Electric vehicles will now be able to charge up in Rotorua's central business district.

This week power company Unison launches their fast-charging station for electric vehicles in Rotorua's central city.

The "Unison Power Park" can be found in the Haupapa St car park opposite the library building.

It has been initiated with the support of the Rotorua Lakes Council, which allocated the site.


Councillor Janet Wepa said the new charging station was great.

She said the council developed and encouraged the initiative under her Sustainable Living portfolio.

"Over time we want to move away from fossil fuels - we want to encourage electric vehicles. We want to support and encourage the choice of people to have electric vehicles. However we can't support without charging stations being available.

"If you provide the option, people will come."

While figures weren't available for the number of electric or hybrid vehicles locally, Mrs Wepa said she did not believe there were a lot of electric vehicles in Rotorua.

The council currently had no electric vehicles in their fleet but were keenly looking into the option, potentially trailing two to three vehicles she said.

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"We want to make sure the price is cost-effective first."

The electric vehicle charging station will be free to use until February 2017, when it will cost 40 cents per minute.

According to Unison a typical charge for 20 minutes will cost $8.00.

Unison Group chief executive, Ken Sutherland said Unison's focus was on supporting customers with their energy choices, in line with the government's recent package.

"We see ourselves playing a role in supporting new technologies by researching and providing infrastructure solutions, such as this electric vehicle charging station, to facilitate our customers' energy choices now and into the future."

In May the government announced its Electric Vehicles Programme. Its aim is to increase the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand.

This includes the target of doubling the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand every year to reach approximately 64,000 by 2021.

"With improvements in battery technology continuing to extend the driving range - over 400km in some vehicle models. At less than a third of the cost to run, all these factors make electric vehicles an appealing option for the every-day commuter, and those needing to get around locally."

Mrs Wepa said the location on Haupapa St sounded like a good spot and looked forward to seeing if it was well-utilised.