Spark and the Wellington City Council have today announced an exciting new partnership extending the “Spark Plugs” initiative, adding Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers to Spark phone boxes in a number of locations around the city. The new chargers will be free for anyone to use, and will be up and running in a few months’ time.
The new lower power chargers will provide a “top up” of 20-40 kilometres from a 30-minute charge, depending on the car. The boost will help give EV drivers the confidence to go further and combat ‘range anxiety’ – the fear that you won’t be able to reach or return from your destination, one of the obstacles to widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
The deal sees each organisation funding 50% of the installation costs, while Spark covers the operational costs and Wellington City Council takes responsibility for the maintenance of the carparks.
Ed Hyde, Spark Ventures CEO, said he’s pleased that the Spark Plug network is expanding into the urban areas of a major New Zealand city.
“We’re pleased that the Spark Plug network is expanding and more people can now benefit from more available EV charging infrastructure. Overseas examples show us that it’s important to get a good mix of fast and low-power chargers to provide a range of options. We love that we’re able to innovatively repurpose some of our phone boxes, infrastructure considered by many to be a bit antiquated, into something that can help stimulate EV adoption and be useful to people every single day.
“We’re extremely happy to be partnering with Wellington City Council to deliver this next phase of growth for the programme, and admire their commitment to making their city more EV-ready,” said Hyde.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said “I am so pleased to support Spark’s solution for delivering electric vehicle charging to help enhance Wellington’s electric vehicle uptake. We were always going to have to be more innovative in Wellington given we have such a compact city with less access to off street parking, and turning our phone boxes into chargers just makes sense.”
The final locations for the new plugs will be confirmed over the next couple of weeks, and installation will begin shortly afterwards.