At a recent conference in New Zealand, where the second chapter of ‘The New Energy Future’ was launched, industry and government leaders came together to discuss the impacts electric vehicles (EVs) may have on the New Zealand economy. With representatives comprising established electricity and liquid fuels businesses, innovators in digital and new user solutions, and policy makers, the dialogue was energised by diverse perspectives.
Natural opportunities for New Zealand
A global energy transition is underway, with the pace of technological and commercial change accelerating. Conversations have moved on from those around technical viability to the business models and policies that can accelerate the change. We are approaching a tipping point where new technologies, of which EVs are just one example, are becoming powerful economic and social forces.
Low emission vehicles and emerging digital technologies could see New Zealand become a world leader in the adoption of EVs. New Zealand’s capacity to generate both renewable and low carbon electricity means that they could benefit more than other countries by transitioning to EVs. To realise this future, the digital adoption of new energy, and dynamic consequences of new energy and transport investments, must become more transparent to allow greater understanding of the impacts on business, consumers and government policy.
Unlocking benefits through partnerships
While change is already happening, there are materially greater opportunities for New Zealand. Although individuals are at the heart of change, they need to be brought on the journey with business. This can lead to early adopters of new technologies unlocking value across the energy, mobility and related value chains. Sharing their learnings will accelerate the beneficial adoption of technology and reduce the risk of wasted or stranded investments.
New Zealand has a great track record of collaboration, creating opportunities across organisations with some excellent forums targeted on key areas of change (e.g. Drive Electric, the Smart Grid Forum and the Green Grid research group). These changes will reach across policy and business sectors that have in the past been quite separate (i.e. electric power, liquid fuels or transport infrastructure). Understanding the value that can be created in each sector, and shaping a response that unlocks that value across sectors, will create transformational opportunities.
With digital and social changes already impacting the market, there is a convergence of electricity, transport and energy systems with insurance, health, finance and consumer digital technologies and services. This convergence can accelerate the uptake of EVs and Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) if there is a wider community push to share the benefits across sectors.