Tesla launches New Zealand's first supercharge site in Hamilton

Dominico Zapata/ Fairfax Media NZ

The Base in Te Rapa, Hamilton, is home to the first Tesla supercharger in New Zealand and had their grand opening.

In thirty years we may not be driving cars. They could be all be driving themselves. 

It's a futuristic idea that feels like it could become a reality as Tesla's first Supercharger station launches in Hamilton. 

The station, located in The Base Shopping Centre carpark, charges Tesla's Model S and Model X vehicles.

Kelly Harvey and Hamilton Mayor Andrew King do the honors of cutting the ribbon at The Base charging station.
DOMINICO ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

Kelly Harvey and Hamilton Mayor Andrew King do the honors of cutting the ribbon at The Base charging station.

Though this is not the first electronic car charger in the Waikato, it is the first supercharger - allowing drivers to "fuel up" in minutes rather than hours.

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At Thursday's launch, Hamilton Mayor Andrew King said Tesla's weren't the cars of the future, they were the cars of now.

Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe tests out the comfort of a Tesla Model X.
DOMINICO ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe tests out the comfort of a Tesla Model X.

"These cars look like supercars, they drive like supercars and these are supercars," he said. 

"The new model coming out soon will be selling at a price that's affordable for New Zealanders to buy."

But while Tesla's Supercharger is the step in the right direction for e-vehicles, New Zealand's only just making the acceleration towards oil reduction.

American Wayne Barnes lives in Warkworth but spends half his year travelling around The United States.

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He said his home country has embraced electric vehicles in a big way.

There can be up to 16 electric charging stations at one location, with a type of concierge manning the thoroughfare, he said.

"There's a line of people waiting to charge and there's charging stations everywhere. It's just phenomenal." 

Barnes owns a Model X sedan, called Rosebud, which cost him around $175,000. He purchased it in August last year and it currently resides in America.

A second car for Barnes is on its way to New Zealand.

Before purchasing his Tesla, Barnes drove rental cars, so has first-hand experience of testing out different models.

Despite the hefty up-front cost, Barnes said the car costs nothing to run.

"We drove 33,000kms in four-and-a-half months and we kept track of the expenses. So for the fuel, the electric, the air filters and tune-ups, it came to zero.

"There wasn't one penny we ever spent on the car."

Tesla Superchargers at Taupo and Sanson are planned for installation before the end of the year.

More than 100 Destination Chargers are also planned for across New Zealand at locations including hotels, shopping centres and public parking complexes.

 - Stuff

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