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Invercargill's first public electric vehicle charging station opens


Invercargill's first public electric vehicle charging station is up and running as the way we use energy continues to change.

A joint project between PowerNet and Auckland-based Charge Net NZ, the station - located at 116 Esk St near the Invercargill City Council - can be used by anyone with an electric vehicle.

PowerNet chief executive Jason Franklin said: "We envisage some major changes taking place as more people transition from fossil fuel vehicles to electric".

"Two key elements of growth in electric vehicle uptake in New Zealand are the increase in fleet purchasing and growth in fast- charging infrastructure" he said.

Electric-charging-stationThe station can provide an 80 per cent charge for a vehicle in 10 to 25 minutes through a plug-in DC charger.

Drivers can then activate and access the charger network through an RFID card they tap against the charging unit.

They can also access the network through a smartphone app.

Use of the station costs 25c per minute, as well as 25c per kilowatt- hour of power generated.

Invercargill's charging station opening comes amid plans by Charge Net to open more than 100 electric vehicle charging stations throughout New Zealand in three years.

Chief executive Steve West said his company wanted to accelerate the switch from traditional combustion-engine vehicles to electric. The charging station made electric vehicles a "viable option" for people living in or passing through Invercargill, he said.

PowerNet general manager for business support Tim Brown said he believed there were several different markets for electric vehicles in Southland and New Zealand, including the tourism industry.

The station was officially opened yesterday by Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie.

The event also saw the arrival of five electric vehicles that have been on a nationwide road trip from Cape Reinga to Bluff to promote electric vehicle usage.

The vehicles - a Tesla Model S P90, a Tesla Model S P85+, Tesla Model S 85 (LHD), Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV and a BMW i3 plug-in hybrid SUV - began their journey on April 6.

Although about 80 per cent of New Zealand's energy comes from renewable sources, transportation is responsible for nearly half of carbon dioxide emissions and nearly 20 per cent of all of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.

Fast facts: Public electric vehicle charging station opening in Invercargill

17 - percentage of total greenhouse gas emissions produced by transport
44 - percentage of carbon dioxide emissions produced by transport
80 - percentage of energy in New Zealand that comes from renewable sources
116 Esk St - location of station
1124 - number of registered electric vehicles in New Zealand as of March 2016