Big plug for plugged-in city

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY - RICHARD MAYS

As elec­tric ve­hi­cles be­come more vi­able and pop­u­lar, Palmer­ston North is up for two na­tional com­men­da­tions.

The city has been nom­i­nated for the EV Friendly Town award at the evWorld Con­ven­tion and Show­case in Auck­land this week, along­side Manawatu elec­tric ve­hi­cle ad­vo­cate Sue Pug­mire, who has been nom­i­nated for the New Zealand EV Cham­pion award.

Con­fer­ence or­gan­iser Dee West, of Auck­land com­mu­ni­ca­tions agency Solpr said both Palmer­ston North and Pug­mire were awards cat­e­gory fi­nal­ists.

‘‘The town award cov­ers a range of EV-friendly cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing charg­ing fa­cil­i­ties, park­ing, in­for­ma­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and out­reach.’’

West said the EV Cham­pion award would go to some­one who had shown com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing the up­take of elec­tric ve­hi­cles in New Zealand.

‘‘Sue is a to­tal EV rock­star who has been pro­mot­ing EVs for years. She has in­tro­duced elec­tric ve­hi­cles to ev­ery­one she knows, and now mem­bers of her fam­ily and her friends are driv­ing them,’’ West said.

‘‘Sue and [hus­band] Ralph were the first Nis­san Leaf own­ers in Manawatu. She has or­gan­ised the an­nual New Zealand EV Tour wel­come in Palmer­ston North and the Drive Elec­tric Week events.

Pug­mire had also in­spired the sup­port for elec­tric ve­hi­c­less from city mayor Grant Smith along with the Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil. That sup­port is re­flected in Palmer­ston North’s EV Friendly Town nom­i­na­tion.

Pug­mire was stoked at the recog­ni­tion for the city and for her work rais­ing the pro­file and aware­ness of elec­tric cars.

‘‘I put the case for a fast charger in The Square and worked with mayor Grant Smith, [for­mer city coun­cil] chief ex­ec­u­tive Paddy Clif­ford, Char­genet, Pow­erco and coun­cil staff to make it hap­pen,’’ Pug­mire said.

This year’s Drive Elec­tric Week events be­gin on Satur­day with a Dis­play and Ride event in The Square, with elec­tric ve­hi­cle own­ers talk­ing about their cars and tak­ing peo­ple for rides.

There will be a sim­i­lar op­por­tu­nity in The Square on Satur­day, Septem­ber 16, and dur­ing the week at an on-cam­pus event at Massey Univer­sity, with talks from ex­perts on the elec­tric ve­hi­cle ‘‘revo­lu­tion’’ and on climate change at Cac­cia Birch.

PHOTO: WARWICK SMITH/STUFF

A gath­er­ing of Nis­san Leaf elec­tric car own­ers in The Square last year.

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