Call for more chargers as electric vehicle sales grow in Timaru

HVS Ltd manager Richard Gardyne said the number of electric car sales in Timaru had increased "aggressively" in the last ...

HVS Ltd manager Richard Gardyne said the number of electric car sales in Timaru had increased "aggressively" in the last six months, and having other charging locations would be a good idea.

There are calls for electric vehicle charging stations to be installed in new subdivisions and developments as electric car use grows.

Some who provided feedback to the Timaru District Plan wanted property developers to install charging stations as part of their developments.

That would add, incrementally, to the public charging station stock so far limited to a station on the corner of Victoria and North streets. 

The initial direction from the council's environmental services committee is that all types of transport be included in the district plan provisions, including electric vehicles. 

"Recognition of the effects of land use change on transport infrastructure will also be included in the District Plan to enable the linking of all activities and effects." 

Timaru electric vehicle driver Martin Kane, the head of the town's informal EV club, said residential developments ought to have power running to car parks, so charging stations could be added at a later date 

"Having the power ready to go, that's my stand." 

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"Three or five years down the track the majority of new cars will be electric. " 

Alpine Energy chief executive Andrew Tombs said he thought having a charger in every subdivision would be uneconomic, since people could put their car on a slower charger at home at a much lower cost. 

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Cars only took about 20 min to charge on a fast charger, but could be put on a slow charger over a period of hours. 

The public charger, installed in 2016, costs about $10 to completely charge a car, with the charge being sent to the user's credit card. 

Tombs could see the potential for having two or three fast car chargers for Timaru in the future. He envisaged different types of chargers, including for buses and campervans, as new vehicle types became more common.

Kane said the number of people with electric vehicles in Timaru was "still fairly small in the scheme of electric vehicles" but more were choosing the option every year. 

HVS Ltd manager Richard Gardyne said the number of electric car sales in Timaru had increased "aggressively" in the last six months. 

He sold two models of car, one which had a range of up to 200km before it had to be charged, and another that had a range of up to 150km. 

"The more plugs there are, the more places people will go," Gardyne said. 

Electric car owner Kate Elsen said she felt the provision of just one charging station in Timaru was "quite an embarrassment".

She hoped to see more charging stations in public carparks, or in more picturesque spots to appeal to tourists. 

Elsen had previously used the charger but routinely charged her car at home, taking advantage of the lower rates overnight. 

Kane said the region needed to be "surfing along with the technology rather than dragging behind". 

The one charger was adequate at the moment, but he would like to see it in a better place where visitors to Timaru could benefit, for instance close to cafes and shops.

There are electric chargers in Geraldine, Timaru, Waimate, and Oamaru.

 - The Timaru Herald


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