Napier EV drivers able to charge up at city 'Power Park'

FUTURE: Ken Sutherland, CEO of Unison Networks, says the new electric vehicles' power park in Napier is all about facilitating 'customers' energy choices'. PHOTO FILE
FUTURE: Ken Sutherland, CEO of Unison Networks, says the new electric vehicles' power park in Napier is all about facilitating 'customers' energy choices'. PHOTO FILE

Electric vehicles (EVs) can now charge up in Napier, with Unison launching the city's first public fast-charging station yesterday.

The "Power Park", which is located in the Dickens St public car park, next to the Quest Hotel, has been installed in partnership with the Napier City Council.

The charging station forms part of Unison's wider project to support EV uptake across its network with chargers already installed in Hastings, Rotorua and a fourth planned for Taupo.

Unison Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland said, "As part of supporting new technologies, it's our role to provide infrastructure like this to facilitate our customers' energy choices.

"EVs are becoming increasingly affordable. They cost less than a third to run and are cheaper to maintain than cars with combustion engines, all of which make them an appealing option.

"With the Hastings and Rotorua chargers being used more than expected, I am confident we will see a positive uptake in Napier too."

Napier mayor Bill Dalton said the council supported Unison's vision and saw EVs as an important part of the region's transport future.

"While it's still early days for EVs in Napier, we want to support Napier residents and visitors who currently use them and those who will in the future.

"EVs produce no emissions, and because around 80 per cent of New Zealand's electricity is produced from renewable energy, charging an EV is clean as well as cheap."

Mr Dalton said the council introduced EVs into its fleet this year and is already seeing the financial and environmental benefits.

"The staff who use them find them enjoyable to drive too," he says.

Mr Sutherland says those who want to find out more about EVs are invited to an EV meet-up on Thursday, November 24 from 5pm at the Dickens St charger.

"We want to offer people who haven't experienced an EV the chance to get inside one, ask questions and find out what they are all about."

There will be a range of EVs at the meet-up, such as the Tesla S, BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, and Renault Kangoo van.

The meet-up is being organised with Charge Net NZ who are unveiling several more DC fast chargers across the country next week as part of establishing a nationwide network.

The Napier Power Park is free to use until April 1, 2017, and thereafter, a typical charge will cost around $8. The same pricing will apply, after introductory free-use periods, to Unison's fast chargers in Hastings and Rotorua.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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