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The latest NZ EV Research. On target or missing the mark?

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

Hello and welcome to another ChargeSmart blog! Today, we will be talking about the latest research from KPMG about EVs in New Zealand!

Who and what was the research for?

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority of New Zealand (EECA) for short commissioned global consultancy firm, KPMG to study the smart charging tech for EVs and specifically, smart charging in homes. The research found that EV owners had several options when it came to chargers starting with the basic ones to those with Wi-Fi and phone connectivity that could monitor charge levels. Andrew Caseley, the Chief Executive of EECA highlighted that there are around 17,000 EVs in the country as of last month and most of them can be charged through the mains and that's what most people do. However, one of the objectives of the research was to identify that this charging behaviour could lead to problems in the future with the number of EVs growing every month. More power needed to charge EVs would strain the power grid. He identified that smart chargers as the solution to this because they charge EVs during off-peak times and this reducing a person's bill and using more renewable electricity, assuming that power companies pass on those savings.

Here are the figures from the report-

  • They forecast that there will be between 71 and 82,000 EVs on the road by 2023

  • 76% of them will charge at or below 3.7kWs

  • By 2030, there will be 633,000 EVs on the road and 60% of them will charge above 3.7%

  • Best case scenario is that EVs become the same price as petrol cars by 2025

The flaws with the report

After reading through the report, we believe that there are two main flaws with it, these are:

The first one being the energy demands of a home charger. The standard trickle chargers are not advised for regular use at home because your wiring may not be up to the task. And if you need to rewire then you might as well get a wallbox which is about $900 for a 3.7kW or the same price for the 7.2kW option. Yes, that is not a typo. While we may not be fans of the Nissan Leaf because of the poor range, the newer versions still come with a 6.6kW charger and other cars like the eGolf for the Hyundai range of EVs all use a 7.2kW on board charger. The new generation Kona has an 11kW charger.

The second issue is that price parity which is the idea that EVs will have a competitive price to petrol cars, is arriving at a faster pace than proposed. Deloitte estimates that price parity will be hit around 2022, which was revised down this year from 2023. But their report took on a global approach but mostly focused on Europe. The predictions were based on assumptions that the popularity of EVs will continue to rise but consider that there are some sub $50k EVs plus the fuel costs are 75% cheaper and running costs are 80% cheaper then we should be hitting that figure much earlier. The Deloitte report also examined the four main concerns for EV buyers which were range, additional upfront cost, lack of infrastructure and time taken to charge.

The KPMG report outlines that most consumers will use the 3.7kW charger but there are certain factors that prove the shortfalls of their research:

The first consumer concern is the range but with 300km fast becoming the normal range for a new EV, no one is complaining about range anxiety. Also, this comes from bigger batteries which means bigger chargers not small 3.7kW ones!

The second concern being the added cost. While EVs are more expensive today then combustion engine vehicles, the Deloitte report suggested that price parity will be reached early next decade but that doesn't take into account possible government incentives in the future.

The third concern was over the lack of infrastructure. EV owners mostly charge their cars at home, work or at places like the mall or supermarkets. If people can't always pop around to their local mall for a quick charge then they will have to upgrade their home charger. In that case, it will be 7.2kW!

The fourth concern was the time required to charge. Car manufacturers have focused on this and working with ChargeSmart's DC providers, they have managed to build 500kW+ DC chargers. However, these public chargers aside, people are still going to want faster chargers for home use and 3.7kW is anything but fast.

We don't think that people will continue to use those basic 3.7kW chargers at home until 2025 and the trouble is if the electricity companies take the report literally then they won't be prepared. Once people have spent the money for a home charger, they won't be too happy when electricity companies are scrambling to try and get the grid up to scratch for this extra load which means they will just pass on the costs to all their customers. That's not smart charging!

Thanks for reading! This was a bit of a heavy read so go on and enjoy your weekend and we'll see you on Monday for some more EV news.

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