BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ.
This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill.
BMW has confirmed its position at the forefront of the world’s electric revolution by linking with Charge Net NZ to install more than 100 DC stations around New Zealand, providing nationwide fast-charge coverage.
Supported by an investment from BMW AG in Munich, New Zealand is on track to become one of the first nations in the world where it will be possible to drive around the entire country using purely electric power.
BMW New Zealand Managing Director Florian Renndorfer said BMW, which is celebrating 100 years of operation in 2016, was committed to shaping the mobility of this century and the next 100 years.
“BMW is a leader in electric vehicle technology worldwide. The BMW i3 is the world’s first purpose built electric vehicle, imagined, designed and built from the ground up to be purely electric.
“While the BMW i3 was designed as a mega-city vehicle, the extended range available on the latest BMW i3 94Ah means it can now be a mega-country vehicle too.
“And our support of Charge Net NZ will give BMW i3 owners the option to break out of their normal urban driving environment and tackle long distances,” Renndorfer said.
The BMW-Charge Net ‘Electric Highway’ will focus on major cities, but will enable an electric vehicle to drive around New Zealand using DC fast-charge stations. Over 100 DC stations are earmarked to connect New Zealand by the end of 2017, and already Charge Net NZ has gone live nationally with 20 fast-charging stations.
CEO Steve West said “BMW is an innovative and enthusiastic force in the Electric Vehicle movement, both in New Zealand and around the globe.
“And it is an honour to be working closely with such a distinguished brand and organisation.
“BMW is showing real leadership in the Electric Vehicle space by providing the largest selection of plug-in vehicles in New Zealand.
“I truly believe that the electrification of the fleet is the future of New Zealand, and BMW is showing impressive leadership by offering such a range of plug-in vehicles, and supporting the New Zealand market so actively.
“BMW’s generous support is helping Charge Net NZ secure this future for New Zealand and it’s fantastic to see such a commitment to developing Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure in New Zealand.
“BMW is proving that they are not afraid of the future, but rather helping drivers to get there sooner, with good information, supporting charging infrastructure, and excellent after sales service,” West said.
New Zealand is one of the most electric vehicle-ready countries in the world, with 80 per cent of the country’s electricity generated from renewable sources. That positions New Zealand second on the planet. Charge Net NZ is providing 100 per cent renewable energy into their charging stations.
The Government has set a target of doubling the number of electric vehicles in NZ every year to reach 64,000 by 2021 (about 2 per cent of NZ’s current light vehicle fleet).
Electric vehicle drivers will be able to fast-charge their cars at these stations around the country using the BMW-Charge Net NZ-branded Charge Now card, which operates as a debit card. Charging at a Charge Net DC charging station takes around 30 minutes to reach 80 per cent capacity. The travel range of most entry-level battery electric vehicles is 100km before they require recharging.
Photo: (L-R) Simon Bridges (Minister of Transport), Florian Renndorfer (BMW Group New Zealand), Steve West (Charge Net NZ).