New Zealand's first on-road, solar-powered electric vehicle charger - the ‘Electric Station' - is now open to the public thanks to the collaborative and community-focused effort of local project partners.
Located on The Strand, Tauranga, the EV charger has two allocated car parks and draws energy from 18 solar panels.
When insufficient solar-power is generated, the grid provides back-up power, with any excess solar power being fed back into the grid.
“The Strand was selected as a high-profile location in the heart of the Tauranga CBD where we could prioritize support for EVs and demonstrate the use of solar technology,” says Mayor Greg Brownless.
The charger also features a unique display unit, which shows users how much electricity is being generated from the sun, and how much is coming from the grid.
Powerco general manager Andrew McLeod says solar power combined with low-emission vehicles are a ‘win-win' for New Zealand.
“This is the first roadside PV-assisted charger in New Zealand. It's a great sign of the collaboration of all the partners on this project. It's taken a lot of innovation, dedication, and sheer effort to get this going.”
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges was at today's unveiling of the station. As an electric vehicle driver himself, he's understandably thrilled with The Strand's new addition.
“I'm incredibly excited about electric vehicles. I think they're the future, and the future is here now. I've found them faster, quieter, and cheaper. They're superior in every way.
“I think, no doubt, very soon we'll see all manner of people with EVs wanting to use the charging station.”
The total value of the project is around $130,000. Of this $54,000 was donated by the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust, towards building the solar canopy
The Electric Station will provide free power (capped at $5000) for the first year thanks to Trustpower and free parking (up to 2 hours) thanks to Tauranga City Council.
For more information about the Electric Station, specifications and background, visit www.tauranga.govt.nz and search for ‘electric vehicles'.