GREAT EV ROAD TRIP 2019 - THE DIARY
By The BETTER NZ TRUST
Leading The Charge
Day Twenty-Three: 19 April Napier
The trip from Palmerston North to Napier over the Saddle Road took us way above the fog and a stopoff at the Te Apiti Wind Farm is almost compulsory in these idyllic conditions. Giving a sense of scale of the size of these giants.
It's definitely a two-dog day in the twin city region of Napier and Hastings. First, whilst charging in Hastings this fab little guy "Tiddles" hanging with his dad: William Nelson - commonly known as the "Father of Hawke's Bay" for the contribution he made to the economics of the area.
And then in Napier - the slightly more well-known statue "A Wave in Time." In fact, the dog "Raven" was added as an artistic measure and is modelled on the sculptor's own dog. There is a second statue of a little boy clinging to a light pole waving back to her.
“A Wave in Time” bronze sculpture by Mark Whyte (2010). The woman is modelled on Sheila Williams, the daughter of a prominent Napier architect. Sheila organised and led the 1933 Earthquake Recovery Parade.
Day Twenty-Two: 18 April Palmerston North
Every event the Better NZ Trust has ever held in The Square in Palmerston North has been terrific. But today's event surpassed all the previous ones! We were given great weather, there were lots of cars on view and many people stopped by, eager to talk to EV drivers and study the car line-up in detail.
Wellington Regional EV-Champion, Donald Love, shares his knowledge & enthusiasm with the public.
Sue Pugmire, the PN-champion, had organised the event superbly as usual, and not only sang beautifully for us, but also lined up speakers to give the event some clout.
[from left] Kathryn Trounson, Sue Pugmire, Iain Lees-Galloway, Grant Smith, and Rachel Keedwell (far right)
Mayor Grant Smith, JP welcomed the Better NZ Trust road trippers to Palmerston North.
“Palmerston North has a special interest in electric vehicles,” his worship the mayor explained. “They not only tick all the boxes in our environmental strategies, but they are also very cool.”
The mayor’s speech was followed by the MP for Palmerston North, Hon Iain Lees-Galloway. The minister mentioned the Government’s investment in electric vehicles via the EECA Contestable Fund, where $11m has recently been put up to support people to purchase electric vehicles. The minister also spoke of the current Government’s promise to have an electric fleet by 2025, wherever practical.
“The Prime Minister is constantly on our case (members of parliament), as individuals, to purchase EVs when we upgrade our private vehicles. The progress of EV adoption in NZ is steady and sustainable. We’ve seen a lot of progress and I thank the Better NZ Trust for keeping EV on our radar.”
Next to speak was Rachel Keedwell, Councillor of Horizons Regional Council.
“Horizons has purchased its first fleet EV and looking at replacing the remainder of our fleet as and when needed. One of our initiatives that has come to fruition is the first electric bus in Palmerston North will be on the road by the end of the year, thanks to the EECA fund, and the submissions that locals have put it which has prompted the change. We have also requested all future public transport tenders to give us options on EV.”
Professor Robert McLachlan of Massey University reported that more needs to be done to combat NZ’s currently losing battle against transport emissions.
"2017 saw an increase of 800,000 tonnes of GHG pollution in transport (compared to 1990) and yet internationally 2018 was the year that electric vehicles truly began taking off. The University has a carbon management plan in place which includes looking at not only the staff fleet but also student transport and University air transport requirements.”
Finally Chair of Better NZ Trust, Kathryn Trounson, officially opened the event at The Square.
“This is one of our favourite destinations because here there is so much space to show the vehicles to their best advantage and to show what is possible and what is now available in NZ. The Better NZ Trust is part-funded by the EECA Education Fund,” she says. “The main purpose of this event is to encourage people to include an EV in their personal fleet. An example of how much we’ve grown is the fact that this year we have give-away bags full of information available. These have been sponsored by Repco, and while this may not immediately seem like a perfect fit, in fact you may notice that all Electric Vehicles have wheels. They all have windscreen wipers. Yes, they even all need cleaning.”
We were privileged again to have Brian come along with his new pride and joy, his Jaguar I-PACE, which garnered lots of interest and was by far the most popular vehicle that people wanted to look at and ride in! Brian did 61 rides and really enjoyed showing his new car off – he acquired instant champion status for this amazing endeavour!
The Photon Red I-PACE
The Tesla Model X’s on view were the next most studied vehicles – Martin’s because he did the ‘dance’ every hour to everyone’s delight, and Lex’s bright orange X because he was doing rides in it! Lex clocked up 27 rides, with several of the most informed riders being children! Doing events in school holidays has many up sides!
A crowd gathers to watch the Model X "dance"
The Hyundai Kona was a new car that many had not seen, and Grant Smith spent quite some time grilling Greg as to its credentials.
