Steve and Dee West Outstanding Contributors


Two of the founders of the Better NZ Trust, Steve and Dee West, were recognised at EV World 2018 for the outstanding work they have put into the EV space in New Zealand.


Indeed, it is truthful to say that our EV Industry would be in a similar uncoordinated position to Australia's EV sector if it were not for the tireless work that Dee West put in, promoting EV during the pioneering days, and the huge commitment that Steve West promised via ChargeNet NZ. Their combined teamwork created the initial market for EVs, stimulating importers and auto manufacturers to market their products in the country. Just a few years ago, household surveys showed that there was very little knowledge about EV and that at most they were a thing of the future and more likely were funny little vehicles reserved for the golf course.  Whereas a recent nationwide survey has found that 46% of households are considering purchasing an EV for their next vehicle. Dee's PR campaign has educated the NZ public, brought international wins to our notice, and created a buzz - without doubt created the industry.

Steve West said at EV World that ChargeNet has tripled in size annually since it began in early 2015. His family-owned network of Rapid chargers have created the safety net that many early adopters required in order to commit to EV. ChargeNet also hosts chargers that belong to other entities, enabling customers to have one seamless account wherever they go in NZ. ChargeNet have celebrated their 100th charger installation last week, meaning they are just five chargers away from the promised 105 by the end of 2018. There's no sign of them stopping there though, and recently ChargeNet have been busy installing Type 2 AC chargers in city centres, where off-street parking is difficult. Steve announced at EVWorld his intention to install ultra-fast chargers which could give a car like the new Porsche Taycan 400km in 15 minutes. Or fill a compatible med-range car in the same time as it takes to fill with petrol.

Having had the privilege to work for the Wests, I can testify first hand to the hours and energy they put into the sector, the personal money that they contribute, the tears, the wins and their enthusiasm for electric vehicles. 

Judges and transport experts Mike Underhill, Stella Stocks and Elizabeth Yeaman agreed that New Zealand would not have 9000 electric vehicles (EVs) in the fleet without the commitment and passion the Wests have put into the New Zealand EV community.  

Although Dee's commitments to too many other projects mean she is no longer a trustee of the Better NZ Trust, Steve and fellow founder, Carl Barlev, are still active trustees. Dee was recently in Scotland figuratively holding the flag for NZ, at the opening ceremony for Dundee's new EV charging hub. Celebrated battery expert, Dr Euan McTurk says: "Dee's energy and passion for the cause is unparalleled, not least to have hopped on a plane and flown halfway across the world to give a presentation at the conference before the opening ceremony!"

Dundee's EV Charging Hub: 6 triple headed rapid chargers, 3x 22kW Type 2 posts, solar canopies and a grid storage battery using 2nd life Renault Zoe packs

Similarly, Steve is often away from his desk presenting or attending events across the world, most notably recently at Portland, USA Roadmap Conference. It was after attending Roadmap a few years ago that he came up with the concept of NZ holding its very own conference. And now, thanks to Conferenz, we have all completed our second year of this very worthwhile event.

Other winners at EV World 2018 were:

Small-Med Enterprise-EV: EVs Enhanced (Christchurch)

EV Fleet Champion: Foodstuffs NZ

Most EV Friendly Town of the Year: Whangarei

EV Sector Sales and Service Champion: GVI Electric (Auckland)

EV Champion: Martin Kane (Timaru)

On behalf of the Trustees, Better NZ Trust wishes to congratulate all the winners, especially Steve and Dee West and the team at ChargeNet NZ. 

The Better NZ Trust is a politically neutral charitable trust, whose current aim is to promote electric vehicles by getting people into EVs to experience them, education, and supporting volunteers across the country to do the same. NZ will truly be a better place, if we remove fossil fuels from our transport sector.

We look forward to EV World South at Wigram Air Force Museum, Christchurch on 23 November 2018.

Kathryn Trounson (Chair), Sean Dick (Treasurer), Sigurd Magnusson, Carl Barlev, (and Steve West)


[Rachelle Tilsley - Better NZ Trust - 14 Aug 18]

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