In an innovative move, Spark and the Wellington City Council have announced their partnership on a new project, which aims to extending the “Spark Plugs” initiative. The initiative is to add electric vehicle chargers to Spark phone boxes across Wellington in the city.
The new low-power chargers will provide a battery boost that provides 20-40 kilometres from 30 minutes of charge time, which differs from car to car. The new chargers will be free to use and are expected to be live in the coming months.
Spark Ventures CEO Ed Hyde says he’s pleased that the initiative is moving into the urban areas of a large 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,” he says.
“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.”
The boost will give drivers of electric vehicles the confidence to go further and combat and get past ‘range anxiety’. This is the worry of not being able to reach or return from your destination on your current battery charge, one of the biggest obstacles to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
Each partner will contribute 50% of the installation costs, with Spark covering the operational costs and Wellington City Council taking responsibility for the maintenance of the stations.
Hyde says Spark is delighted to see the Wellington City Council embracing electric vehicles.
“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,” he says.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says that the move makes sense for Wellington.
“I am so pleased to support Spark’s solution for delivering electric vehicle charging to help enhance Wellington’s electric vehicle uptake,” he says.
“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.”
Expect to see final locations for plugs soon, with installations beginning in a couple of weeks.
The charging stations will also be listed on Plugshare. a crowdsourcing app that has tabs on electric vehicle charging stations globally. For more information, click here.