The weather Gods turned on a glorious Hawke’s Bay morning for us as we prepared to leave Gisborne for the East Cape leg of the Better NZ Trust Leading The Charge EV Road Trip 2021.
Gisborne to Te Kaha, 260km.
This was the 5th day of a trip, somewhat curtailed due to Covid, that had started in Taupo. Our remaining crew consisted of myself (Margaret Baker in EEEVEE the famous Hyundai Kona), Peter Karl (Tesla Model 3), Mark Buckingham (Tesla Model 3) and his daughter Snow (5), Tim Gutteridge and Phil Pingram (Tesla Model X) and Jasper the dog (English Pointer).
We started the day with a short drive to the top of the Titirangi Scenic Reserve and the WWII Gun Emplacement for spectacular views of the bay, Young Nick’s Head, Mahia Peninsula and beyond. By now it was well and truly time for breakfast so we popped in to Zephyr Wainui for what was the healthiest meal we had eaten all trip - and delicious. And vegan.
The drive out to the Cape took us through sweeping countryside dotted with farms and orchards, dramatic bush clad hills - and roadworks. There are also a few EV chargers along the way so we set out to find them.
The first is (was) at Tolaga Bay, 54km out of Gisborne, but has been out of action for a long time with a new one apparently planned. There was no point in stopping there so we carried on to Tokomaru Bay, 35km up the road, which was in perfect working order. A couple of us grabbed a few quick electrons there and the rest carried on around the cape. Mark took a short detour to the Ruatoria charger, 39km away, and we regrouped at Te Araroa, 79km from Tokomaru Bay. The beach at Te Araroa is covered with driftwood and lovely flat stones (a few of which came home with me!) and the charger was working.
Along the way we had kept in touch with Peter and Arlene Hewett who were on a round trip from Gisborne and had gone on ahead of us. They checked in at each of the chargers and kept us posted with what was working. We Stopped for lunch just out of Te Araroa at East Cape Manuka Cafe who also produce a range of Manuka oil products and Manuka tea. Peter and Arlene had got there just before us so it was great to have a decent catch up with them before they headed off in their Model 3 to complete the loop via Opotiki back to Gisborne through the Waioeka Gorge.
From Te Araroa we carried on to our destination for the night, and the official end of the Road Trip, Te Kaha Resort. The coastline was stunning and we wound our way in and out of beautiful pohutukawa lined bays, stopping at Waihau Bay for a beach break. Snow drew pictures in the sand while Jasper had a good old gallop around. We arrived at Te Kaha, formed an orderly queue at the 50Kw charger and prepared ourselves for dinner.
This was the longest stretch between chargers on East Cape, 92km from Te Araroa, so a bit of a challenge for anyone in an older Leaf - without an overnight stay or long, slow charge somewhere. The lack of charging at Tologa Bay would also prove problematic for short range cars until the charger is replaced.
After a few days of blue skies and sunshine, we awoke to a wild and wet morning for the start of our journeys home. Tim and Phil had another night booked in at their B&B, so we had said our good byes after dinner, and Mark and Snow had gone on to Opotiki for the night. Peter and I headed off and met up with them in Opotiki for breakfast and then we were in our assorted directions as the clouds lifted and the sun reappeared.
My personal journey, door to door was 1860km. I paid $36.39 for charging (incl what I left home with) which works out at roughly 1.95c per km = $1.95 per 100km and I averaged 7km per kWh.
I also had free charge top-ups (and they were just top-ups, not fills, apart from Te Kaha) at Taupiri, Greenwoods (love you guys), Gisborne, Te Kaha and Te Kauwhata which of course contributes greatly to my cost per km.
The official Road Trip, Taupo to Te Kaha was 904km.