Wednesday, 19 April 2017 02:13

Spark installing electric vehicle chargers in Wellington

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New Zealand telco Spark is installing electric vehicle chargers in phone boxes around the city of Wellington as part of the extension of its “Spark Plugs” initiative.

The new lower power chargers will provide a “top up” of 20-40 kilometres from a 30-minute charge, depending on the car, and all chargers will be free for use.

Spark says the chargers will be installed and up and running in a few months’ time.

The deal sees each organisation funding 50% of the installation costs, while Spark covers the operational costs and Wellington City Council takes responsibility for the maintenance of the carparks.

According to Spark, the boost will help give electric vehicle drivers the confidence to go further and combat “range anxiety” – the fear that they won’t be able to reach or return from their destination, “one of the obstacles to widespread adoption of electric vehicles”.

Ed Hyde, Spark Ventures chief executive, said he was pleased that the Spark Plug network was expanding into the urban areas of a major New Zealand city.

“We’re pleased that the Spark Plug network is expanding and more people can now benefit from more available EV charging infrastructure. Overseas examples show us that it’s important to get a good mix of fast and low-power chargers to provide a range of options.

“We love that we’re able to innovatively repurpose some of our phone boxes, infrastructure considered by many to be a bit antiquated, into something that can help stimulate EV adoption and be useful to people every single day.”

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said, “I am so pleased to support Spark’s solution for delivering electric vehicle charging to help enhance Wellington’s electric vehicle uptake. We were always going to have to be more innovative in Wellington given we have such a compact city with less access to off street parking, and turning our phone boxes into chargers just makes sense.”

Spark says the final locations for the new plugs will be confirmed over the next couple of weeks, and installation will begin shortly afterwards.

They will also be listed on Plugshare – a crowdsourcing app that plots charging stations all over the world.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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