Better streets & spaces  |  20 Jan 2021

Are electric vehicle (EV) drivers overstaying their welcome at EV-charging parking sites? Do we have enough charging spaces in the city?

Smart Christchurch plans to find out via innovative new parking occupancy sensors  installed at Christchurch City Council EV-charging parking sites  that provide real-time information to the Council’s SmartView site.

The sensors will also allow EV drivers to check the availability of public chargers.

Council Smart Christchurch Programme Manager Michael Healy explains the need “to establish just how EV charging sockets across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula are being used”.

“The new sensors will provide real-time information on occupancy rates for all 32 Council-controlled public EV parking spaces,” Mr Healy says.

“The sensor data will help EV drivers find empty charging parking spaces and also reveal to the Council if these spaces are being used for longer than the alloted parking time.

“We will track the data collected by the parking sensors to check everyday use.

“It is important to establish that the charging spaces are being used as intended, and the parking sensor data will help inform the Council of the need for any changes to public EV-charging space use or infrastructure.

“We may also find that we need more EV-charging spaces or that they are most used in certain areas.”

Council Resource Efficiency Manager Kevin Crutchley says that the Council has been involved in a range of initiatives to encourage the uptake of battery electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

This has resulted in the installation of 30 public EV charging sockets and a rapid charger on Council-controlled properties.

Fifty-nine public charging sockets have also been installed in business public car parks with the support of a Christchurch Agency for Energy funding grant.

“The installation of the real-time parking occupancy sensors will assist EV drivers to better see what EV-charging parking locations are available when looking for public parking charging options at Council-controlled properties,” he says.

“The parking occupancy data gathered will also assist the Council with EV-charging infrastructure planning decisions.”

EV drivers will be able to access the SmartView real-time updates to find empty charging spaces at all of the Council-controlled sites by the end of February.