The revolution of the charge: innovative transport solutions

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Z Energy will install six rapid-charge electric vehicle charging stations at sites in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, starting with the first launch in Wellington on 24 March.

Z Energy’s Sustainability Manager Gerri Ward says the charging stations are being introduced due to public support for Z as an “innovative transport solutions company rather than a traditional fuel company”.

“There is a consumer expectation that Z should step up and be the one to provide public electric charging infrastructure,” says Gerri. “We think that’s a really positive indication that people are relating to Z in the way we’d want – as a sustainable transport fuels provider rather than a traditional fuel company.”

The rapid charging stations will cut charge times down to 10 minutes (only three minutes more than the average Z service time for a standard fuel vehicle), making them twice as fast as an ordinary charging station which takes up to 20 minutes.

Gerri says that the charge stations will tend more towards giving drivers a boost to get them where they need to go instead of being used for a full charge.“We’ve chosen rapid chargers because if you’re out and about in an electric vehicle and you get stuck, you’re most probably just going to be looking for a quick charge-up to get you back home.”

Leading the industry, says Gerri, has come with no risk but a strong reputational reward.

“Electric vehicle charging stations aren’t a commercial proposition for us and they never will be. We’re happy to see our infrastructure suppliers, Charge Net, leading in this space, and they’ll be providing the back-end charging and support infrastructure.”

The critical move for Z is that charging infrastructure meets consumer expectation, making the future proofing of the business two-fold: consumers with electric vehicles can charge at Z and Z reinforces its reputation for sustainability leadership.

Electric charging infrastructure is only part of Z’s overarching sustainability plan (which also includes biofuels and a plethora of initiatives at every service station, such as LED lights, reducing waste to landfill by 65 per cent, and recycling carwash water) and Gerri says there is potential to scale the output of rapid charging points as demand increases.