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Electrifying NZ’s heavy vehicles

The opening of Waste Management’s truck conversion workshop in Auckland

As better battery technology is lowering the cost and boosting the range of passenger electric vehicles (EVs), those advances are making electrification of heavy vehicles more appealing.

“Changing from diesel buses and trucks to electric tackles the air quality issues of central cities, as well as reducing carbon emissions,” says Liz Yeaman, EECA’s Transport Development Manager. “It’s good news for the millions who live and work in big cities.”

There have already been three project launches part-funded by the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by EECA. Two projects, one with Auckland University of Technology and one with Auckland Transport, put electric buses on the road in Auckland; the third, by Waste Management Ltd, is a workshop to convert diesel trucks to electric.

The workshop plans to convert 20 of our national truck fleet in the next two years. The first conversion is almost completed and the truck will be used to collect waste from Auckland Hospital. In addition, the workshop is also open to other companies looking to transform their vehicles into EVs.

“Our investment in the EV workshop will create a knowledge centre for EV conversion in New Zealand and will help us move towards our long-term goal of a fleet of fully electric vehicles,” said Tom Nickels, Waste Management Managing Director.

“Our conversion partner EMOSS in the Netherlands has provided the kitsets and knowledge for our team to start completing conversions here in Auckland. We are also looking forward to helping other New Zealand businesses convert their fleets for a more sustainable future.”

Medium-sized electric trucks are expected in the market later this year. Fuzo NZ said last September it plans to begin testing their box body eCanter on New Zealand roads in the third-quarter.

“Others will follow,” says Yeaman. “Nearly 80 per cent of all freight movements are within regions so there’s heaps of scope to go electric.”

As heavy electric vehicles are exempt from road user charges until they make up 2 per cent of the heavy vehicle fleet, owners of trucks and buses should have a hard look at electric options for their next vehicle purchase, she says.

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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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Charging while shopping

Milk, bread and a side of electricity will soon become normal practice at more supermarkets in the Foodstuffs New Zealand network.

Foodstuffs has recently secured funding from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund to roll out a number of new Electric Vehicles (EV) charging stations throughout New Zealand.

Steve Anderson, Managing Director Foodstuffs New Zealand, says, “Our business has made some astounding progress on a number of environmental issues to reduce waste, plastic and energy consumption. We were delighted to install the first charging station in Christchurch in 2017 – and this project shows just how committed we are to helping New Zealanders reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.”

“Our winning bid is in partnership between ChargeNet NZ, Foodstuffs New Zealand and the two co-operatives; Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island. Our owner-operators fully support this initiative. Their customers can charge their electric vehicles while they shop which is convenient, time-saving and planet-friendly.”

ChargeNet NZ Chief Executive, Steve West says, “As EVs become more mainstream in coming years, having chargers located at supermarkets will be part of everyday life. ChargeNet NZ has opened a number of fast charge stations in partnership with various electricity suppliers, site owners and BMW. A fast charger typically charges an EV in around 20 to 30 minutes. EV owners need to open an account at charge.net.nz to be able to use the charger.”

The EV chargers will be rolled out over the coming months at the supermarkets listed below:

North Island

  • New World Havelock North
  • New World Kawerau
  • New World Levin
  • New World Matamata
  • New World Mt Maunganui
  • New World Morrinsville
  • New World Ohakune
  • New World Stratford
  • New World Taihape
  • New World Tokoroa
  • New World Waihi
  • Four Square National Park
  • Four Square Opononi
  • Four Square Pirongia
  • PAK’nSAVE Kaitaia

South Island

  • New World Gore
  • New World Hokitika
  • New World Kaikoura
  • New World Mosgiel
  • New World Motueka
  • New World Nelson
  • New World Temuka
  • New World Westport
  • Four Square Havelock
  • Four Square Karamea
  • Four Square Reefton
  • Four Square SpringCreek
  • PAK’nSAVE Blenheim
  • PAK’nSAVE Queenstown
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Exciting news for MITO

MITO has received funding from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund which will help towards the development of a qualification framework for the safe inspection, servicing and repair work of electric vehicles (EVs) in New Zealand.

The exciting announcement was made yesterday by Energy and Resources Minister Hon Megan Woods.

MITO Chief Executive Janet Lane says “MITO is absolutely delighted to have received this funding. The Fund encourages innovation and investment to accelerate the uptake of EV and low-emission vehicles in New Zealand. Critical to this is developing the human infrastructure required for the safe inspection, servicing and repair of EV vehicles, balancing the required physical infrastructure. We are sincerely grateful for this co-investment.”

EV’s lithium batteries.

The funding of $95,000 will enable industry-wide access to training provisions and qualifications for EVs by 2019.

Central to the project will be international research and evaluation of qualification design, content, structure and delivery models in order to understand and capitalise on previous experiences of other countries.

