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Palmerston North Electric Vehicle Fast Charger Opens

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The much-anticipated opening of Palmerston North's first fast charge electric vehicle station will take place on Friday [Nov 25].

The charge station, located on The Square between Broadway Avenue and Main Street, is a joint project between Powerco and ChargeNet NZ, in collaboration with Palmerston North City Council.

The first ‘plug-in’ will be carried out by Palmerston North City Councillor Brent Barrett, who is responsible for portfolios of transport and environmental and sustainability.

“The Council is pleased to be collaborating with ChargeNet and PowerCo on this project. As a transport hub, transitioning to clean energy vehicles offers the Manawatu a win:win for economic and environmental wellbeing,” he says.

Mr Barrett is also the proud owner of an electric vehicle.

“Locally there is growing interest in electric vehicles as safe, climate-friendly cars that are fun to drive. We congratulate ChargeNet for its pioneering initiative, and look forward to the rapid expansion of the network in New Zealand,” he says.

“The Manawatu is one of the most active regions in the country in terms of embracing electric vehicles, something of which it can be rightfully proud,” says Powerco chief executive Nigel Barbour.

“The Palmerston North station is an important link in a growing nationwide network of fast chargers and will be a game-changer for both local and visiting electric vehicle owners.”

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, adds Mr Barbour.

“We hope the charger will encourage even more people to make the switch to electric vehicles, which are cheaper, cleaner and quieter to run than traditional petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles. With most electric vehicles taking six to eight hours to charge via a domestic power point, one of the challenges until now has been the ability to charge them when away from home, but fast charge stations like this one can charge a vehicle in less than 25 minutes,” he says.

The Palmerston North fast charge station will be the fourth opened this year by Powerco and ChargeNet NZ, who are opening another fast charge station together in Featherston on the same day.

ChargeNet NZ is the operator of the only nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations in New Zealand, having opened fast charge stations the length of the country in collaboration with a number of electricity suppliers.

This week will also see ChargeNet NZ open a fast charge station in Napier, another key link-up point for the North Island.

Charge Net Chief Executive Steve West says it’s “incredibly exciting” to see how far New Zealand has come with charging infrastructure.

“We have more fast chargers than Australia, and that growth curve is showing no signs of slowing.  We are working closely with wonderful and forward thinking companies like Powerco and BMW, alongside national and local government,” says Mr West.

“This is another step to make full energy independence a reality for New Zealand. The Palmerston North charging station is another important addition to ChargeNet’s growing network.”

The first vehicle to be officially plugged in at the Palmerston North fast charger will be a BMW i3.

Parked up alongside it will be a much older model, a 1916 electric car from the Detroit Electric Company, owned by Palmerston North vintage and classic car enthusiast Brian Rankine.

Although not currently in working order, the vehicle, which is that depicted as the car driven by Disney’s Grandma Duck character, will provide a striking contrast in illustrating how far electric vehicles have progressed over the past century.

“Electric vehicles are as old as petrol vehicles. In fact Henry Ford’s wife Clara drove one, preferring it over the Model T,” explains Mr Rankine.

“But they had a limited range and speed and in the 20th Century there was a move away from them. With advances in modern technology, it is now coming full circle,” he says.

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