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As more car companies add electric vehicles to their fleets and more Kiwi private buyers take interest in them, the need to charge the cars is also in demand.
The number of public charging stations has been limited but companies such as Mighty River Power are helping access them.
The company has opened charging stations in Auckland’s CBD at the Downtown carpark in conjunction with Auckland Transport.
The two spots are located at ground level and it takes up to four hours to fully charge a vehicle.
“What we’re excited about is that it’s the first Auckland CBD public charging infrastructure to be put in so awareness is pretty important for these things and also for people to charge up for free when they’re parking,” Mighty River Power chief executive Fraser Whineray told Driven.
Mighty River Power recently announced 70 per cent of its 100-strong fleet will be electric vehicles by 2018 as leases roll off; so far it has added 20.
The main fleet are the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Nissan Leaf; there’s also an Audi A3 e-tron, a Holden Volt and a BMW i3.
Mighty River Power has 40 non-public charging stations at its buildings around the country to support its fleet, Whineray says.
Whineray has swapped his own petrol Outlander for a PHEV, which he charges overnight at his home using a unit that automatically turns on at off-peak via an app on his phone.
“The average [visit to service stations] is once a month, filling up 35 litres because that’s the tank size. I went to the service station the other week and realised I hadn’t been in three months.”
Whineray is a vocal advocate for electric vehicles.
“Shifting all our cars in New Zealand to electricity would save more than three billion litres of imported fossil fuel, more than $4 billion at the pump, every year,” he has said.
“That fuel bill is more than three times the size of our annual wine exports or about half of New Zealand’s total tourism earnings. And it’s all paid for in hard-won Kiwi cash.
“As a country we can strengthen the resilience of the economy and energy independence.”