INDEPENDENT NEWS

Remote charging removes roadblocks for Electric Vehicles

Published: Wed 3 Jul 2019 04:58 PM
Fiordland, the West Coast and Aoraki Mount Cook National Park can now be easily reached by electric vehicles thanks to the installation of three new remote public charging stations.
Located in Mount Cook Village, Franz Josef and Te Anau, the stations were installed by Meridian Energy and YHA New Zealand as part of the government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) which aims to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand. This project will also address charging gaps in the roading network.
Previously, the nearest public charging stations were 65km away from Mt Cook, 138km away from Franz Josef and 79km away from Te Anau. Standard EVs have a range of approximately 160km, which has made these destinations difficult to explore.
Meridian’s Emerging Markets Team Manager Tim Calder says a lack of public charging in the past means electric vehicle drivers may have avoided visiting these areas.
“People can now drive from Hokitika, all the way to Franz Josef and even further south using fast, public charging. They can also base themselves in Te Anau and explore Fiordland with the knowledge that they can plug in again on their return.”
“We know demand for EVs is growing from visitors to New Zealand as well as people who live here, so making these areas more accessible will mean a huge difference for tourists and tourism operators,” Calder says.
Chief Executive of YHA New Zealand Mark Wells says there is a call out all over the world for businesses and individuals to recognise the climate crisis and take action. "As one of the few carboNZero certified accommodation networks in the world, YHA New Zealand is committed to investing in opportunities that deliver a better environmental outcome.”
“The provision of EV charging stations in our remotest locations is a future-focused investment as we embrace the expected rise of electric vehicles each year. Working with Meridian to achieve this outcome has been fantastic and we are delighted to be involved with the project," Mr Wells says.
At 759 meters above sea level, the Mount Cook charging station is also New Zealand’s highest, and the first to be installed in a South Island National Park. Calder says all three stations were installed using contestable funding from EECA, with YHA and Meridian sharing the balance of costs.
“This model shows we can partner with businesses almost anywhere in the country to ensure they’re set up to cater for electric vehicles, or to convert their own fleet to electric.”
“We’re looking forward to partnering with more businesses to remove the last roadblocks to electric vehicles using New Zealand’s entire roading network,” Calder says.

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