Bayfair Shopping Centre is powering into a sustainable future with the installation of an electric car charging station.
The charging station will be unveiled tomorrow morning at 10 at the shopping centre by Tauranga MP and Transport Minister Simon Bridges.
We are getting involved early on the cusp of what will be a big change going forward.
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With a "build it and they will come" mindset Bayfair has installed two charging stations for electric vehicles. These stations, funded in partnership with Bay of Plenty Regional Council, can juice up an electric car in around six hours and are free of charge for Bayfair customers. There are also two charging points for mobility scooters.
In collaboration with PowerCo and Charge Net NZ, a user pays "fast" charger is also available, which can charge a car in 10 to 25 minutes. Tauranga will now light up on the electric vehicle charging network, adding to the growing national infrastructure.
Bayfair Centre manager Steve Ellingford said the centre was showing innovation and leadership.
"We are getting involved early on the cusp of what will be a big change going forward."
He said electric cars were the way of the future and it was only a matter of time before they took off.
"We're putting the charging station in because it will happen. The time is right, rather than doing it in two years' time when people start asking for it we want to have it here, already available.
The charging point is an added feature to Bayfair's increasing eco-friendliness. Over the years the business has worked to minimize water use and waste by installing a rain and greywater harvesting system in 2014 and reducing waste to landfill.
Hon Simon Bridges was buzzing over the new charging point.
Long-time proponent for the uptake of electric cars Mr Bridges said Bayfair showed "great vision".
"It takes courage and foresight to be the first to do something, it's incredibly smart too, I've got no doubt more will come.
"Cast forward quite a few years in New Zealand and there will be an electric car explosion."
Mr Bridges said the first signs were already showing, with numbers of electric vehicles in New Zealand more than doubling from 400 in 2014 to over 1000 last year.
He said this year was expected to see the same, as people start to understand the technology, the technology gets better and prices decrease.
Mr Bridges said while cars can charge at home, charging stations would help people get around "range anxiety".
Range anxiety is the fear that on a longer trip a vehicle might not have enough energy in the battery to get home.
"In those cases the Bayfair charging station can help you get around that," he said.
In the market for an electric car himself, Mr Bridges said New Zealand was the "most EV-ready country in the world."
New Nissan divisional manager at Farmer Autovillage Roger Matthews said electric cars were becoming more and more popular in Tauranga.
"It's absolutely the way of the future, it's a growth market."
In the last 12 months he said the dealership had sold eight electric cars.
"Supply has actually been the problem, if we had more electric cars we would probably sell a lot more."
Farmer Autovillage has a "juice point" for the public to charge their electric vehicles, free of charge, for a 6 hour full charge.
He said the fast chargers, which charged cars in 10 to 25 minutes, were only good to use every once in a while, as they essentially "force-feed" the battery, degrading it after time.