#LeadingTheCharge the Electric Vehicle enthusiasts group
DAY ONE AT EVS29 IN MONTREAL
Posted onJune 26, 2016byDee West
Imagine, for a moment, being at the BEST event/camp you could think of. Surrounded by people that share your interests, intellect, and often sense of humour.
Steve and I standing with my FAVOURITE car from the show, which I found out later belongs to my new friend Brian Kent!
Imagine that this camp takes place over four days, in a location that has all of your favourite things right at your fingertips; excellent food, sunshine, great architecture, buildings that light up at night with artistic films (seriously, this is a thing, they project short films on high rise buildings in Montreal and it is SO cool!), and some of your closest friends from all over the world are at the same camp as you as well!
This was what it was like for Steve, myself and Nick last week when they attended their first EVS29 show in Montreal.
Let me take you on a little journey into the past, so you can see how we ended up participating in such a prestigious annual event:
For those of you who are not aware, Steve and I have been passionate EV geeks for nearly a decade now. For years we would attend anything from autoshows to gypsy fairs to mix and mingle with other people who were excited about electrification of transport.
Steve finished his first conversion in 2008. In 2012 we bought New Zealand’s only current Tesla Roadster. That was the year that things really started to snowball. We took the roadster all over this fair country, offered rides and drives to journalists and enthusiasts alike.
Two years later, we took possession of New Zealand’s first Tesla Model S. Steve picked it up in the Netherlands, after a wonderful family vacation through the Mediterranean. Steve drove it to the Southampton docks to sail its way to New Zealand. Most people recognize this car when they see it. We christened him LOLGAS, and he is bright red with the Charge Net NZ logo proudly displayed across his doors and bonnet.
We are now a fully electric family. There is one hybrid in my PR company solPR’s asset register. This is more about nostalgia than anything, as we were pioneers in Hybrid technology, the same as we are in EV, so I’ve had the GS450h for a long time now, and am not too keen to say my farewells just yet.
About a year and a half ago, our lives changed forever. My husband brought me a coffee, as he sometimes does if he wakes up first, and he paced the floor of our bedroom for a bit.
“What is on your mind Love of my Life.” I said, savouring my first sip of go juice for the morning.
“You know how there’s no fast charging Network in NZ? How would you feel about me using our money to roll one out?” He said.
“How much money are we talking?” I responded, before taking another sip of coffee.
“A lot.” He said.
“Well, if you don’t think anyone else will, yup. Go for it. I want to do your PR though.” I said.
And that is actually how this all began. So now, a little over a year after that quick conversation, we are well on our way.
Here was the plan:
Roll out 105 fast charging stations 50-80km apart to open up New Zealand to long distance travel for entry level (and all other) Electric Vehicles
Continue to educate and encourage people to embrace the benefits of Electrification of our transport sector
Grow our brand (Charge Net NZ), and champion New Zealand on the world stage
Encourage our friends (also referred to as champions) to share the excitement about EV driver experience and the far reaching benefits to New Zealand’s economy and environment
Be good employers
Be good people
So, where are we up to?
Well, we currently have three major corporate partners here in New Zealand. We are a multi-award winning organisation. Between our two companies (Charge Net NZ and solPR) we employ 7 people and we are about to hire several more, making us a compliment of 9, with many more about to join us in the months ahead. We DO have a lot of fun, and engage in a LOT of creative conflict. We have 18 live fast chargers across the country, with several more due to go live any day now.
Because we have all been putting in amazingly long hours, and feeling a little isolated here in New Zealand, we recently booked to attend the EVS29 show in Montreal Quebec.
This is the largest EV symposium on earth. As the name suggests, this is the 29thshow of its kind. We arrived, with three Kiwis and one US champion. (Chelsea’s attendance was covered by the charitable arm of the EV movement in NZ called the Better NZ Trust, who also bring New Zealand the annual #LeadingTheCharge Cape to Bluff road trip).
So many people already knew who we were and what we are doing. Anyone who was not aware, found the story fascinating, and wanted to know more!
It was an amazing feeling to be recognized internationally for the huge strides New Zealand has made in this sector recently.