Unison has this week launched the first of its public fast-charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in the Hastings CBD, with a further three to be installed across Napier, Taupo and Rotorua.
The first Unison ‘Power Park’ has been installed in partnership with the Hastings District Council, which provided a space for the charging station in its Queen Street West public car park.
Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland said Unison’s focus was on supporting customers with their energy choices, in line with the Government’s recent package to support electric vehicle uptake.
"We see ourselves playing a role in supporting new technologies by researching and providing infrastructure solutions, and by making sure our customers have the information they need to make informed decisions.
“It’s our role to provide efficient network solutions, such as this electric vehicle charging station, to facilitate our customers’ energy choices.”
The importance of providing infrastructure for electric vehicles was a vision shared by the region’s local council partners.
Hastings Mayor, Lawrence Yule, said the Council believed electric vehicles would be part of the region’s transport future, and was happy to partner with Unison to provide a public charging station.
“It’s early days for electric vehicle adoption in Hawke’s Bay and the country. The purpose of this initiative is to show our community that electric vehicles are an affordable and viable alternative and we encourage people to consider an electric vehicle as their future mode of transport.
“Hastings District Council purchased an electric vehicle this year, which the Parking Team use daily and are finding it to be a cost effective, environmentally friendly alternative to a petrol vehicle, as well as a great car to drive.”
Mr Sutherland said Unison was working with the councils of Napier, Rotorua and Taupo to install public fast-charging stations within respective CBD’s by the end of 2016.
"Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly affordable, with improvements in battery technology continuing to extend the driving range – over 400km in some vehicle models. At less than a third of the cost to run, all these factors make electric vehicles an appealing option for the every-day commuter.
“By continuing to work with partners like local councils, industry partners, and other charging station providers, the options for public electric vehicle charging will continue to grow both locally and nation-wide, supporting customers to choose this environmentally friendly technology of the future."
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment recently endorsed a report by Concept Consulting which stated for consumers wishing to ‘spend money on new technologies to deliver environmental benefits, by far the biggest emissions saving can be achieved from investing in EVs’.
Unison’s electric vehicle charging station would be free to use until 1 September 2016, and 40c/minute thereafter, so a typical charge for 20 minutes will cost $8.00.
Those interested in learning more about electric vehicles or Unison’s Power Park charging stations can visit its website at www.unison.co.nz/electric-vehicle-charging.