the Electric Vehicle enthusiasts group

Electric Vehicle drivers spread the word in South Canterbury

First Published in Timaru Herald by Matthew Littlewood on 14 Apr 2019

The conversations were electric in Geraldine as a convoy of vehicles rolled quietly into the town on Saturday.

The fifth annual great EV (Electric Vehicle) road trip, which started in Rotorua on March 28 and finishes in Cape Reinga on April 26, had Timaru man Martin Kane and his seven-seater 2018 Tesla Model X joining the group.

"It's just an exciting car to drive," Kane said about the vehicle ...

Kathryn Trounson and Timaru man Martin Kane (with his 2018 Tesla X) participate in the Great EV Road Trip, which stopped off in Geraldine



"It's quiet, holds seven people, it can carry up to 2.5 tonnes, and has a range of about 450km."

He said he became interested in electric vehicles about five years ago, when he purchased a Nissan Leaf.

"And it's just gone on from there. I reckon we've saved about $4000 a year in fuel costs since we went electric."

Kane said the infrastructure for electric cars has improved markedly in the last few years.

"There was a time when it could be quite dicey, but these days there are chargers just about everywhere. The only blind spots at the moment are at Arthur's Pass and parts of the West Coast," Kane said.

"My advice is don't wait to switch, it will change the way you drive."

Kane will join the convoy all the way to Auckland, before heading back home.

Trounson said the public's attitude had become a lot more mature towards electric vehicles, as dozens of people approached them in Geraldine 

"There's definitely a lot more interest each time we do this rally. More and more people are wanting to switch," she said.

"The takeup has been pretty impressive. We understand there are now about 13,000 electric vehicles owned in New Zealand."

The roadshow event is organised in conjunction with the BetterNZ Trust, which promotes sustainable practices. 

Co-organiser Kathryn Trounson, who drives a Hyundai Kona Electric SUV, said the response had been really heartening.

"We had all sorts of people come up and ask us about the vehicles. There's been a real movement towards these cars, even in the last couple of years there's been a major increase in electric vehicles," Trounson said.

By the time the trip is over, the convoy would have covered about 5300km throughout the country, Trounson said. 

"A couple of years ago, it might have been difficult to find chargers in suitable places, but now there's coverage throughout the country."


Video here