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Electric cars plugging into the Coromandel

Electric cars plugging into the Coromandel

There's a rEVolution underway in the way people will be able to drive their electric vehicle (EV) around the Thames-Kopu area.

This is because the Kopu Cafe has installed the first commercial EV charge point on the Coromandel. John Leeman from Transition Town Thames (T3) is excited by this development, which he says is just the first step in the network of EV charging stations around the entire Coromandel.

"Apart from the Kopu Cafe charging point, T3 is sponsoring an EV charging station for the Thames township, which will be installed once a suitable site is located," says Mr Leeman, who is also an EV owner and enthusiast. "We are also hoping to find a suitable place for an EV 'Fast Charger' in Thames."

"The idea of the Thames and Kopu chargers is to allow owners of EVs to travel outside Auckland and ‘Top Up’ their EVs adding a little power to the vehicle so there is not so much worry about “range anxiety” (caused when you fret about running out of juice). The power comes from the grid and is totally safe."

Electric cars have no clutch or gears, and accelerate more quickly and smoothly, in a 'sporty' way, when compared to typical petrol cars. A fully electric engine has fewer moving parts, no spark plugs or engine oil, and requires less maintenance than a petrol equivalent. Such cars are extremely quiet and reduce noise pollution. Travelling down hills or braking recharges the batteries, and is known as regenerative braking.

The cars have a range of 120-140km, and take between 30 minutes and 5 hours to charge, depending on the car and charger. Filling up at the Kopu Cafe costs $2.50 /per hour.

"Head in and buy a coffee while you pay for the charge time," says Mr Leeman. "You can also plug in your car and head down to the shops for a look around too."

EV converts are doing a promotional drive from Kaitaia to Bluff this year and will be stopping in Thames overnight on 10 April.

"The reason I am so enthusiastic about EV is because it is the simplest way to make a personal contribution to saving the planet. Switching to an electric car means 2.125 tonnes less CO² per car pouring into the atmosphere each year," says Mr Leeman.

Mr Leeman says the experience of test driving an electric car is what commonly gives buyers the confidence to proceed with the purchase. You can test drive an electric car by asking a dealer, asking existing owners if they’re prepared to let you drive theirs, and, in Auckland, you can rent them by the day. For more information about renting or purchasing an electric vehicle see the Blue Cars website - www.bluecars.nz

For more information on electric vehicles and the differences between them and hybrid vehicles see the Energy Wise website - www.energywise.govt.nz/on-the-road/electric-vehicles/


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