The rEVolution is Here: Unison’s ‘Power Park’ Kept Busy by Hawke’s Bay EV Owners

June 10, 2016 04:11 PM
EV owner Peter Free charges up in the Hastings District Council car park
Two weeks after its launch, Hawke’s Bay electric vehicle (EV) owners are making the most of Unison’s public fast-charging station.

Electric vehicle owner and GHD civil engineer, Peter Free has used the Hastings’ Queen Street West ‘Power Park’ a handful of times in the past two weeks.

“The charging station is located just a block away from our office. So a couple of times a week, it’s my first stop on the way to work,” says the BMW i3 owner.

The ‘Power Park’ charging station, which was installed in partnership with the Hastings District Council, has delivered 92kWh of electricity since it was put in place. This would allow an average electric vehicle to drive 620km from the station all the way to Whangarei.

Peter says it takes him around 20 minutes to charge his EV’s battery to 80 percent. He thinks that while perceptions about charging time and driving range might put some off buying EVs, it has not been an issue for him.

“Once you have your head around charging, it’s not a problem. Particularly, now that rapid charge stations like this are becoming more widespread. And, when we charge it at home, we just plug it in and leave it overnight. It’s as easy as shutting the garage door and arguably easier than filling up at a petrol station, not to mention a lot cheaper.” 

Peter estimates that he will save over $3,500 in fuel each year from his EV plus other savings, such as lower servicing costs.

As for concerns about driving range, Peter uses the vehicle during the working week for his 95 kilometre round trip from Kairakau to Hastings and says the car has driven about 4,000 kilometres since he bought it two months ago. This included driving from Wellington to Hastings.

While cost efficiency and the environmental benefits were appealing, Peter says his main interest in the BMW i3 was the technology behind it.

“I am fascinated by technology. This vehicle has self-parking and adaptive cruise control. You can also manage things like charging and heating the car from your phone.”

Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland says the Company was pleased EV owners like Peter were making the most of Unison’s ‘Power Park’.

"We are really pleased with the uptake given Hastings only has around 20 electric vehicle owners. It’s our role to provide efficient network solutions for our customers and installing fast charging stations in our network regions is part of that solution.”
Mayor of Hastings, Lawrence Yule, is pleased awareness of the facility in Hastings is gaining traction.

“This is a fantastic facility for Hastings and we expect to see significant uptake in the Hastings City charge station as more people select electric vehicles as their preferred transportation.”

Unison’s electric vehicle charging station is free to use until 1 September 2016, and 40c/minute thereafter, so a typical charge for 20-30 minutes will cost $8.00-$12.00.

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.