Is emissions-free car travel possible in New Zealand?

Imagine a world where both the cars we travel in and the electricity used to power them are free from emissions.

Understandably, you may ask how is this possible, when according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), our Electricity Sector emits 5,000,000,000 kgs of CO2 every year and the Transport Sector emits 14,000,0000,000 kgs of CO2 a year.

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Well now you can travel by car, free from emissions and with a clean, clear conscience by using an Electric Vehicle (EV) charged at a ChargeNet Rapid charger and by using carboNZero certified electricity from Ecotricity Ltd

Charge.net.nz are rolling out a nationwide charging infrastructure for Electric Vehicles. The adoption rate of Electric Vehicle Technology all over the developed world, and finally here in New Zealand it has been exponential.  Electric Vehicle ownership numbers are doubling each year here and abroad.

The company is installing over 70 fast charging stations around New Zealand, to allow an entry level full electric vehicle to charge up and keep going in between 10 and 25 minutes. Charging stations can and will be located in places that drivers and passengers will want to stop for a quick recharge of their car and themselves.  

Charging stations are as simple and autonomous as a large appliance, like a vending machine, and can be placed just about anywhere that is in close enough proximity to a transformer. Charge.net.nz, along with the New Zealand electric vehicle community are going to change the way we move around this beautiful country and the way we look at transport. The billions of dollars that are currently spent on overseas oil for Kiwi cars can be put back into the New Zealand economy, creating more jobs here at home, and assuring energy independence for New Zealand.  It just makes sense.

Ecotricity’s mission is to provide Kiwis and Kiwi businesses with 100% Pure Renewable power, and to electrify New Zealand's vehicle fleet.

It has become common for electricity consumers abroad to buy carbon-free electricity.  Ecotricity is the only New Zealand electricity company supplying certified carboNZero electricity for Kiwis.

Currently, the electricity supplied by Ecotricity is sourced from carboNZero-certified hydro generation and in the near future wind will also be in the portfolio. 

By using wind, hydro and solar the New Zealand economy can grow without costing the earth.

Wind generation is renewable, requires no fuel, and is cheaper than any other form of new energy generation. That’s why wind is the fastest growing means of electricity generation in the world.


Longer term, the more wind farms that are installed in New Zealand, the cheaper your power bills will get. 

Currently, wind generates around 5% of the total electricity in New Zealand. It's recognised that in most countries, around 30-40% of total generation can be provided by wind. In New Zealand, because we are blessed with hydro resources, we can likely achieve even higher rates of wind generation as hydro acts like a big battery for surplus wind. On-site battery storage will mean that this figure could be even higher.

Wind generation captures the energy of the wind as it passes through the wind turbine blades. Each individual wind farm operates around 90% of the time, day and night. When you consider that there are wind farms spread all across New Zealand, chances are there is always a wind farm operating at any one point in time. Each wind turbine can supply enough power for around 1,500 households or about 4,000 electric vehicles over a whole year.

Currently, all Ecotricity electricity is supplied by carboNZero-certified hydro generation. To help support the development of new wind farms, Ecotricity have contracted the supply from a recently built wind farm which will also be carboNZero-certified in the coming months.

Simply put, emissions-free motoring in New Zealand is now possible. 

Mark Yates is director of Ecotricity and Charge.net.nz, and has been driving an electric vehicle for the last four years