First Electric Vehicle Charging Station Opens In Cook Islands

With new station, EVs could become popular transport choice: Te Aponga Uira (TAU) l

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, May 4, 2017) – Te Aponga Uira (TAU) launched Rarotonga’s first electric vehicle charging station yesterday.

It is also possibly the first in a Pacific Island state.

TAU has noted an increase in electric vehicles (EV) both on the island and overseas and over the past year, the electricity provider has looked at how charging stations can be designed and located on the island for customer convenience.

Electric vehicles do exactly the same job as conventional vehicles but run on electricity rather than petrol and diesel.

TAU commercial manager Dallas Young believes in a couple of years, EVs will be a common choice for motorists on the island.

“We are hoping today’s event will help people feel comfortable with this technology.”

TAU chairman Mata Nooroa acknowledged prime minister Henry Puna for being a government leader in clean energy innovation.

“The involvement of supporting agencies such as Crash Fire, Police and Infrastructure Cook Islands, in a clean transport future is paramount.”

Nooroa said the project was testament to the company’s motto, “Powering the Future”.

“We as a company may not appear to be (one of) the fancy high-tech energy companies that you see around the world today but behind those old power station walls and the desks inside our building, is a great team of passionate Cook Islanders doing their best to bring a reliable energy source to your homes and businesses, and now your transportation.”

Nooroa said it had become apparent that Rarotonga was a good fit for electric vehicles and might not need a complicated charging infrastructure.

“An EV doesn’t have to go further than 33km to get anywhere. A full charge on an EV could take you four times around the island, no problem.”

TAU says it is trialling the project to build a positive relationship with existing and future EV owners, focusing on these questions:

What happens if an EV owner needs a top-up while out on the road?

Where are these charging points likely to be needed?

Are they outside cafes, supermarkets or places of recreation?

Do these need to be four to six-hour chargers or 20-minute rapid chargers?

“We want our customers to be a part of the solution in determining the future charging network on Rarotonga,” Nooroa said.

TAU is beginning a two-month trial of their vehicle charging station ending on July 3, and Young says during this time, they will have conversations with customers about how they want their vehicle power to be delivered.

Puna, who is also the minister responsible for energy, said he was pleased TAU had accepted and adopted the vision for renewable energy.

“The truth is I was concerned that TAU, of all the government agencies, would be the one resisting change because their business is based on making money out of ‘dirty’ energy, but as we can see today, they have in fact become very proactive and taken the initiative to take the first steps towards the first stage of our renewable energy programme.” 

A recent study had shown 80 per cent of Cook Islands emissions came from the energy sector and of that, 50 per cent came from transport, he said.

The prime minister thanked TAU for taking the step to do something about it.

He said there were a number of EVs on the island and congratulated their owners for having foresight and commitment to the environment.

“I encourage us all to start thinking along these lines as this is us making steps moving into the future.”

Cook Islands News
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