By Mick Jensen
Ashburton’s new electric vehicle charging station has been officially opened and it is already being used by a steady flow of users.
Located in the West Street car park opposite McDonald’s, the rapid charging station has been established by EA Networks to expand the network and to meet current and future demand for electric vehicles.
A similar charging station was commissioned by the company in Rakaia at the end of April and has been used by around 100 vehicles over the first three months.
The high profile Ashburton site, which is clearly signed on West street, is expected to be busier.
Another station is earmarked for Methven later in the year and a preferred site on Main Street near the medical centre has been identified.
EA Networks would continue to offer free electricity at the Ashburton and Rakaia stations until Methven was up and running, said EA Networks commercial manager Jeremy Adamson.
The infrastructure investment by the company was seen as a catalyst for driving the uptake of electric vehicles locally and nationally.
A payment charging platform would be added later, but for now, the electricity was free, he said.
The rapid charging station can power some vehicles up to 80 per cent of capacity in just 30 minutes.