Answering the Climate Change Minister's electric vehicle challenge

Answering the Climate Change Minister's electric vehicle challenge image
News | 24 February, 2020
Greens co-leader and Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, met with the ENA and one of his parting questions was around lines networks' capability to cope with the possibility of a rapidly accelerating uptake of electric vehicles.

The ENA replied that when considering massive uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) by mass-market consumers, lines networks' concerns are principally related to the significant increase in load on their low voltage networks, over which they currently have little visibility.


The three high-level issues are:


  • Encouraging consumers to use existing capacity in low voltage networks (i.e. encourage demand to move to off-peak) and signal to consumers and third parties (e.g. demand aggregators) the value to the network of moving demand to off-peak periods;
  • Ensuring that EV charging units are able to deliver ‘smart’ charging, by being technically capable of providing a demand response;
  • Ensuring networks have greater visibility of their low voltage networks – some of this is in the hands of the networks to solve, some is not.


The following five actions (in no particular order) are the minimum sensible steps that industry and government could introduce or encourage to ensure that networks are able to most efficiently, economically and safely accommodate mass uptake of EVs in New Zealand.


These include:


  1. Cost-reflective pricing
  2. Standards for demand-response (DR) capable charging devices
  3. Access to smart meter data for networks
  4. Deployment of low voltage monitoring devices
  5. Registration of electric vehicle charging unit installations.