Martinborough Fair - Take 2

The second Martinborough Fair finally took place on the 10th April 2021, having been inconvenienced/postponed by Covid in March, and then affected by rain on the day! However the trusty gazebo and the odd umbrella sufficed until the rain stopped!  The volunteer team had 3 Tesla Model 3's, a Kona, an electric Mini and a BMW i3 to wow the crowds, and over 200 people were engaged over the day, with 21 getting a Tesla ride as an experience!

Sadly though, the organisation of the Martinborough Fair is still frustrating. The Wellington EV volunteer team managed to get several parks to supplement the space formally assigned to the stand, but the street was littered with freedom campers and the vehicles of other stallholders that we could not remove despite them being within the closed off section of the street. People would frequently park in the centre of the road, preventing rides from taking place.

Despite this, the Martinborough Fair is a highly desirable fair to attend due to the higher average wealth of attendees, putting them more in the market for a larger selection of EVs.

Of particular note was that the range of EVs on offer drew in different demographics, who were interested to learn different things about the vehicles. Younger attendees tended towards the Tesla offerings, while older attendees focused more on the Kona. Middle aged attendees tended to more focused on value for money and affordability, while the younger and older demographics were more interested in performance/sustainability and comfort respectively.

The Mini drew significant attention as many people aren’t aware that there is an electric Mini, with some Mini fans absolutely smitten by it.  The i3 offered a view to a more “upmarket” option for those who were comfortable with a shorter range vehicle, but were not interested in the Leaf.

The most significant shift was that a lot more people were saying “my next car will be an EV, what should I look at?” or generally trying to work out what EV might suit them. For example, questions about what EVs work well with car seats, and what EV might suit a family of six.

The volunteers felt that general knowledge about EVs seemed to have increased, with questions about availability of specific models and wait times to purchase specific models supplementing the standard questions about price to buy, price to charge, maintenance, range, where to charge, lithium “mining”, battery recycling/replacement etc. Even with the standard questions, the tone seems to be shifting to look at the positive angles, and “I’m buying an EV, but I want to know more about how X works”.

Disinformation about hydrogen vehicles continues to be a concern, with several people saying their next car would be an FCEV, but without any clear idea as to what car that would be, or how the technology in question works. This highlights the dangers of low-knowledge information sources such as talkback radio.

Two attendees who identified themselves as belonging to local government and the armed forces noted that they wanted to use EVs at work, current EV offerings were appropriate, and price wasn’t an issue (comparable to what is currently spent when taking into account total cost of ownership), but changing the fleet to EV was being blocked by upper management. 

The MG ZS EV was asked about a number of times. A mid-range EV at a reasonable price ($50k, 250km) is a far more attractive option to many than either the shorter range second hand EVs, or a long range but high priced EV.

The biggest wins of the event were that multiple fairgoers were repeat visitors to the stall, both people we saw last year, people coming back with family members to look at vehicles later in the day and ask questions about purchasing, or family members being directed to come and see us to learn and go for a test ride. Two different attendees reported having purchased their first EV based on their experiences at the Fair last year - you can't beat that for a fuzzy warm glow! Go team!!




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