Story image

Drive an electric vehicle? Spark NZ has got your back

18 Feb 16

Spark has turned phone boxes near Auckland into Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers, and dubbed the boxes ‘Spark Plugs’.

Spark Plugs give electric vehicle drivers the ability to ‘top-up’ their car batteries at selected phone boxes, extending their car’s range and combating ‘range anxiety’ - the fear that you won’t be able to reach your destination, one of the main obstacles to widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

The boxes will help make planning long distance trips easier, with more places to plug in and recharge along the way, according to Spark.

Rod Snodgrass, Spark Ventures CEO, says, “Using our lovely phone boxes as top-up charging stations is an incredibly innovative and modest idea, and yet another way to breathe new life into the humble phone box which has a reputation of being a bit out of date.

“More than a thousand of them are now WiFi hotspots too, which was another Australasian first, so they’re quickly becoming a kind of ‘digital Swiss army knife’.”

Five phone boxes near Auckland are part of the Spark Plugs pilot, with three already converted and operational at:

  • Waiwera Road, by the Waiwera Thermal Resort
  • Waitakaruru Country Store car park, Waitakaruru, State Highway 25
  • Prescotts Garages, Kopu-Hikuai Road, Hikuai, State Highway 25A

Two more will be coming online shortly:

  • Waipu Pharmacy, The Centre, Waipu
  • Wellsford – either at the Memorial Park or at another site on SH1, depending on consents

They will also be listed on Plugshare – a crowdsourcing app that plots charging stations all over the world. The pilot will run through to the end of April 2016, and if it’s successful, Spark will look at expanding the network, provided the necessary permissions and consents are obtained.

Snodgrass says, “This piece of Kiwi ingenuity is another part of Spark’s commitment to New Zealand. As the number of electric vehicles rises we imagine the possibility of a network of EV chargers all around the country, connected to thousands of public phone boxes, helping unleash the incredible potential of the electric vehicle community.

“We are proud to be playing a small part in the growing electric vehicle movement in New Zealand – every little bit makes a difference to our future. Electric vehicle drivers justifiably feel good about doing their bit for the environment, and we want to help that feeling last a little longer."

CERT NZ highlights rise of unauthorised access incidents
“In one case, the attacker gained access and tracked the business’s emails for at least six months. They gathered extensive knowledge of the business’s billing cycles."
Report finds GCSB in compliance with NZ rights
The Inspector-General has given the GCSB its compliance tick of approval for the fourth year in a row.
Game review: Just Cause 4 on PC
Rico Rodriguez returns to wreak over-the-top havoc for a fourth time. This time the island nation of Solís is our hero’s sandbox, ripe for destruction.
Hands-on review: Logitech G502 HERO gaming mouse
My favourite feature of the G502s is the ‘Sniper’ button, which is found on the left hand side of the device. When held, this lowers the DPI and allows you to achieve maximum accuracy whilst honing in on a kill on your favourite FPS title.
Interview: ZeniMax Online's game director talks Elder Scrolls Online
FutureFive’s Darren Price sat down with Matt Firor, ESO’s designer and now president and game director at ZeniMax Online.
IDC: Tablets stay dead, notebooks keep head above water
An IDC report predicts a soft personal PC market, slipping into further decline with the exception of notebooks, gaming PCs, and business PC upgrades.
A hands-on guide to Christmas shopping by Santa’s IT elf
Ho, ho, ho! So you’re back again for more inspiration for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life?
Govt commits $15.5m to digital identity research
“With more and more aspects of our lives taking place online it’s critical the government takes a lead to ensure New Zealanders have control of how and who uses their identity information,” says Minister Woods.