Funding helps plug gaps to make CO Touring Route EV-friendly
The Central Otago Touring Route will be an electric-vehicle friendly route when it is launched this summer thanks to a successful funding grant making the installation of two new fast chargers possible.
It was announced today that Central Otago District Council (CODC) was successful in its application to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) for charging stations in Omakau and Middlemarch.
CODC applied, on behalf of itself and Dunedin City Council, to the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund for funding to install the two public 50kW DC fast chargers to unlock affordable electric transport choices for tourists, residents and organisations serving rural communities along the Central Otago Touring Route.
EECA will co-fund 50% of the $153,000 project, with ChargeNet partnering to provide the other half.
“The two new rapid chargers will ‘plug the gaps’ needed along the Touring Route, linking with, and improving the use of, existing rapid charge infrastructure in Queenstown, Cromwell, Alexandra, Ranfurly and Dunedin, and the pending rapid charge station in Palmerston,” Tourism Central Otago General Manager Dylan Rushbrook said.
“Whereas the route would have only been accessible for longer range EVs, installation at these new locations means we can now market this route as being achievable for electric vehicles with enough charging stations en route to facilitate an anxiety-free electric drive.”
The touring route, set to be launched in November 2020 (Covid-19 alert levels allowing), features 342km of stunning natural and cultural attractions along a road trip between Queenstown and Dunedin, via the Maniototo and Strath Taieri.
“We feel very lucky to secure this funding as this application round was incredibly competitive and oversubscribed with 67 applications asking for more than $10 million in co-funding from an available pool of $3.2 million,” said Mr Rushbrook. “And we are very thankful that ChargeNet has come on board to partner on this project.”
“This is exciting news on a number of levels,” said Central Otago District Council Chief Executive Sanchia Jacobs. “The Central Otago Touring Route has great potential to increase tourism in the region and the installation of the EV stations will now give tourists and residents the opportunity to adopt sustainable low emissions transport options while exploring our regions. While waiting for their vehicles to charge, visitors will spend more time in towns along the touring route, which will also undoubtedly benefit businesses within these areas. The installation of these EV stations will also assist Council staff in using our own hybrid fleet vehicles more.”
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said he was thrilled by the announcement, which supported Central Otago Sustainability Strategy’s goal of enabling development while managing the environmental effects.
“As someone who drives a hybrid myself I am particularly thrilled by the news – it totally supports Central Otago as a sustainable tourism destination.”
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins added that the city remains at the forefront of EV uptake nationwide, and that these chargers will help support that in the furthest reaches of the district.
"Fleet electrification is key to achieving Dunedin’s Zero Carbon 2030 target, and our residents are leading the way. These chargers plug key gaps in our network, supporting the increasing number of drivers who are choosing to go electric, both locals and visitors alike."
The chargers are set to be installed by 31 October 2020.