Woolworths trials 'priority parking' for electric cars in New Zealand

Shoppers who have an electric vehicle or hybrid car can park closer to the store in allocated bays.

Woolworths sign reads, 'Reserved for low emission vehicles' (left) and right are the priority parking bays with signage and line markings (right).
Woolworths New Zealand has introduced priority parking for low-emission vehicles in five stores. Source: Stuff

Woolworths is offering priority parking for some customers at New Zealand stores, and whether or not shoppers get the perk depends on which car they have.

Five stores across the country have now introduced priority parking for low-emission cars, meaning shoppers who have an electric vehicle or hybrid can park closer to the store in bays identical to the standard parking spaces, while others cannot. The stores selected for the trial are the newest and most environmentally conscious out of the 185 stores nationwide, Stuff reports.

The parking bays have signage and line markings to indicate they are to be used specifically by electric vehicle owners and it is a step forward in the supermarket's sustainability plan, which will see all new stores achieve a 5-Green star minimum standard by 2025 — a widely used sustainability rating system.

"Typically we allocate about 30 spaces out of a total of around 200 car parks in an average supermarket car park," Woolworths New Zealand's sustainability lead, Catherine Langabeer, told Stuff.

The new parking bays differ from existing ones which have charging stations where drivers can recharge their electric vehicle while doing their grocery shop. The new ones will be no different than standard bays, meaning the number of electric vehicle-only bays will increase in these car parks.

Woolworths Australia confirmed to Yahoo News there are no updates on whether similar priority parking will be introduced at stores. However, one shopping centre in Melbourne's northeast has introduced 70 car park bays specifically for low-emission vehicles.

Mernda Town Centre, which is home to a Woolworths, has reserved parking for electric vehicles using green line markings and signs, sparking division among shoppers.

"Soon as I seen it I thought, 'this is stupid'... so that's why I park here on purpose," one driver, who doesn't own an electric vehicle, said to 7 News.

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