Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland, said the company is thrilled its project to create an EV highway between Taupo and Napier has been conditionally approved for funding from the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund.
Following today’s announcement by Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins, Unison will receive Government support to install two fast chargers on the ‘Thermal Explorer Highway’ route between Taupo and Napier.
“The Napier-Taupo highway is a key transport link between Central North Island and Hawke’s Bay, and a popular tourist route,” said Mr Sutherland.
“This project will mean EV drivers – residents and visitors alike - won’t have to worry about finding a charging station along the 140 km stretch of road. This is great news for our network regions.”
Unison has been active in supporting the uptake of EVs. It has recently committed to converting 30 percent of its corporate fleet to electric vehicles in the next three years, and commissioned three charging stations across its network last year.
“We’ve been really happy with the uptake of our existing charging stations,” said Mr Sutherland.
“Just over six months after the first Power Park was launched, collectively the chargers have had over 800 fast-charging sessions in total and delivered 7,300 kWh of electricity.
“And we think the future is looking bright for EVs, particularly now that infrastructure like this is being put in place.
“They are becoming increasingly affordable. They cost less than a third to run than petrol or diesel vehicles, they’re powered by our renewable electricity supply and produce no emissions. EVs just make sense,” he said.
Mr Sutherland said the company planned to commission the two charging stations along the Napier-Taupo Road by June, and also has another planned for Taupo this year.