I’m an unrepentant supporter of the Government’s subsidy for EV take-up.
Likewise, a supporter of the urgings of the Climate Commission to do whatever is needed, as quickly as possible, to build the necessary public infrastructure (e.g., nationwide charging stations) to facilitate EV use.
I’ve even pleaded with PM Ardern to buy a Ford-150Lightening (EV ute) to silence the critics who would keep our farmers and tradies in petrol/diesel purgatory.
I’ve read heaps about the downsides of EV batteries, and still conclude that the energy efficiency, GHG advantages, other air pollution mitigation and cost advantages on a lifetime ownership basis easily recommend EVs over internal combustion engines.
Indeed, every vehicle manufacturer on the planet – whether they manufacture cars, utes, trucks, busses, even tractors – has come to the same conclusion and is phasing out their dinosaur ICE vehicles … some very quickly.
Carbon-fueled vehicles are dead.
So, wake up NZ vehicle owners, or our vehicle fleet will look like Havana, Cuba!
So, with that as a starting point, there is still room for a dose of reality around the pace with which the new EV transportation of the future can reach your garage.
I received such a dose this week from Brian Anderson, a self-described “old retired electrical engineer” from Havelock North. Here’s what he wrote me:
“With regard to EC charging …
“Building the required electricity infrastructure” is very easy statement to make. But is it understood that most houses in NZ are wired, single phase, to standards developed more than 60 years ago, and are incapable of supporting EV charging systems of even 7.4 kW. There is way too much marketing hype about how easy it is to charge an EV but one of the most important numbers to understand is the “Capacity” of your EV battery, specified in kilowatt hours [kWhr]. It is either barely mentioned, or hidden in the small print.
“At best, most houses will only support a maximum of about 4.6 kW, limited by the house wiring and a 20A circuit breaker. Even that would require a special charger wired into your garage. Costs? Perhaps around $5000. If your new EV has a battery capacity of say 85kWhr, that will take more than 20 hours to fully charge.
“For something like a “Fast Charger” rated at 7.4kW, additional house wiring with 32A circuit protection will undoubtedly be necessary. That, plus the charger would cost perhaps $5k-$8k. Even that is not sufficient to charge your Tesla overnight.
“If a number of houses in your street opt for “Fast Charger” installations the distribution network and distribution transformers for your street will require to be upgraded.
“The costs of wiring additions, charger installations, and network infrastructure upgrades are going to be huge, but are presently glossed over.”
Chastening I agree, Brian, but still not reason enough to resist the inevitable. And what a business godsend for electricians!
Anyone want to take Brian on?