Igor Anani loves his plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. But the characteristics of its property in a high-density area make it tricky to charge the car at home. reports Caroline Williams.
Wanting to do better for the environment, Igor Anany bought his hybrid Mini Cooper in April, receiving a $5,500 rebate under the government’s Clean Car Discount program.
“I think that’s the future and I wanted to get there as quickly as possible.”
But the Hobsonville, Auckland resident hadn’t anticipated that his clean car wouldn’t go hand in hand with another part of New Zealand’s future: housing intensification.
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Anany’s property has no off-street parking and the car does not fit in her garage.
He had parked against his garage to charge the car, but that meant blocking off part of the footpath, angering locals who feared wheelchair users and people with prams and pushchairs could pass.
Anany now parks the car between the road and the curb and charges it after 9 p.m. by plugging an extension cord into the car, covering it with rubber mats so no one trips.
“It’s always a disadvantage for us. Obviously I don’t like putting the cable on the pavement [but] we can’t really reload it without crossing the trail.”
He was hoping to find a more permanent solution, as running power cables on the trail is not allowed under Auckland Transport’s operating regulations in the road corridor from May.
“There are public safety issues with running the cable on the sidewalk, and if a lot of people did it, there would be issues,” an AT spokesperson said.
No one has yet been fined for doing so – AT prefers not to go straight to ‘strict enforcement action’ – and only six such cases in Auckland have been reported.
Anany hadn’t expected to go through such a hullabaloo to charge the car when he bought it. He suspected the problem would make it harder for people living in high-density housing to switch to electric vehicles to save the environment and money.
An AT policy is being developed to support the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s a sensitive issue, so we’re hoping this policy will help address those kinds of issues – like places where people don’t have garages,” the spokesperson said.
Electric vehicle specialist at GVI Electric Hayden Johnston says it is possible to own and operate an electric vehicle without charging facilities at home.
“There’s a lot of public charging infrastructure around.”
Owners should factor charging into their weekly commute, such as choosing to shop at a supermarket with a charger.
Johnston didn’t believe high-density housing was a barrier to EV adoption at this time, but feared it might become an issue down the road.
“It will take solutions,” he said, adding that one option could be community chargers on the street.
Anany hoped to set up a feeder on the grassy berm outside her house. AT is unlikely to approve.
“Placing private EV charging equipment on, under, or over public spaces such as the berm, pathway, railroad crossing, or road is “encroachment” on public space and requires a public space license. ‘AT,” a spokesperson said.
“AT will not approve the installation of private EV charging equipment in public spaces for the exclusive use of private individuals or businesses.”
EV charging operators providing public services can apply for a license to install charging stations on public land if they meet criteria yet to be defined.
Anany believed that homes should be built with electric vehicle charging facilities in the future.
“We have to build the infrastructure all at once. The two structures must grow in parallel.
A spokesperson for Housing Minister Megan Woods said there was no requirement to provide EV chargers in homes under large-scale projects, such as Hobsonville.
“Large-scale projects aim to reduce reliance on vehicles, which is why they are located in areas close to major destinations and transport hubs.”
However, charging facilities could be added if needed due to a change in government policy.
In east Auckland, the government and council-owned Tāmaki Regeneration Company already has guidelines requiring its state-owned and affordable homes to be future-proofed with electric vehicle charging facilities or wiring for to be installed later.
A spokesperson for Transport Minister Michael Wood said most light vehicle users had access to off-street parking to charge their electric vehicles at home.
But the charging needs of people living in multi-unit buildings, social housing and rental accommodation would be taken into account in the government’s long-term strategy for electric vehicle charging infrastructure which will be developed with its plan. reduction of emissions.
“The government is also working closely with industry, including established and potential charging station providers, to encourage a robust electric vehicle charging market.”
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