northland council grows EV fleet

Northland regional councillor Justin Blaikie says his council is a national leader in the charge to adopt electric vehicle technologies.

Blaikie says the council has seven full electric vehicles (EV) and three plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PEHV). It also has a raft of 80 solar panels atop its Water St headquarters, installed three years ago, which help charge them.

The council’s foray into EV ownership began several years ago, and was driven both by the potential long-term financial savings and environmental benefits they offer.

Northland Council’s current electric fleet comprises two Nissan Leaf, five new Renault Zoe, and three Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs.

EV owners at a fast charging station in Whangarei.

Blaikie says because of the nature of some of the council’s work – and the distances and terrain involved – it would not be practical and/or cost-effective to swap to an all-electric/PHEV fleet in the foreseeable future.

The council is aiming to see as many of its 60-plus vehicle fleet as possible using some sort of electric technology during the next few years.

He says the council’s 20kW rooftop ‘solar array’ generates enough power to drive about 500 EV kilometres per day, cutting about $26,000 from the council’s annual fuel bill.

Northland’s was the first region in New Zealand to build a fast charging station that opened in Whangarei in May 2014.

There are now several throughout the region, including in Whangarei, Kaiwaka, Dargaville and Kawakawa.

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Renault-Nissan dismisses ‘peak car’ notion

The chief executive officer of the Renault-Nissan alliance has dismissed the notion that the era of personal ownership of cars is ending, predicting in Paris yesterday that his alliance will sell more than 14 million cars a year by 2022, Forbes reports.

Carlos Ghosn says that this number is more or less inevitable.

“Fourteen million is not a target, it is not an objective,” Ghosn says. “What I am telling you is what our assumptions are. Our forecast is that by the end of 2022, we should reach 14 million cars. We estimate that the total market by the end of 2022 will be between 108 and 110 million cars.”

This would be significantly up from a worldwide volume of 95 million units in 2016. In this sense Ghosn seems to dismiss the notion that ride sharing and autonomous vehicles will eat into the personal car market.

“When you take a look at the total revenues from selling cars and the expected revenues of mobility services, even six years down the road it will be totally imbalanced,” Ghosn says.  “I don’t think that mobility services will represent a big portion of revenues, compared to selling cars, parts, accessories, servicing of cars etc.”

With Avtovaz, the Alliance has Russia’s largest carmaker. In India, Renault outsells all European and American OEMs. The Alliance’s Mitsubishi is also strong in South East Asia.

Renault and Nissan are invested in the EV market, having recently announced a joint venture with a Chinese company to produce EVs in the PRC. There are some 1.4 million EVs on the world’s roads, and more than half a million of those have been made by Alliance partners.


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NZ Uni to build wireless charging roads

The University of Auckland will receive almost $12 million in funding to research and build wireless charging technology that charges electric vehicles as they are being driven or are parked.

It is estimated that by 2050, 37 million electric vehicles will be on the road worldwide. By developing economically viable wireless charging technologies, big hurdles such as cost, weight and range for EVs could be overcome.

Professor Grant Covic leads the development of dynamic charging roadways at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Engineering.

Along with Computer and Electrical Engineering Emeritus Professor John Boys, he founded a global start-up company that has been sold to technology development company Qualcomm. However the University retains Intellectual Property rights.

Qualcomm recently tested vehicles over a specially-designed track in France.

The project has a number of implementation companies in New Zealand involved including Vector, Downer, JuicePoint along with public agencies Ministry of Transport, NZTA and Auckland Transport.

It is estimated that by 2050, 37 million electric vehicles will be on the road worldwide. Extending the range of electric vehicles is critical to their success but many of the challenges of plug-in cars have proved difficult to solve.

Professor Covic said a further objective of the work is to help New Zealand companies and iwi benefit from the technology through new knowledge and use of local materials.

“This work represents the kind of leading-edge design that is going to be so important to the transportation needs of our future cities and how we provide solutions for the public and private infrastructure we are going to need as the world moves towards electric vehicles.”

New Zealand joins a number of other countries testing the viability of wireless charging roads.

Earlier in the year, an Israeli firm ElectRoad build 80-foot test route at its headquarters, and were awarded a $120,000 grant from Israel’s Ministry of Transport and Road Safety and approval to outfit a portion of a Tel Aviv bus route.

South Korea already has several wireless bus routes, and the European Union has established a consortium to research the technology.

The University of Auckland has been awarded funding of $11,981,875 for five years.

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First electric rubbish truck on NZ streets

Waste Management NZ is currently trialling their first electric truck for wheelie bin waste collections, which will start work on New Zealand streets from October this year.

Christchurch will be the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to put a 100% electric residential waste collection truck into service.

More electric trucks will arrive into Waste Management’s fleet in other cities around New Zealand towards the end of 2017.

Waste Management announced its move towards a fleet of electric vehicles in September last year as part of its Sustainability Commitment.

Waste Management NZ’s first electric truck.

The company has introduced more than 20 electric cars within its light fleet. It also launched an electric box body truck, which collects food waste from Countdown supermarkets across Auckland, earlier this year. This new truck will be the first electric truck which is designed and dedicated to collecting residential wheelie bins from the kerbside.

Tom Nickels, Waste Management Managing Director, says the new truck is further evidence of the company’s continued shift to EVs.

