BMW has announced a fast charge partnership that will create New Zealand’s first ‘electric highway’ with the scheme gaining support from Transport Minister Simon Bridges.
Revealed today at BMW Group NZ’s Mt Wellington headquarters, the German company is supporting Charge Net NZ’s plan to introduce more than 100 fast charge stations around the country by 2018.
The DC fast-charge stations will stretch the “length and breathe of New Zealand charging from Kaitaia to Invercargill” said BMW Group NZ’s managing director, Florian Renndorfer at today’s press conference.
The Charge Net fast charger and the BMW i3. Picture/Supplied.
BMW NZ has made a “substantial financial contribution” to Charge Net NZ’s network system with support from BMW AG in Munich.
“It is an electrifying event for BMW NZ,” said Renndorfer, “it is one of the largest investments by any car company (into an EV scheme).”
The BMW-Charge Net ‘electric highway’ will focus on major cities – Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch – but there will be an average of 60km between charge stations nationwide to prevent any ‘range anxiety’.
Charge Net is working with The Warehouse, Z Energy and Foodstuff supermarkets on the location of the charging stations.
Charge Net’s CEO, Steve West, has been an early adopter of electric vehicles (EVs) and realised the need for an extensive charging system in New Zealand.
The BMW X540e. Picture/ Supplied
“For BMW Germany to show enough confidence in New Zealand is fantastic,” he said.
New Zealand has 80 per cent renewable energy while the Charge Net stations are powered by 100 per cent zero-carbon certified electricity.
The New Zealand Government announced in May a campaign to double the number of EVs in this country every year and by 2021 to have more 64,000 EVs on our roads.
Bridges said at the press conference today that it was now up to New Zealanders to make the investment in EVs.
“Electric vehicles are cheaper to ‘fill’ at 30 cents a litre, compared with $1.80 or $1.90 a litre at the moment for petrol,” said Bridges.
BMW i3. Picture/ Supplied
“Now is the time for New Zealanders to step up and purchase an EV.”
For BMW NZ, the Charge Net stations will support its range of iPerformance electric vehicles, including the i3 and i8, plus the 330e, 220eAT, X540e and soon the 740e.
BMW NZ will soon launch the i3 94Ah Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) offers up to 200km range from its lithium-ion battery pack, while the Range-Extended i3 (REx) offers an additional 150km provided by an on-board petrol generator, totalling 350km.