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Charge While You Shop, For Free — In New Zealand

I used to love getting my Woolworths shopping docket — it had a voucher on it for 4 cents off a litre of petrol, 8 cents off if you used a Woolies-branded servo (gas station, for you Americans). Now, it is just a piece of paper, because I drive electric. Can’t wait until Australian supermarkets follow the example of Sainsbury’s in the UK and Countdown in New Zealand and install free chargers for customers so they can charge while they shop. Interestingly enough, Countdown is owned by Australia’s Woolies.

The new Countdown store at Waiata Shores Takanini (a suburb of Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand) has put in 14 type 2 chargers all in a row. They are slow and you have to bring your own cable, but they are free. The locals think it’s “a pretty impressive move by Countdown,” says Sean White of Facebook NZ. “I long to see the day that all 14 are being used by savvy Countdown shoppers getting free kms while shopping.”

Charge while you shop

EV charger at Countdown in NZ, Chargers by  Evnex

Other comments included: “We live there and although having a home charger we sometimes plug in while we do our grocery shopping. Need to use your own cable. The supermarket is a new ‘green’ one.”

“It is cheaper for the supermarket to give free power for an hour, than petrol discounts.”

Charge while you shop

Plenty of chargers for everyone at Countdown. Chargers by Evnex

Countdown has a commitment to go green, equipping its stores with EV chargers for customer’s cars, an electric online delivery truck, bike parks, and solar panels that will generate 10–15% of the store’s total energy.

Countdown has received a grant worth close to NZD$400,000 from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to help cover costs associated with converting its existing diesel delivery trucks to electric. Even so, the supermarket operator, owned by ASX-listed Woolworths, says it spent close to $700,000 to purchase five electric delivery trucks, which it estimates will eliminate 350,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions each year. The new trucks are able to drive up to 220 kilometres on a single charge.

Cost of petrol per litre in NZ.

Once again, Australia finds itself in a catchup race with its smaller yet more environmentally friendly neighbour. Most supermarket chains in Australia have a commitment to go green and are installing solar panels, but we are yet to see car chargers in their expansive parking lots.

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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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