Electric car upsurge sparks charging restrictions

The upsurge in electric car ownership is starting to pose problems for the power industry.

Auckland lines company Vector is putting time limits on its free chargers and trying to smooth out demand by introducing another charger, which allows your car to power your house.

While the electric and hybrid fleet is still small, around 3,500, popularity has surged in the past year.

That's starting to place pressure on the limited number of free rapid chargers around Auckland.

Electric car users Robyn and Sam Cope say that "sometimes there are four cars there waiting to use them". 

So Vector has put in new charging restrictions: 30 minutes for rapid chargers, no commercial vehicles allowed and if you are parking, not charging you will get towed.

Vector is also building four new charging stations.

Vector is also trying to manage peak demand by installing a massive Tesla battery in a substation that recharges off peak and then discharges when demand is high.

And there's a new two way car charger. It can charge an EV like this Nissan Leaf, and then can act as a battery to power your home.

A Vector spokesperson says you can run the average house for about 10 hours from a car battery so that is quite powerful.

At the moment owning an electric car is like being part of a club ... there's a sort of charging etiquette.

But with the Government wanting 64,000 EVs on the road by 2021, demand for rapid chargers might just spark some tempers.