“This project will benefit the public,” says Ms Lane. “It will ensure consumers have choice when purchasing inspection, servicing and repair services for their EV, which, in turn, will drive value for money and increase consumer confidence.”

In addition, access to a qualification framework for the automotive workforce will allow businesses to respond to an increasingly rapid pace of change.

“This is a strategy necessary for strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the automotive industry.”

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$3.74 million for new EVs in NZ

More electric vehicles will be on New Zealand’s roads with funding announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan woods today.

Hon Dr Megan Woods

Dr Megan Woods announced a $3.74 million fund for 20 projects in the third round of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

“These exciting projects include a 58 tonne fully electric truck to be used by CODA in Hamilton to shuttle Fonterra’s dairy goods to the railway,” Dr Woods said.

“Projects like this are vital to show others in the heavy logistics and transport industry that electric trucks are not only viable but have very low running costs.”

Dr Woods said $1.7m of the funding would help fill gaps in the country’s charging infrastructure.

One project aims to ‘plug the gaps’ in the North Island fast charging infrastructure and will see a fast charger installed at 15 supermarket locations including Kawerau, Matamata, National Park, and Pirongia.

Funding was also going towards tourism opportunities such as electric camper-vans.

“The projects we are funding show there’s an EV for almost every job or use in New Zealand, be it delivering fruit and veg or taking a holiday.”

Also announced was a Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO) project to develop a qualifications framework for technicians working on electric vehicles. Currently, there is no NZQA-registered qualification or national standard for this work.

To read a summary of the successful third round projects Click Here.

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Round 3 of EECA EV Contestable Fund applications close in 1 month

Applicants now have just over one month left to apply for grants from the third round of the government’s EV contestable fund.

Companies, councils and organisations can apply for a share of $3 million in funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) contestable fund for projects that support the uptake of EVs. Applicants have until Wednesday 27 September to submit proposals for the third round of funding.

The fund will offer up to 50 per cent of funding for suitable projects and is generally, but not strictly limited to a total of $500,000, according to the EECA website.

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

NZ Post has been awared funding, and will expand upon their existing fleet of EVs with the grant.

The EECA wants submissions for projects that would support the growth of a regional EV charging network, assist with infrastructure costs to enable the rollout of bus and truck fleets, and demonstrations of EVs efficacy generally.

Palmerston North City Council, Wellington City Council and Tranzit Group Ltd were among those awarded funding in the last round of submissions. Green Cabs, Foodstuff and Z Energy were among those awarded funding in the round before that. 

NZ Post was also awarded funding from the Contestable Fund and announced yesterday that it would   purchase five electric vans to assess their suitability for use in their courier fleet.

New Zealand Post Sustainability Specialist Sam Bridgman says the funding will help towards making electric vans in NZ Post’s courier fleet mainstream.

“We would like to thank the EECA in helping us with this funding. In addition to our other low carbon initiatives, these vehicles will help us develop new ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the mail we deliver,” said Bridgman.

The fund is one of several government initiatives to increase the uptake of EVs on New Zealand roads every year to a target of 64,000 by 2021.

The aim has been to double the number of EV registrations each year, a target that has so far been reached every year since 2014, and 2017 also looks set to hit 5,334 total registrations according to the current growth of EV sales. The New Zealand EV fleet currently sits at around 4,200.

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EECA releases 2017-2022 Strategy

The government will look at reviewing the way energy consumption is displayed at the point of sale.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has unveiled its 2012-2022 strategy.

Electric vehicles and vehicle uptake feature in the 28-page report, released in June, which aims to unlock “our energy productivity and renewable potential.”

One key target of the Strategy is that EVs make up two per cent of the vehicle fleet by the end of 2021.

According to Ministry of Transport statistics, electric vehicles (including plug-in hybrids) made up one per cent of new registrations in 2017 so far.

As there are currently 3,834 EVs on Kiwi roads, a tiny fraction of the total 3,018,118 vehicles in the fleet, according to the most recent data, and leaving plenty of room for growth.

The ultimate aim for some time has been to double the number of EV registrations each year to 64,000 in 2021, a target which has been reached every year since 2014, and 2017 also looks set to hit 5,334 total registrations according to the current growth of EV sales.

The EECA says this target can be achieved by implementing the Electric Vehicles Programme and “refocusing EECA’s business programme towards emissions and productivity opportunities in transport.”

To increase EV uptake among individuals and households, the EECA’s Strategy says the government will “introduce new, and periodically review, minimum energy performance standards and labels for appliances, equipment and vehicles to ensure that potential consumers are provided with clear and accurate energy information at the point of sale.”

Vehicles sold in trade are currently required to have a sign clearly showing a vehicle’s fuel consumption that is prominently displayed.

