Meridian moves closer to helping eliminate another EV charging desert

  • Climate Action

Meridian Energy is one step closer to helping eliminate New Zealand’s EV charging desert for drivers travelling through Lewis Pass between Nelson and Christchurch, with the installation of two new fast chargers in Kohatu.

The chargers are two of eight planned to be installed around the South Island across 2023-24 by Meridian Energy with co-funding from the government’s Low Emissions Transport Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), eliminating so-called ‘charging deserts’.

Meridian Head of Energy Innovation, Ryan Kuggeleijn says “electrification is key to reducing New Zealand’s emissions, and providing more EV chargers in places like Kohatu is crucial for making EV ownership more attractive and accessible for Kiwis.”

“Meridian is pleased to have these chargers installed as part of our work to fill the charging gaps across the South Island. We know that having multiple fast charging options on key state highway routes is crucial to support electric driving, and providing these chargers gives EV drivers more certainty when driving the beautiful roads of the upper South Island.”

The two 50kw DC chargers in Kohatu are installed outside Flat Rock Café.

“Drivers will only need to charge for around 30 minutes to get an estimated 25KWh top-up to their car’s battery. For many vehicles this will provide a boost of 125-150kms of range,” says Ryan Kuggeleijn.

Flat Rock Café owner, Deb Coleman says these chargers also benefit local businesses, including her own.

“EV travellers will be able to recharge their own battery with a cuppa or some lunch, while Meridian’s charger does the same for their car. It’s a win for them and our community.

As part of this programme of work, Meridian is in the process of installing chargers at Haast, Hari Hari and Springs Junction, helping support the EECA target of providing public fast charging every 75km along Aotearoa’s State Highways. They will form part of Meridian’s Zero EV charging network which has already installed over 240 charge points across New Zealand.

For Springs Junction, Meridian is working with partners to design and deploy a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) that makes use of recycled batteries from electric vehicles. The BESS will charge overnight to supply energy to the chargers during the day.

The estimated timings for the remaining chargers and the Spring Junction BESS is between October 2023 – April 2024, with the next set of chargers going live in Haast.

“The exact timings of the remaining EV charging stations depend on a range of factors including required network upgrades and arrival of equipment coming from overseas. We are working closely with our partners to have the remaining charging stations and the BESS at Springs Junction completed as soon as possible,” adds Kuggeleijn.


For media queries, please contact:
Philip Clark
Head of Communications
027 838 5710

Update – 3 July 2024

The remote nature of these locations is a challenge for installation. At Springs Junction, Meridian is using an innovative solution that repurposes recycled electric vehicle batteries to power the chargers. This has taken longer than expected to put in place. At this point, the Springs Junction project is expected to be completed in late 2024.