The future is looking bright for electric vehicles in Rotorua, with an inner-city charging station used more than 350 times in its first four months.
In September power company Unison launched its fast-charging station, "Unison Power Park", for electric vehicles in the Haupapa St carpark.
Unison relationship manager Danny Gough said electric vehicle drivers were making the most of the station.
"Usage is above what we expected to see, given it's early days for electric vehicle adoption in both Rotorua and nationally," Mr Gough said.
"We regularly see multiple charging sessions each day. During the holiday period usage has been even higher, with up to seven charging sessions a day."
The power park was initiated with the support of the Rotorua Lakes Council which allocated the site.
Council sustainable economic development portfolio lead Tania Tapsell said it was awesome to see growing interest in electric vehicles in Rotorua.
Miss Tapsell said the council did not have any electric vehicles at present due to cost, but with the growth of hybrids and electric vehicles it was eagerly watching to see when they would become more affordable.
"It is a key priority [of the council's] to reduce fossil fuels and create a sustainable and environmentally-friendly city. At the end of the day it's our future."
Mr Gough said the future for electric vehicle adoption in Rotorua was bright.
"We believe demand for charging stations will continue to grow. We will continue to work with the Rotorua Lakes Council to provide support for electric vehicle uptake in the region and to support the council's sustainability strategy."
While the power park is free at present, users will have to pay 40 cents per kWh from February 1.
According to Unison a typical charge for 20 minutes will cost $8.
Mr Gough said they did expect the charges to lead to a drop in use in the near future.
"Fast-chargers work in conjunction with at-home or at-work charging and are most suited to top-ups between charges or for in-transit purposes. Longer-term usage is expected to increase as the number of vehicles increases."
Mr Gough said the number of vehicles in Rotorua was expected to increase as price fell.
"Within the next five to 10 years, electric vehicles are predicted to be the same price or less than the cost of petrol or diesel options. This price parity, combined with increased battery performance, will be the tipping point for widespread uptake of electric vehicles.
"With the Government aiming to double the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand each year to reach approximately 64,000 by 2021, and their environmental benefits, they are the way of the future."