More rural areas can now get Electric Vehicle (EV) ready, thanks to the extension of the Spark IoT network. The upgrade of 263 Rural Connectivity Group cell sites to Spark CAT-M1 IoT technology, means Kiwi-owned EV charging company, Evnex, can now install and real-time monitor EV chargers in more rural towns, homes and isolated parts of the country.
The extension of Spark's CAT-M1 IoT network means it now reaches over 99% of the overall New Zealand population and close to 94% of the rural New Zealand population.
Ed Harvey, CEO of Evnex says the extended coverage is good news for Aotearoa, and will aid a shift to a low-carbon economy as data insights from IoT sensors lead to productivity and efficiency gains.
"The added IoT network coverage in rural areas will help bridge the barriers of owning and using an EV for people in rural areas, contributing towards the Government's ambitions of getting more people behind the wheel of an EV.
"As we move towards a smarter, more resilient electricity network, there is now more incentive for EV charging companies to set up chargers in locations with IoT network coverage, because we have the ability to collect and analyse data from them far more accurately.
"This is where the additional IoT connectivity will make a real difference. Knowing the usage patterns from residential or public charging data means we can work with energy companies to manage the load on the electricity network better. This is crucial to ensuring the energy consumption in our regions is sustainable. The bi-directional data connection from having real-time monitoring also means we can slow down or stop charging during times of high network demand to avoid excessive generation or transmission costs, and even blackouts.
"We also have more confidence to deploy chargers because the CAT-M1 modems on our new models have a longer life span than the previous generation 2G and 3G connected units."
Tony Agar, Spark IoT Lead says the connection of the EV charging network to the extended IoT network has efficiency gains across the board.
"This brings together IoT networks, and smart EV technology to ensure more of New Zealand's power grid is working at peak performance. With the added IoT coverage, EV charging, and energy companies can take the data from even more of their public and residential chargers, and know where, and when to distribute energy more efficiently, creating a more sustainable operation.
"Research by the World Economic Forum has shown digital technology could help cut global carbon emissions by 15%. The move to IoT connectivity in this instance not only means EV charging companies like Evnex have more incentive and ability to service more rural areas, which will hopefully mean more EVs on our roads, and a decrease in carbon emissions. But it will also result in cost saving for these businesses, in tandem with giving the end user more control of how they manage their household energy use through being able to track their usage and cost through a mobile app."