We even had an electric rubbish truck, as well as 24kW and 40kW Leafs, 2 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs, a BMW i3, 2 Tesla Model S and a Prius PHEV. There was something for everybody. One lady arrived in her Leaf which she had had for exactly a week! Despite there being several cars that the public could drive there were only 6 people who actually sat behind the steering wheel and felt the torque of an electric motor.
The goody bags were a great hit and we must have given away over 200. That means that well over 400 people attended the event!
Sue Pugmire told the trippers over dinner tonight that she was contacted by three people following last Year’s RoadTrip event who had gone and bought an EV as a result of talking to owners!
Day Twenty-One: 17 April Masterton
We all left Wellington at differing times according to our charging needs. So, we didn't take on the Remutaka Crossing in a convoy. For my part, with nobody behind me, I used this huge zigzag downhill to try to find the i3's regen sweet spot. And in case you're wondering, I'm still haven't found it.
We regrouped at the Paua World in Carterton. I thought we were just coming here to shop for kitschy bits and bobs.
In fact, it was a hugely enjoyable visit, tour, and quite a decent turnout of interested people arrived to see our electric cars.
The business of organising where to position each car for a photo-op, is quite a complex process involving much moving of cars and "discussion".
The paua business itself is both a shop and a manufacturer of paua shell. They are huge users of electricity, $40-50,000 per year, so it made sense for them to cover their roof with solar panels. These, they say, they will pay off within five years. And it has prompted them to also install a small type 2 EV charger. They are currently charging for the use of this to pay for the charger.
Then we carried on to Masterton for the day's main event. Here, in the town square, we felt we were a little too far from the action, but nevertheless had a steady stream of people, including the mayor, councillors and interested local journalists from the adjacent gorgeous art-deco Wairarapa Times-Age building. We also had a visit from Batman, while Eddie the coffee man (himself a LEAF owner) was on hand with vital refreshments. Of particular interest was a Jaguar I-PACE which joined us from Wellington and took pride of place. And we can now confirm that there will be an I-PACE at the Auckland event.
After a lunch break, we all headed out to Gladstone Vineyard to taste their wines while enjoying the fireplace. They have had an unseasonably early year, with picking largely done already.
pigs, ducks and chooks at Gladstone Winery framed by Donald's and Will's matching LEAFs
We are now numbering eight cars and about 17 people, and we say goodbye to Will Hunter and Daniel & Sara Kirven. But joining us is Donald Love, and Sarah Bell (and family) - both in LEAFs.
Day Twenty: 16 April Blenheim
Perhaps Blenheim will be remembered for its roundabouts and regularly chiming clock. But time was against us as the start/finish times were changed to allow us to get to the ferry without rushing. The two hours allowed for the event could easily have been twice that, such was the interest and numbers of people come to look.
The square was packed with display cars while the ioniq from Nelson and the GVI Gen-2 Gold-Leaf were on the street giving drives. Interestingly kids were dragging their parents across the street to look at the “e-cars” and there were plenty of curious adults as well. Liza must have either chosen the perfect spot to hold the event or done a lot of prior advertising.
Many giveaways were taken and our expertise stretched with a variety of questions. Chelsea and Fiona had their ear bent for half an hour by one over-curious punter.
And then all too soon, it was time to pack up and head off to Picton. We said goodbye to David and family who were heading home to Nelson and with our enlarged contingent of eight vehicles, we boarded the ferry for an ever-so-slightly washing machine style crossing.
There were a few moments of excitement as a couple of cars moved during the crossing way too close to one of the Teslas. But otherwise the crossing was uneventful and our "modest" accommodation in Lower Hutt easy to reach within 20 minutes, even in rush hour, and hopefully easy to exit Wellington for tomorrow's full day of events and sightseeing in the Wairarapa.
Day Nineteen: 15 April Orion
Another day, another dog. Well three actually.
Back to EVs. Today the road trippers called into the Orion offices in Burnside, to lend their EVs in a display for local fleet managers. Orion are certainly leading the charge in EV fleets, with a definite PHEVolution going on, not to mention a healthy dose of Kona. My little i3 looks a bit like Where's Wally in amongst them, while the Jones' Outlander looks right at home, although perhaps a little less formally dressed.
We enjoyed coffee and muffins, and after the event, while some of us dashed off to spread the charging load, the others took the opportunity to have a walk-through the Orion control room. It was certainly another fascinating industry tour but into a lines company this time, as opposed to Meridian at Manapouri who are generators. And, a valuable furthering of our education of the electricity industry.
At this point, we are saying goodby to road trippers Oana and Paul and Henry who are heading back to Dunedin. However, are have two new cars on the road trip and our numbers are now at 17 people in 8 cars.
After a gruelling trip up the coast - my i3 rolled into both Kaikoura and Blenheim emitting polluting emissions from its scooter generator - highlighting that low-mid range EVs do need charger support on either side of Kaikoura. Tomorrow (16th) will bring the last Mainland event and is being held from 10:00 - 12 midday in Blenheim.
Click the read more link below to see the previous days' diaries.