March 24, 2016 at 11:28 pm #11862
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Charge Net chief executive Steve West at the opening of Wellington’s first fast charging electric vehicle station at Z Vivian Street.
Four years ago, Charge Net NZ chief executive Steve West drove an Aston Martin and a Ferrari.
Now he owns four electric cars, and sleeps better at night.
West’s Auckland-based company has partnered with Z Energy to roll out six fast charging stations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Wellington’s was unveiled on Thursday – the first fast charging station for the city. Z Energy and Charge Net also installed a fast charging station at Z Petone.
The station will charge a Nissan Leaf from empty to full in as little as 20 minutes. That’ll take you about 120 kilometres.
A charge cost about $15-$20, Z Energy sustainability manager Gerri Ward said, but she expected people would mostly use the charging station to top up, rather than fill up.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown officially opened the Wellington station and said she’d love to see more spring up in farther-flung places such as Upper Hutt and Featherston.
“If we are going to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, electric vehicles are a huge part of the answer.”
As of February this year, there were 128 electric vehicles registered in Wellington, Wade-Brown said.
West said the uptake was happening so quickly around the country that his company believed, if it built the infrastructure, the electric vehicles would come.
“We don’t want any barriers to people driving electric cars.”
As well as the high price of EVs, which is predicted to gradually come down, anxiety about how far they could travel on one charge was a barrier to many people, West said.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re building our network of charging stations, so they can drive all over the country and never be caught without a charge.”
The Green Party has said Transport Minister Simon Bridges has been stalling on releasing an electric vehicle policy for New Zealand.
“It does say something about government leadership when it’s left to oil companies to provide electric chargers,” Greens energy and resources spokesman Gareth Hughes said.
Bridges was invited to the opening, but did not attend. He said in a statement: “It’s clear that EVs are the future, and we know that increasing public charging infrastructure is one way to help boost uptake.
“The Government has been looking at a number of ways we can support the uptake of EVs, and an announcement will be made in due course.”
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