Countdown, in partnership with WEL Networks, has today installed three charging sites at five of its Waikato supermarkets – a first for the retailer.

From today, electric vehicle (EV) users will be able to charge up their cars for free at either Countdown Hamilton, Countdown Bridge Street, Countdown Claudelands, Countdown St James and Countdown Huntly.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, said today’s launch was another step in the right direction towards the business meeting its commitment to help create a cleaner and greener Aotearoa, New Zealand.

“Last year we set ourselves 20 ambitious corporate social responsibility targets out to 2020. Our targets align with the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and focus on three main areas – people, planet and prosperity. With regard our commitments to the planet, we’ve identified we want to reduce our carbon emissions and know electric vehicles are the way of the future. We are delighted to take our first steps in this part of our journey.

“As well as our new charging stations in Hamilton, we are in discussions to extend these into other communities across our network. We already have electric charging stations at our Support Office and have recently won a $300,000 grant from EECA (Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority) to convert our chilled online delivery vehicles to electric. Electric delivery vehicles will help cut down noise around the online delivery depots and eliminate approximately 135,000kg of CO2 emissions annually.

“We are delighted to be able to work with WEL Networks to provide this service at no cost to our customers,” says Kiri Hannifin.

WEL Networks Asset Management General Manager Paul Blue says the Countdown fast chargers will increase WEL’s network of chargers across the region to over 20.

“Not only is the Waikato one of New Zealand’s fastest growing regions, but increasingly we’re seeing the uptake of electric vehicles in our communities, because users find them cheaper to run, quieter, more efficient and environmentally friendly.

“WEL Networks is committed to delivering innovative energy solutions to support regional growth, and future-proof the Waikato. By investing in technology and assets now, and working in partnership with organisations like Countdown, we’ll be able to meet the increasing demand for EVs.”

Countdown’s charging stations are available from today. Compatible with any electric vehicle and quick to use, customers will be able to charge their EVs from low to 80 per cent battery capacity in around 20 minutes.

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