Driving and charging EVs between Auckland and Waikato just became a lot easier with the introduction of a new service.

Counties Power and WEL Networks now both offer OpenLoop, an open EV charging platform and app that enables a seamless recharging experience across various EV charging locations.

Under the joint initiative, the neighbouring electricity distributors now offer OpenLoop across their regions with an initial 40 chargers in Southern Auckland and Waikato. It is also available to all other network companies and EV drivers.

Counties Power chief executive Judy Nicholl says the initiative demonstrates how electricity distribution companies can pave the way for the electricity industry and ultimately unlocks greater benefits for consumers.

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"We're excited that along with WEL Networks, we can offer a seamless, customer-centric EV charging service for our regions that will benefit EV drivers and EV charger owners.

"OpenLoop offers EV users a choice in the market, something we know is a positive for the customer from a service and price perspective. Great service and innovative pricing models will ensure a fair and transparent charging process that encourages greater use of EVs."

Electric cars were a popular attraction at last year's Frankton Thunder charity car event. Photo / Peter Tiffany
Electric cars were a popular attraction at last year's Frankton Thunder charity car event. Photo / Peter Tiffany

"With plans to add more EV chargers, the OpenLoop platform will allow an open, cost-effective billing system for other electricity distribution businesses (EDBs) and EV charger owners who would like to generate greater value through the growing ecosystem."

WEL Networks chief executive Garth Dibley says the initiative provides them with the ability to offer the region a superior service.

"As a consumer-owned EDB, OpenLoop presents an opportunity to deliver charging cost effectively to EV users, while also creating sustainability outcomes that benefit our community.

"This is a smart and simple solution that ticks all the boxes for fast, hassle-free and cost-effective charging. We look forward to piloting the platform across the WEL network with more than 700 EV owners."

While the initial OpenLoop launch is across the Counties Power and WEL Networks regions, discussions are under way with network companies around the country which will launch their own customer-centric EV charging service via OpenLoop within their regions.

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OpenLoop app users will have a live view of available EV charging stations nearby, be able to pay for EV charger use and keep track of EV charging history via the app.

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There's no need to even touch the charger aside from plugging it into your vehicle - the app does it all for you.

OpenLoop is a service developed by Wellington-based firm ECL Group. The app service on WEL Networks and Counties Power EV chargers started last week.

The free OpenLoop app is available via app stores. More information here.