In 2009 Meridian Energy’s electric vehicle program brought 3 commercial prototype Mitsubishi iMievs into New Zealand. It was the first time in Mitsubishi’s history that they had ever allowed one of their prototypes out of the country, let alone 3. They were of course closely monitored every step of their journey across NZ. This was the culmination of more than a year’s work, and as the first part of the team, and then leading it for Meridian, this was when Nigel Broomhall, now Chargemaster’s CEO, first got involved with leading EV development in NZ.
Dialling forward 8 years to 2017, the market has changed substantially. A large number of companies are now actively engaged with EVs for not only leadership but also for commercial drivers. With more and more vehicle options available, and even heavy vehicle EV models entering the market, the time of the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) has truly arrived.
So how did Nigel become involved with Chargemaster? Nigel was called up by Mark Gilbert, a leading figure in the growth of EVs in New Zealand to see if he knew anyone who would be interested in running an EV infrastructure company.
Of course, Nigel volunteered himself to run the new company, and after a rigorous process with the major shareholders, he was approved to take on the role.
Having spent time analysing the NZ market in 2009, Nigel knew the only sustainable way to achieve both rapid and widespread uptake of EVs in NZ is through intelligent charging. Everyone coming home at 6 and plugging in their cars will create a significant peak on the electricity network. And while we might have enough energy, our networks are unlikely to handle rapid peak growth without investment. And then the question arises of who pays for this investment? Because electricity tariffs are complex, any grid reinforcement is usually smeared across everyone for the sake of simplicity. So if EV’s are not charged intelligently, then essentially it could mean everyone pays more, including those who really can’t afford it.
So the mission Chargemaster is to lead NZ down the path of intelligent charging. Charging that can align with network and generator signals to reduce refuelling at peak times, always with the end goal of having the car full when it’s needed. Charging that can flex with the limitations a customer may have in their home, at their business, or on the side of the road. Charging that has the capacity to fill a car in a much shorter time, so this can be done at 2:30am, rather than start at 6pm. Charging that can work with your smart home, utilising solar energy first. And charging that knows when your home or business is consuming power and can reduce the amount of energy it draws, or stop altogether, ramping up when the peak reduces. Charging intelligently means sustained EV growth that works within the current electricity networks and doesn’t increase costs for all.
Chargemaster provides a range of products that align with this mission, the most important being the intelligent charger. The current focus is 22kW 32amp chargers that can flex down to 3.6kW and can be wired in single phase at 7.2kW, with communications and an electricity meter built-in.