Orion launches its first public EV chargers in partnership with Christchurch City Council

23 November 2016

Orion, the central Canterbury electricity network company, today opened the first of its public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. A fast charger and a standard charger were opened in Little River on Banks Peninsula.

The Little River charging stations have been installed by Orion, in partnership with the Christchurch City Council. Orion is planning to roll-out more chargers across its network over the coming months.

A fast charger typically charges an EV in around 20 to 30 minutes, whilst a standard charger will take a few hours to fully charge a car. Usually EVs are not charged to full capacity at public spots, but rather simply ‘topped up’, with full charging occurring at home overnight using cheaper night rate electricity. EV owners need to open an account at charge.net.nz to be able to use the chargers.

“EV technology is improving all the time and given their many benefits they’re set to make a strong contribution to our transport needs, said Orion Chief Executive, Rob Jamieson. “We want to encourage that future and facilitate our customer’s ability to benefit from EVs. To do that we need to give people the confidence to buy EVs by providing them with places to charge their vehicles away from their homes”, said Mr Jamieson.

Public charging stations help drivers overcome what is known as ‘range anxiety’, as electric vehicles on the market today have a range of 100km to 400km. The need to provide strategically placed public charging stations to help overcome this range anxiety is a vision shared by the Christchurch City Council.

Christchurch Deputy Mayor, Andrew Turner, said the Christchurch City Council wants EVs to be part of the region’s transport future, and the Council was very pleased to partner with Orion to provide a public charging station.

“EVs offer a number of benefits to the city, improving air quality, reducing emissions and reducing the reliance on imported fuel. To help promote EV uptake, we have agreed with Orion on a further five sites for EV charging stations, and we’ll be considering more potential locations in the future”, said Mr Turner.

The fast charging station will be free to use until the end of January 2017, so that EV drivers can drive to Akaroa and back in the Xmas holidays at no cost. From February 2017 a typical charge will cost about $10. The standard charging station will be free to use for at least one year.

For the standard chargers, in line with New Zealand guidelines, cables aren’t attached. EV owners need to have their own cable which is vehicle specific.

Those interested in learning more about electric vehicles or Orion’s EV charging stations can visit its website at oriongroup.co.nz/electric-vehicles.