“With a large fleet of trucks and cars on the road we believe we can help safeguard our environment for future generations through the adoption of electric vehicle technology. I am delighted we’re bringing this strategy to life by rolling out electric trucks across New Zealand.”

Other logistics operators, such as Infratil NZ, have been trialling electric vehicle technologies. Their business NZ bus is testing the Chinese made BYD fully electric vehicle, in a bid to accelerate the transition to electric-powered public transport in New Zealand.

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China set to end sales of combustion engine

China will join France and the UK in setting a timeline to phase out the sale of internal combustion engine cars.

Bloomberg reports that Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said the government is working with other regulators on a timetable to end production and sales.

Cars driving on an overpass in Beijing amid heavy smog.

The move will have a profound impact on the environment and growth of China’s auto industry, Xin said at an auto forum in Tianjin on Saturday.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Ford have both announced in the past month joint ventures that will see them collaborate with Chinese EV producers to manufacture electric vehicles, for the Chinese market.

Honda Motor Co. will launch an electric car for the China market in 2018, the companies China chief operating Officer said at the same forum in Tianjin. The Japanese carmaker is developing the vehicle with Chinese joint ventures of Guangqi Honda Automobile Co. and Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co. and will create a new brand with them, he said.

Volkwagen AG is also working with the state-owned Anjui Jianghuai Automobile Group to bring an electric SUV to the Chinese market next year.

China, seeking to meet its promise to cap its carbon emissions by 2030, is the latest country to unveil plans to phase out vehicles running on fossil fuels.

The U.K. said in July it will ban sales of diesel- and gasoline-fueled cars by 2040, two weeks after France announced a similar plan.

In 2016 the New Zealand government announced it would seek to increase the number of EVs in the country to 64,000 by the end of 2021.

In a policy document released last week, the Labour Party stated that if elected, they would require state-owned enterprises and other government organisations to actively pursue low-carbon technologies.

“All future purchases of all Government vehicle fleets to be electric vehicles unless there is an exceptional reason otherwise” the document said.

As of August there are 4,541 EVs on New Zealand roads, including Hybrid plug in cars.



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All cars to be electrified from 2020 – Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover is using the inaugural iteration of their new event, Tech Fest, to announce that from 2020, all vehicles it produces will be electrically powered to some extent.

Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive officer, said today, “[Jaguar Land Rover] will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles.”

The companies first fully electric vehicle, the Jaguar I-Pace, will go on sale next year.

The Jaguar I-Pace.

Jaguar Land Rover will also use the event to reveal an electric-powered Jaguar E-type at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest, which opens tomorrow in London. The E-type Zero, has been restored and converted at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, not far from where the E-type was originally designed.

Jaguar Land rover says it drives, handles, rides and brakes just like an original E-type.

Tim Hannig, the director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic says that the companies aim with the electric E-type is to future proof classic car ownership.

Tech Fest’s headliners.

An electric powertrain developing 220kW has been specially designed for the E-type Zero. Its lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions, and similar weight, to the XK six-cylinder engine used in the original E-type. The cars total weight is 46kg lower than the original E-type.

The E-type, launched in 1961, has regularly been voted the best-looking car of all time. Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made”.

The companies concept for a digital assistant, a steering wheel that uses autonomous technologies will also debut.

Jaguar Land Rover will be providing clean, safe, renewable solar-powered lamps to families in Kenya, giving up to four hours of additional light every evening. Visitors to Tech Fest will see the ‘Night Time Sun’ installation, a collaboration between several artists, using solar lamps from the project to harness the sun’s power to transform lives.

The festival takes place at the Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and is open to the public.



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Pure electric car-sharing platform for Christchurch

The largest transition of combustion engines to pure electric shared vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere is set to get underway in Christchurch from November.

Canterbury organisations and residents will soon have access to a pool of 100 pure electric vehicles, only one of a few cities internationally to offer a 100 per cent electric-powered car share service.

Kiwi fleet management company, Yoogo, was selected by the Christchurch City Council to implement the service.

Yoogo’s Hyundai and BMW EVs.

Kirsten Corson, general manager of Yoogo, says the pure electric car sharing model breaks down barriers around cost and charging infrastructure making pure electric vehicles accessible and affordable.

“Cantabrians will pay for the time they use the car and Yoogo takes care of everything else. Users can simply book online and access vehicles via the Yoogo app or swipe card,” says Corson.

 The service will be available for Council, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch Airport, some specified businesses as well as the general public.

Initially the service will launch 70 electric vehicles across three city hubs in late November with 30 additional vehicles to follow in February 2018 across ten locations in total.

Kevin Crutchley, Council’s Resource Efficiency Manager and project manager for this city-wide scheme, says “This new, innovative, 100 per cent battery electric transport service is an exciting development for Christchurch. New Zealand’s electricity is mostly generated from renewable energy so this electric vehicle offering will reduce our city’s carbon emissions. Also using a transport service with zero tail pipe emissions will improve air quality and have positive health benefits for the residents of Christchurch.”

Meridian Energy will be providing the electricity for the scheme. Neal Barclay, their general manager says his company is a proud partner.

“As New Zealand’s largest generator of renewable energy, Meridian is excited to work with like-minded businesses to increase the use of pure electric vehicles and reduce our country’s transport emissions.”

 Pure electric vehicles to be used will initially include Hyundai Ioniq and BMWi3 vehicles.

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