Debate sparks up

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An electric car advocate says Queenstown’s council and hotels are lagging behind in providing charging facilities.

Auckland Tesla car owner Sean Dick is on a Leading The Charge around-the-country road trip.

It’s organised by the Better NZ Trust to promote the merits of environmentally-friendly electric cars, which are fast growing in popularity.

Turning up with three other cars last week, Dick said he’d found it hard finding a hotel to plug in his car overnight.

“No one really had it, they didn’t understand it.”Eventually, he found a charging station at Browns Boutique Hotel.

“Some of the hotels need to get on the bandwagon now, while it’s new, and put in a destination charger – it’s $2000, goes on the wall, and it takes five to 10 hours to charge a car.”

One hotel he didn’t try was The Rees, which advertises a “complimentary electric car charger”.

When installed two years ago it was the first in any New Zealand hotel, Rees boss Mark Rose says.

“It’s got to be the way of the future.”

Dick believes Queenstown’s council should also install fast-charging stations in its carparks, as commonly found in NZ’s major cities.

Council spin doctor Jimmy Sygrove says the council delayed installing two electric car charging stations in Athol Street because of the parking shortage.

It’ll be considered under the town centre masterplan.

Local electric car owner Michael Sly, who coordinated the road trip’s Queenstown stop-over, suggests charging facilities should just be part of the tourist infrastructure.

Separately, he believes electric vehicles would be ideal for local rental car operators, as many, like Dick’s Tesla, are equipped for autonomous driving.

“If you’re coming from the other side of the world, where you drive on the other side of the road, you’re going to be supported in your driving around the country.”