The challenges of charging a fleet of electric vehicles were brought to the attention of Auckland Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee on July 20.

The Government has made a target to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 and wants half of all light vehicle registrations to be EVs by 2029.

Vector chief executive officer Simon Mackenzie told the committee that this would place a huge demand on the power network.

“It’s a very complex issue,” Mackenzie said.

He said that it would involve scheduling charging times “just like you would with air traffic control”.

“What you don’t want is for everyone to start charging their cars at the same time.”

Cr Ken Turner asked how scheduled charging would work.

“Are you basically going to put the people’s chargers on a ripple switch, like we used to have with hot water cylinders, so that you guys can go ‘not tonight Charlie’?” Turner asked.

Mackenzie said that it was a lot more sophisticated than “the old hot water cylinder”, but essentially it was the same principle.

“We have had a trial with 200 customers across Auckland where they connected their EV charges to a system,” Mackenzie said.

The smart chargers communicate with the electricity network, as well as the vehicles being charged, and other smart chargers. Through the transfer and analysis of data, the best charging times can be chosen, times that put less pressure on the network and are most cost-effective for the owner.

“We are seeing the dependence on electricity as critical, whether it’s for the home consumer, businesses and now transport,” Mackenzie added.