Hold onto your EVs: NZ's first 'Hyperchargers' are live in Auckland
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ChargeNet NZ has installed dual 300kW "Hyperchargers" just south of Auckland, the fastest publicly available Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers in New Zealand.
Supported by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) through round six of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, the stations are located at the motorway service centre at Bombay at the end of Auckland's Southern Motorway.
What does 300kW mean in practical terms? Most DC fast-charging stations in NZ to date have been 50kW (including those on ChargeNet's nationwide network), so the new installation is six times more powerful. Sadly, that doesn't mean your EV will charge six times as fast, because there isn't yet a vehicle on the NZ market capable of charging at that rate.
But it does mean an EV can now charge at the maximum rate it's capable of - which varies from model to model. The new Porsche Taycan can charge at up to 270kW, while new Tesla vehicles can accept up to 250kW (the Tesla-specific "Supercharger" network in NZ is 120kW).
The Audi e-tron can charge at up to 150kW, while the popular Hyundai Kona Electric is capable of 80kW.
Actual charge rates depend on a few different factors, including how depleted the battery is when you plug in. But Porsche famously claims that you can add 100km of range to a Taycan in just five minutes with the right charging conditions.
Owners need to subscribe to ChargeNet to use its network. The chargers are activated by a swipe card and users pay for both the power delivered: 60 cents per kWh for the Hyperchargers, dropping to 35c when the power drops below 35kW. Ordinarily there's also a charge for the time parked at ChargeNet machines, although this has not been applied to the Hyperchargers thus far.
So as a rough guide: it'll cost about $30 to get a Kona Electric 64kWh (which is a longer-range EV in modern terms) to 80 per cent from flat at the new station. And it could take only 30-40 minutes, the main limiting factor being the speed of charge the car can accept.
An Audi e-tron 55 (95kWh battery) could be charged to 80 per cent for $45, in less than half an hour.
Each of the two stations at Bombay can Hypercharge charge two vehicles, plus a third using a conventional CHAdeMO connection at 62kW - so a total of six vehicles simultaneously.
It's about future-proofing. ChargeNet says the Hyperchargers "will allow EV drivers to quickly add hundreds of kilometres of driving range in the short time it takes to stop for lunch and a coffee... the newest generation of EVs [will] add 300km of charge in only 10 minutes."
The latest round of the EECA fund distributed $3.2 million of government co-funding to low emissions vehicle projects.
The next round will assist in the installation of another two Hyperchargers in Taupo, while round 8 will assist with seven more across four locations – Kaiwaka, Bulls, Christchurch and North Shore, Auckland.