100 years of elec­tric mo­tor­ing

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RICHARD MAYS

Drive Elec­tric week cul­mi­nated in a low-key way in The Square on Satur­day, largely due to the weather.

Or­gan­ised by The Bet­ter NZ Trust in co-or­di­na­tion with the En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity to pro­mote elec­tric ve­hi­cles, re­new­able en­ergy and low emis­sions, a ‘Pa­rade, Park and Ride’ event saw a small pro­ces­sion of elec­tric ve­hi­cles cir­cle The Square in the rain, be­fore park­ing so mem­bers of the the pub­lic could in­spect the cars and ques­tion their own­ers.

The pa­rade was led out by a 100-year-old elec­tric ve­hi­cle, a 1916 tiller-steered Detroit town car, pop­u­larised in Dis­ney comics as Grandma Duck’s ‘‘li’l ol’ elec­tric’’.

Owner Brian Rank­ine, who towed the vet­eran EV on a car trailer, said the Detroit was also the car favoured by Clara Ford, wife of mo­tor mag­nate Henry.

‘‘She didn’t drive a Ford. Elec- tric cars were pop­u­lar with women be­cause they didn’t need to be cranked to start.’’

In 1900 there were more elec­tric ve­hi­cles on the road than there were petrol-pow­ered ve­hi­cles.

Apart from the Detroit, the pa­rade’s five Nis­san Leafs, two city coun­cil Toy­ota Prius and a Mit­subishi Out­lander plug-in hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cles, were barely dis­tin­guish­able from any mod­ern fos­sil fuel pow­ered ve­hi­cle.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIR­FAX NZ.

Brian Rank­ine’s 84 volt DC 1916 Detroit elec­tric car was on dis­play in The Square along­side mod­ern Nis­san Leafs.

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