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Counties Power secures government co-funding for cutting edge electric vehicle technology initiatives

Counties Power has secured co-funding for two new initiatives from EECA to deliver the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, which aims to accelerate the uptake of electric and other low emission vehicles (EVs) in New Zealand.

Counties Power Chief Executive Judy Nicholl says the projects will demonstrate sustainable driving technology and how battery and solar energy solutions can manage peak demand electricity usage cost effectively, ultimately benefiting the company, local electricity consumers and electric vehicle drivers.

As a company we’ve been at the forefront of sustainable energy usage in New Zealand, as early investors in electric vehicle fleets and charging systems, along with battery technology. We’re huge supporters of promoting electric vehicle usage within our region, while also investigating how we prepare for the future of electricity distribution using smarter energy technologies. These projects achieve both outcomes, and we’re grateful to EECA and the Fund for supporting us in our vision to deliver enhanced energy solutions to our community.” — Judy Nicholl, Counties Power Chief Executive

Counties Power will demonstrate smart vehicle-to-grid technology integrated with solar generation and load balancing capability. This project, utilising a Nissan Leaf and charger powered by solar, aims to increase EV use and showcase consumer energy independence, energy savings and the optimisation of utilities peak demand management.  The solar panels would allow the Nissan Leaf to charge directly using energy from the sun and the smart vehicle-to-grid capability will enable the energy to be released back into the building when required. This transforms electric vehicles into mobile power sources for homes and businesses. Together with a smart vehicle-to-grid technology, a 40kWh Nissan Leaf could power an average household for 13 hours.

As part of the second initiative, Counties Power will install two high-power EV chargers at Mercer on the Waikato Expressway together with a 240kW second-life EV battery system to optimise the use of electricity capacity and demand on the electricity network during peak power usage times. The battery system will use 18 repurposed Nissan leaf electric vehicle batteries which would otherwise have been discarded to store electricity taken from the network at lower demand periods to use for higher demand EV power charging.

The Fund will contribute up to $112,000 towards the Mercer High-Power Chargers initiative and $32,000 towards the Smart Vehicle-to-Grid initiative.

Notes:  Counties Power announced in December 2020 it was working with Australian battery technology company Relectrify to deploy New Zealand’s largest battery system repurposing electric vehicle (EV) batteries to-date. The battery system combined Relectrify’s BMS+Inverter technology with batteries from nine Nissan Leaf electric vehicles to store over 120kWh of energy.

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