Electric vehicle charging points may be installed in the Waitaki district under a Network Waitaki proposal.
The Oamaru-based lines company is seeking approval from the Waitaki District Council to install chargers at specific locations within the district.
While there is a charging station in Waimate, there are none in the Waitaki district.
Under the proposal, which was reviewed by councillors at an extraordinary council meeting last Wednesday, 11 charging stations would be installed in Oamaru, Kurow, Hampden and Omarama.
Proposed locations are the Countdown car park, Thames St’s central parking corridor and the council-owned Meek St car park in Oamaru; Wynyard St in Kurow; the Hampden supermarket car park and public car park outside the Hampden Tavern; and the Chain Hill Highway car park and public car park near Four Square in Omarama.
The proposed sites were selected for their visibility, convenience to retail stores, locality and security. However, some of the land is privately owned and the report indicated permission would need to be sought from landowners to install charging points.
It has also been proposed to install P60 restricted parking signs to ensure “vehicle circulation”. That would allow vehicles to be fully charged and allow time for vehicle owners to shop, as the average charge time was about 30 minutes.
While the council would not have to pay for the installation of the charging points – that would be covered by Network Waitaki – there were concerns the council might lose revenue of more than $1100 annually in “lost metered space income”, while the potential loss of retail income was another concern. A report to councillors said electric vehicle technology and battery life had improved rapidly, which “always makes investment in infrastructure like establishing charging devices potentially redundant”.
However, the report said there was a need to address the increased demand and efficiency of electric vehicles, which are becoming more common on South Island roads.
Whitestone Taxis owner-operator Murray Bell said the company did not have any electric vehicles, but would consider adding them to its fleet if charging stations were installed.
He said there were specific reasons Whitestone had no fully electric vehicles.
“From our point of view, there are two driving issues – the distance they can travel between charges and … the number of charge points. I think the way electric cars have been developed to date is really for commuting … if you lived at Herbert [coming to Oamaru] you’d be fine, but there is a bit of a problem for us because the range probably isn’t great enough.”
According to the Automobile Association website, most electric vehicles can travel a maximum of about 100km on a full charge.