'Loud bang', car damaged as EV charging station explodes in Canterbury

A vehicle was disconnecting from the Amberly charging unit when it "blew apart" on Friday.
TONY REEVES/SUPPLIED
A vehicle was disconnecting from the Amberly charging unit when it "blew apart" on Friday.

An exploding electric vehicle (EV) charging station damaged a vehicle and emitted a loud bang across a North Canterbury town. 

A vehicle was disconnecting from a ChargeNet station on Carters Rd, Amberley about 6pm on Friday when it "blew apart", a Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) spokesman said.

Were you there or did you hear the bang? Email jonathan.guildford@stuff.co.nz

Initial findings suggested there was a fault within the charging unit, which caused its aluminium front panel to explode off, creating a "loud bang", fire investigator Jason Hobbs said.

The panel flew into the car it was charging. The car was damaged at the front. No-one was injured. 

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It appeared to be a "freak accident", Hobbs said.

Parts of the charging unit on the ground.
TONY REEVES/SUPPLIED
Parts of the charging unit on the ground.

"I don't think the charging systems are unsafe, but occasionally you get a failure. Hopefully it's just a one-off.

"We're following up now to make sure that any units that the company has are being checked and that the manufacturers are being consulted to make sure there's no other issues around the country."

ChargeNet NZ has about 68 charging stations across New Zealand. Its Rapid DC Chargers recharge electric vehicles within 30 minutes.

SUPPLIED
Josep Bonos, head of electric cars at Seat, talks us through the EV basics. (Video first published in October 2019)

A ChargeNet spokeswoman confirmed an investigation was under way. It is understood the company sent staff over from Australia to investigate.

"This will potentially cause disruptions to [the] service while the matter is being inspected," she said.

"[We] are keen to assist in finding solutions for those affected," she said.

WorkSafe is also investigating.

The explosion sent a loud bang resonating across the town of Amberley in North Canterbury. (FILE SHOT)
123RF
The explosion sent a loud bang resonating across the town of Amberley in North Canterbury. (FILE SHOT)

 

Initial findings suggested there was a fault within the charging unit, which caused its aluminium front panel to fly off.
Cameron Spencer
Initial findings suggested there was a fault within the charging unit, which caused its aluminium front panel to fly off.

Stuff