There is no doubt that electric vehicles are the way of the future and will play a significant role in decarbonising the transport sector. Several infrastructure challenges must be addressed first however if New Zealand is to build a future-proofed, nationwide network of public EV chargers that are accessible, durable, and secure enough to meet the anticipated growth of EV vehicles and ultimately reduce range anxiety.
Aotearoa currently has the fewest number of public chargers per EV in the OECD - around 400 nationwide. To address this, our government and private sector need to commit to build and roll out a nationwide network of 10,000 public EV chargers by 2030. It’s no mean feat as there is a lot of work to be done to achieve this goal.
Terry Collins, Principal Policy Advisor at the Automobile Association, perhaps states it best: “We have been pushing for more EV chargers across Aotearoa for quite some time now. All EV users want is to be confident that they can easily access safe charging stations when and where they need to.”
And he says, it’s not just about the number of chargers, it’s also about ensuring they’re robust, future-proofed and have the tech capability to manage the massive growth expected in EVs over the next ten years.
“We also need nationwide standards ensuring all chargers are safe to use, secure from cyberattacks, have sophisticated communication abilities so the network can be well-managed and monitored remotely, and that the chargers are as energy efficient as possible,” Terry says.
A recent article by Jordan Ramer, CEO of United States charging company, EV Connect, states the key to making these value-added features a reality is smart connected software.
“Considering how EV charging stations are generally unattended, unlike traditional gas stations, the right software enables automated processes and call-centre-supported troubleshooting. Remote station monitoring and predictive maintenance systems can help ensure uptime to protect stations' reputation and revenue.”
High bandwidth connectivity essential
With much greater reliance on software, future-proofed, high bandwidth connectivity is essential to enabling more advanced charging infrastructure to operate effectively.
That’s where fibre comes in – a highly reliable broadband technology, well placed to handle the connectivity challenges facing the EV charging sector.
Connectivity ensures huge quantities of data can be quickly and easily transmitted to the cloud 24/7 for key functions including payment, real-time reporting, monitoring usage patterns, adding CCTV for safety and security, and optimising charging schedules.