Big plug for plugged-in city
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.
A gathering of Nissan Leaf electric car owners in The Square last year.