New investment focus for Round 5 of Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund

EECA has just published on its website a new investment focus for Round 5 of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, ahead of opening for applications on 15 August 2018.

So far, EECA has updated the investment focus every second round to reflect the changing status of EV uptake and technology development.  The Round 5 investment focus is to:

  • Support the development of the charging network by identifying and filling the key gaps in the network, and by supporting EV charging stations in priority locations where further facilities are needed
  • Facilitate the scale-up of LEV technology, especially in shared fleets and public transport
  • Enable the demonstration and uptake of light and heavy LEVs and associated technologies through high visibility projects in sectors of the economy where LEVs remain relatively unproven
  • Encourage electric vehicle technology innovation, particularly Vehicle-to-Grid and Smart Charging technologies potentially resulting in reductions to peak electricity demand
  • Support the development of electric vehicle maintenance, repair and other support services.

For Round 5 EECA has called out some specific projects that it considers would fit the new investment focus.  New examples of projects EECA considers fitting the Round 5 investment focus include:

  • Vehicle-to-grid trials and smart charging technology which lead to peak electricity demand ‘shaving’ and corresponding benefits to EV owners
  • Addressing consumer confidence about EV servicing through industry accreditation
  • Expanding EV car share projects
  • Scale-up of EV charging infrastructure in key locations

With these new examples, it appears that EECA is seeking to replicate some of the early successes of the Fund, such as EV car share schemes, rather than just facilitate EVs into new sectors as it has done previously.  It’s easy to see why when EV car share delivers opportunities for more individuals and companies to experience the benefits of driving an EV without the need for vehicle purchase themselves.  Battery electric buses are another area of success ripe for replication.

The new investment focus also suggests that EECA is wanting to see some projects which address specific gaps in how the EV “ecosystem” in New Zealand is developing.  Some electricity lines companies have been getting a bit twitchy about the potential for local network demand peaks from EV charging, hence the specific encouragement of and smart charging and vehicle-to-grid projects.

EECA’s consumer surveys have shown that a weak point in consumer confidence about EVs is not knowing where you can get your EV serviced, so industry accreditation schemes will help there.

New Zealand now has DC fast chargers located so that you can drive to most places around the country in a used Gen 1 Nissan Leaf.  But there are still gaps, particularly in the South Island down the West coast, across Arthur’s Pass and into Milford Sound.   EECA wants to see these gaps filled.   It is also recognising that as the EV fleet continues to double in size every year, one DC fast charger in some key locations is not going to be enough to meet growing demand.  Bigger charging stations come with infrastructure challenges like transformer upgrades, so funding assistance might be possible for a project with a well-articulated application justifying EECA’s co-investment.

Retyna’s Managing Director, Liz Yeaman, was previously the General Manager, Transport at EECA and led the set up and management of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund.  She has insights into how the Fund works and how to best write an application to the Fund for the highest chance of success.  If you would like help with your project’s application to the Fund please get in contact.