Masterton powers into the future

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Masterton has celebrated the opening of its first fast charge station for electric vehicles.

Masterton's first fast charge station is open for business.

The station, which has two designated charging bays and is located on Dixon Street opposite New World Supermarket, is a joint project between Powerco, ChargeNet NZ and Masterton District Council.

The official opening yesterday, at which Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson and Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott jointly cut the ribbon, celebrated the latest in a growing network of fast chargers that now enables those driving electric vehicles to travel the length of the country with ease.

It is the second charger for Wairarapa, the first having been opened in Featherston in November last year.

“We hope its installation will encourage more people to make the switch to electric vehicles which are cheaper, cleaner and quieter to run than traditional petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles,” says Eric Pellicer, Powerco Acting General Manager Electricity.

“With most electric vehicles taking six-to-eight hours to charge via a domestic power point, one of the challenges until now has been the ability to charge them when away from home, but fast charge stations like this one can charge a vehicle in less than 25 minutes.”

Transport is responsible for 44% of New Zealand’s carbon dioxide emissions and around 16% of total greenhouse gas emissions. With 80% of New Zealand’s electricity supply generated from renewable resources, as a country we are in the perfect position to make a real difference - and Powerco is proud to play its part, Mr Pellicer adds.

“A positive spin-off of these charging stations is the tourism they can bring to a town, putting it on the map for electric vehicle owners, the number of which will only grow,” he says.

“We commend the foresight of the Masterton District Council in working with Powerco and ChargeNet NZ to power Masterton into the future.”

The Masterton fast charge station will be the seventh opened by Powerco and ChargeNet NZ, who opened another fast charge station together in Mangaweka on the same day.

ChargeNet NZ Chief Executive Steve West says: “We are delighted to be officially opening two more chargers on the same day with Powerco and appreciate the significant work they are doing to help us provide EV infrastructure in this region. EV fast chargers are expensive to install. Often this is a collaborative effort between several parties so we would like to acknowledge the support of Masterton District Council in helping this come to fruition.”            

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson says: “It’s fantastic to have this new charge station here in Masterton and Council has been fully supportive ever since the idea was first suggested. Electric vehicles are undoubtedly the way of the future and it won’t be long before we start to see more and more of them, so facilities like this will become essential for our community.”

Amongst those attending the opening was electric vehicle owner Sonia Boyd, who is waging a one-woman campaign to raise awareness about electric vehicles.

Ms Boyd is one of only a handful of electric vehicle owners in Masterton (she only knows of two others).

On a an invalid benefit, in a wheelchair and without a garage at her Colombo Road home, Mrs Boyd says if she can make the switch to an electric vehicle, anyone can.

Mrs Boyd was so passionate that she sold her van and had a power point installed on the exterior of her house, fashioning a lockable ‘security box’ out of an aluminium mailbox.

Small but nippy, her Nissan Leaf can also accommodate her wheelchair, which she attaches to the back.

Charging her car often becomes an exercise in public education, with plenty of questions asked – which she is more than happy to answer.

“I wanted to make a difference to the environment and to my wallet. I am saving about $40 a week, compared to driving a petrol-fuelled car, and I am proud to be doing my bit towards a cleaner, greener future,” she says.

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