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EV fast charger drives even greener future in the Coromandel

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Thames, a town whose history is steeped in gold mining, transport and grass-roots industry, will this week step into a greener future with the opening of its first electric vehicle fast charging station.

The charge station, a joint project between Powerco and Charge Net NZ, in collaboration with the Thames-Coromandel District Council, will be opened by Minister of Transport Simon Bridges on Friday.

Situated in the Thames Library car park, the installation of the fast charge station is a significant milestone for a community with a strong environmental focus.

“We know the Thames and wider Coromandel community has been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new charging station in Thames and are confident it will be well utilised,” says Powerco chief executive Nigel Barbour.

“The Coromandel is a stunning part of the world and those who live here are passionate about preserving its natural beauty. Powerco is proud to be supporting the community in its endeavours to safeguard the environment for future generations.”

Transport is responsible for 44% of New Zealand’s carbon dioxide emissions and around 16% of total greenhouse gas emissions. With 80% of New Zealand’s electricity supply generated from renewable resources, as a country we are in the perfect position to make a real difference, says Mr Barbour.

With the Coromandel being a popular holiday destination for both New Zealanders and overseas visitors, the fast charge station will be a welcome addition to the local tourism industry, he adds.

“Thames is a critical connection point between Auckland and the Bay of Plenty. It’s over 250km between Auckland and Tauranga, which is outside the range of your average electric vehicle. A quick, convenient option is needed between these two points and Thames is the ideal location,” says Mr Barbour.

The user-pays fast DC charger unit provides an 80% charge in 10 to 25 minutes and will be able to be accessed via an RFID card, which drivers tap against the charging unit to activate, or via a smart phone app.

It is the third of at least five planned for this year by Powerco and Charge Net NZ, who opened fast chargers in Tauranga and New Plymouth in March.

Charge Net NZ is the operator of the only nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations in New Zealand.

Charge Net Chief Executive Steve West says the Thames fast charging station is significant in that it opens up all of the Coromandel, greater Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions for entry level electric vehicles.

“Thames is the gateway to the Coromandel, and my wife’s New Zealand hometown. This station has special significance to Charge Net NZ, and we are so grateful to Thames-Coromandel District Council and Powerco for working tirelessly with us to get it in.”

Greg Hampton, Thames area manager for the Thames-Coromandel District Council, says the charger is a great asset for Thames and the entire Coromandel.

“Not only does it allow local EV owners to charge up their vehicles incredibly quickly, but it means people from outside the district can reach the Coromandel in their electric car knowing a fast, reliable re-charge is readily available,” he says.

The Thames fast charger opening falls during International Drive Electric Week, a worldwide celebration to raise awareness of the availability and benefits of electric vehicles, with more than 50 events happening throughout New Zealand.

Amongst those attending the Thames fast charger launch are local EV enthusiasts, with an array of electric vehicles expected.

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