There are around 3500 Spark phoneboxes in New Zealand. Any Kiwi in their 30’s or above, will remember these phone boxes from back in the day when they were Telecom Phone Card boxes. In order to use them, you’d buy colourful and often quirky phone cards that allowed you to call home and ask mum if we could go over to our friend’s house when you were at the mall after school. I felt proper grown up with my phone card in my pocket.
People still collect and trade these credit card sized, iconic pieces of Kiwi history.
The phone boxes have been the breeding ground for lots of creative ideas. Spark customers can access WiFi on their phones as they are out and about. The phone boxes now send out access to the Internet so “kids these days” can keep snapping and chatting on the go. Access to the free WiFi zones is as easy as signing in for anyone with a Spark mobile monthly plan of $19.00 or more.
As avid Electric Vehicle enthusiasts, our favourite Sparky new idea for the existing network of phone boxes, is the trickle chargers that will give our EVs a gentle sip while we are exploring beautiful locations.
It is important to note that these chargers will deliver somewhere between 15 and 30 km per hour of charging top up juice. They are not fast chargers that deliver over 200km per hour to keep EV drivers on the move.
The nice thing about these chargers, is that they are placed in nice, quiet locations where you can get out to stretch your legs, have a bite to eat and a coffee, and take a bit of time to explore.
What I REALLY want you to understand as you read this blog, is that there is a need for lots of different charging options for EV drivers. Rolling out the infrastructure to plug in is relatively inexpensive. As an avid EV enthusiast and driver, I would really like to see more access to chargers in locations where people spend a decent amount of time. Café’s, garden centres, malls, hotels, tourist locations, and museums are all excellent places to put in slow chargers. Offering charging and parking incentives to EV drivers who have opted to do the single most impactful thing they can do for New Zealand’s economy and environment is a noble thing indeed for any organisation to do! Driving an EV keeps money in New Zealand, and reduces carbon emissions and noise pollution. The kind of people who are buying EVs would love for more business owners to offer them charging facilities, and they’d happily open up their hearts and wallets to companies who do!
The repurposing of a good number of the phone boxes in sleepy little roadside towns across New Zealand will encourage EV drivers, such as myself, to stop in and enjoy these places for an hour or two as we ticky-tour around this absolutely beautiful country.
So, in conclusion, I would like to say a hearty and sincere THANK YOU to Spark New Zealand for Leading The Charge and embarking on this fun and innovative pilot program.
For more information on the Spark EV chargers, please have a look at this official press release: