Wellington gets first electric car charging post

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2011
FULLY CHARGED: Celia Wade-Brown arrives  by a
THE DOMINION POST
FULLY CHARGED: Celia Wade-Brown arrives by a "very visible'' electric car.

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Wellington's first charging post for electric cars is offering a glimmer of hope for motorists tired of rocketing petrol prices.

The 15-amp socket was installed earlier this week at Shell Harbour City, on the corner of Customhouse Quay and Whitmore St, and will be free to the public.

Queues are unlikely to be a problem – there are only a handful of electric cars in Wellington.

"We are giving a lot of thought to how we're going to contribute to a sustainable future for New Zealand. We saw the installation of this charging post as an opportunity to demonstrate a new technology that we are likely ... to see more of in the future," Greenstone chief executive Mike Bennetts said.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown welcomed the arrival of the charging post. "It shows that we are gaining momentum," she said.

She was keen to see more electric cars on Wellington streets over time, with charging points scattered around the city.

Wellington City Council included $50,000 for a project to develop a zero-emission vehicles programme in its 2010-11 annual plan.

A further $50,000 is planned for the 2011-12 year.

The funding will be used to install charging posts, parking, signs and for the lease of cars.

In September, Wellington became the first New Zealand city to trial production electric cars.

Five battery-powered Mitsubishi i-MiEV hatchbacks were brought to Wellington in a joint venture by Wellington City Council, Mitsubishi Motors, Meridian Energy, New Zealand Post and The Wellington Company.

The low-noise green machines have a maximum speed of 130kmh and a range of up to 155km.

One is being trialled as an inner-city courier vehicle, and another as a council pool car.

The rest are being used as demonstration vehicles and are available to drive by invitation.

Ms Wade-Brown said she often took the council's "very visible" bright yellow pool car on mayoral duties.

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- The Dominion Post

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