The EECA said it would explore options in partnership with the Ministry of Transport for how the government can increase efficient driving practices and “the pace of adoption of more fuel efficient vehicles (invluding EVs) by households.”

The Strategy also suggests lowering energy costs by charging EVs on cheaper rates at off-peak times, which could also increase EV uptake.

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EECA releases EV battery report

In independent report into EV batteries commissioned by the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) found batteries were reliable, with long production lives and extensive manufacturers’ warranties.

EV batteries are sometimes thought of as unreliable and short-lived by consumers, but EECA says this isn’t necessarily the case.

“Electric vehicle batteries are an impressive technology and not everyone realises how long-lived and reliable they are,” said EECA transport general manager Elizabeth Yeaman.

“Manufacturers’ confidence in these batteries is shown by the warranties they offer – now up to ten years on some vehicles.”

The report, which was produced by Australia-based EV consultancy Verdant Vision found that most EVs are reliable, designed to drive and recharge for many years, and may last the life of the vehicle.

Most EVs come with long battery warranties, and the report says drivers can expect the batteries to last well beyond the warranty period.

While sudden EV battery failure can happen, it is very rare. Drivers, however, may notice a slight degradation over time.

The EECA have published a list of tips on their website to help drivers get the most of our of their battery life.

These include learning to drive EVs efficiently to minimise battery stress, minimising the use of frequent fast charging and daily full recharging, parking in the shade or indoors in high temperatures and plugging in the car in below-freezing weather to regulate the battery temperature.

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Right Car and VFEL websites to go offline

The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association has advised that the servers containing the Right Car and Vehicle Fuel Economy Labels (VFEL) websites will undergo urgent unscheduled replacement.

The two websites will be unavailable from 12 noon on Sunday March 19 to enable technicians to migrate them to the new server.

Website administrators have apologised for the disruption. They advise users complete the inquiries before 12 noon on Sunday and not to attempt to use the websites again until Monday morning.

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Second round of EV Contestable Fund opens

The second round of funding for the government’s Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund was opened yesterday by energy and resources minister Judith Collins.

The fund is one of several government initiatives to increase the uptake of EVs on New Zealand roads every year to a target of 64,000 by 2021.

According to Ministry of Transport statistics, 2426 EVs were registered in New Zealand at the end of 2016.

“The government wants to see more people swap to electric vehicles, which are cheaper to run and maintain than petrol-fuelled vehicles,” Collins said.

“Electric vehicles are powered by New Zealand’s more than 80 per cent renewable electricity and will reduce transport emissions, which is good for New Zealand.”

$3 million will be available in the second round, which is aimed at projects that encourage consumer uptake of EVs, increase visibility and showcase the viability of EV technology in New Zealand. The fund will contribute 50 per cent of expenses, with private businesses or council entities to provide the other half.

Funding for the first 15 successful projects was announced in January, including a total 100 new charging stations, an electric car-sharing scheme, EV taxis, and electric waste disposal trucks buses, and delivery vehicles.

With pricing becoming more competitive and range distance increasing, Collins said EVs were becoming more of a reality.  

“New Zealanders will be able to see electric vehicles and charging stations in their neighbourhoods. This fund is helping kick-start innovative projects that are building momentum for change,” she said.

Interested parties have six weeks to submit their proposals to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), with applications closing on April 26.

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EV funding announced

Conditionally approved projects from the first round of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund have been announced by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). The fund was established by the government to encourage innovation and investment into EVs and other low-emission vehicles in New Zealand.

15 projects from 80 applicants were selected by EECA to share the $3.5 million fund. The fund will provide “up to 50 per cent funding for projects that will demonstrate and showcase low emission vehicle technologies in high-profile, visible ways,” Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said in a statement.

Six projects will establish fast-charging stations in the Hutt Valley, The Coromandel Scenic Touring Route, the Thermal Explorer Highway between Taupo and Napier, Pukekohe, and at various locations around Auckland and at Warehouse stores in “under-serviced” locations across the country.

EECA also approved two projects to demonstrate electric buses in the Auckland region; one by the Tranzit Group Ltd and one by Auckland Transport, at $369,250 and $500,000 respectively. Both buses will gather route data and assess the feasibility of EVs in the public transport network. Other passenger transport options will also be explored – Mevo received $500,000 to help roll out 50 EVs in a Wellington car-sharing scheme, and Green Cabs will introduce an undisclosed number of EVs in its fleet with the aid of $223,722.

Commercial vehicle projects also received funding. Foodstuffs NZ has been awarded $500,000 to demonstrate 28 electric delivery vans at stores around the country and will also install charging stations at some locations. Waste Management NZ will use $500,000 to convert three trucks to 100 per cent electric, to design and convert a further two diesel trucks, and to establish a conversion and service facility in Auckland.

The next round of funding will have $6 million available for further EV and low-emission projects and opens for applications in late February or early March.

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