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