The mo­tor­ing fu­ture is elec­tric

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

‘‘I don’t want to give it back!’’

Amy Roper had just driven into The Square in a BMW i3. The elec­tric pow­ered city car, with its quirky rear-hinged back doors, and able to do 0 – 100kmh in seven sec­onds, was named the 2015 AA Car of the Year.

Amy was part of last week’s elec­tric ve­hi­cle (EV) con­voy that stopped off in The Square dur­ing a length of the country pro­mo­tional tour.

‘‘It’s id­iot-proof,’’ Amy says. ‘‘it’s eas­ier to drive than an au­to­matic.’’

She was not look­ing for­ward to hav­ing to hand the demon­stra­tion model back when the Bet­ter NZ Trust ‘Lead­ing the Charge’ road­show was over at the end of the month.

MPs and city coun­cil­lors joined a small but cu­ri­ous crowd to check out the lat­est in trans­port op­tions as they rolled in – late as it hap­pened be­cause of in­ter­est shown in the cars up the line.

Amy’s BMW was joined by three 2015 Tesla S mod­els, and a Mit­subishi Out­lander, while lo­cal own­ers of Out­landers and Nis­san Leaf EVs were on hand to talk about their ve­hi­cles.

New Zealand’s first all-elec­tric rub­bish truck made by Palmer­ston North’s Zero Emis­sion Ve­hi­cles and owned by the Kapiti District Coun­cil also turned up, with com­pany di­rec­tor An­drew Rushworth keen to talk about the ve­hi­cle’s de­vel­op­ment and po­ten­tial.

Mayor Grant Smith says it would be great to have EV in the coun­cil’s fleet but ve­hi­cle pro­cure­ment largely went through cen­tral govern­ment.

Grant called on lo­cal MPs to talk about widen­ing the scope of lo­cal govern­ment’s choices to in­clude fully elec­tric ve­hi­cles, and he’d like to see at least one or two EVs in ev­ery lo­cal coun­cil’s fleet.

Co-or­di­na­tor for the Palmer­ston North leg of the rally, Sue Pug­mire says it was a shame The Square’s new EV fast charger wasn’t ready in time, but the cars were able to recharge us­ing the City Coun­cil’s con­cert and events power boxes. The charger will even­tu­ally be sited on the Plaza quad­rant near iSite.

The stop-over Sue says was a great op­por­tu­nity to find out more about the plug-in (PEV) and emis­sion-free EVs from their driv­ers.

‘‘It’s id­iot-proof . . . it’s eas­ier to drive than an au­to­matic.’’

–Amy Roper

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIRFAX NZ

Cu­ri­ous Palmy-nauts check out a Tesla Model S elec­tric car at the ‘‘Lead­ing the Charge’’ plug-in elec­tric ve­hi­cles stop-over in The Square last week.

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