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Coromandel takes ‘green’ to the next level

08 December 2017

The Coromandel will tomorrow (9 December) celebrate the opening of a ‘scenic touring loop’ for electric vehicles, consisting of five fast charge stations, that link up almost the entire district.

EVs at the Woollams Ave car park fast charging station in Coromandel Town

(A Tesla and a Nissan Leaf electric vehicles parked at the Coromandel Town EV fast charging station, at the Woollams Ave car park)

The chargers, which can charge an electric vehicle in about 20 minutes, have been installed at Thames, Tairua, Whitianga, Coromandel Town and Whangamata, thanks to a collaboration between our Council, Powerco, ChargeNet NZ and the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority.

The latest to open is in Coromandel Town, while the Whangamata charger is due to go live next week.

An official opening will take place at the Coromandel Town charger tomorrow in the Woollams Avenue car park at midday, following which participating electric vehicles (EVs) will take part in the Coromandel Town Christmas Parade through the town centre at 2pm, including two Teslas, a BMW and Volkswagen e-Golf.

(For other Christmas Parades in the Coromandel this weekend, see below.)

Powerco Chief Executive Nigel Barbour says, with the Coromandel being a popular holiday destination for both New Zealanders and overseas visitors, the loop will provide an important network.

“EVs are undoubtedly the future of domestic transport in New Zealand - they are cheaper, cleaner and quieter to run,” he says.

“We also know that the people who live in the Coromandel are passionate about preserving its natural beauty. We hope the loop will give locals and visitors alike the confidence to travel around the region by EV, helping safeguard the environment for generations to come.”

Our Mayor Sandra Goudie says the loop is “fantastic” for the region.

“A charge only takes about 20 minutes - that's enough time to go for a stroll, look around and enjoy a place or go for a coffee. So it doesn't take much. We've got chargers in Thames, Coromandel Town, Whitianga, Tairua and by December 15th Whangamata - so we're covered."

ChargeNet NZ CEO Steve West says the Coromandel loop will open up the region to entry level electric vehicle travel.

“Extending the Coromandel offering is an important step in bolstering our ever-growing nationwide network of fast chargers and will be a game changer for both local and visiting electric vehicle owners.

“We’re delighted to have worked alongside Thames-Coromandel District Council, Powerco, and local EV enthusiast John Leenman to be able to get the Coromandel EV Scenic Touring Route available for carefree electric vehicle travel for the summer ahead.”

New Zealand has more electric vehicles on its roads than Australia, a country with 10 times the population, he points out.

“The growing enthusiasm for electric vehicles will be helped along as iconic Kiwi summer road trips such as the Coromandel EV Scenic Touring Route open up to stress-free travel, even for entry-level electric vehicles.”

The first charger in the Coromandel loop was opened in Thames in September 2016, by New Zealand’s oldest EV driver Roald Barthow, who was 89 at the time.

The additional four chargers were made possible with funding from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, which provided $175,000 – half the cost.

The user-pays fast DC charger units provide an 80% charge in 10 to 25 minutes and are able to be accessed via an RFID card, which drivers tap against the charging unit to activate, or via a smart phone app.

Powerco now has 10 public-use fast charge EV stations connected to its network, in conjunction with ChargeNet NZ. Powerco has also embraced the technology at its own offices, with a charger onsite and four electric vehicles in its fleet, and a further commitment to having one-third electric by 2019.

EV charger network map

Coromandel Christmas Parades

Coromandel Town - Saturday 9 December, 2.00pm

Thames - Saturday 9 December, 11.00am

Whangamata - Saturday 9 December, 3.00pm

Whitianga - Saturday 9 December, 12.30pm

Matarangi - Saturday 22 December, 11.00am