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Wairarapa charging up for electric cars

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

Wairarapa will soon be home to a new rapid charger for electric cars, with one due to be installed in Featherston within a month.

The charger, priced at around $50,000, will charge an electric vehicle’s battery to 80 per cent within 15-25 minutes, allowing the vehicle to then go on and cover approximately 80km.

It will be located at the rear of the Trust House-owned Super Value carpark, and will cost $8-10 to use.

Funding the charger is Charge Net New Zealand, a privately owned company rolling out a network of electric vehicle fast chargers nationwide.

Within the past year they have set up 18 stations, with Featherston’s being the 19th.

The company’s chief operating officer, Nick Smith, said the goal was to have 100 charging stations set up around the country over the next two years.

“It’s an investment in the future because we believe electric vehicles are going to take off in New Zealand and the existence of a rapid charging network is one of the reasons that there will be uptake in electric vehicles.

“So it’s a ‘build it and they will come’ sort of situation.”

Mr Smith said everywhere fast chargers had been installed, the local communities had got on board with the vehicles which do not require any petrol.

The installation of the Featherston charger was initiated by South Wairarapa District councillor Colin Olds, who approached Charge Net NZ.

As a former motor mechanic and car dealership owner, Mr Olds has a keen interest in motor vehicles.

“Electric vehicles have been around since 1909 believe it or not.

“You could jump into a 1909 vehicle and the driver could turn the key and drive away, but that technology didn’t evolve much beyond that because some bright spark invented the starter motor,” he said.

“The electric vehicle technology faded into the background and it’s only recently over issues of climate change and issues surrounding the environment that it’s starting to fly above the radar again.”

Mr Olds attended the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Wellington last month.

“I went along to represent the SWDC to work with the group to see what the possibilities were for the future of electric vehicles in Wairarapa.”

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