Batman leads the charge for electric cars in Masterton’s town square on Wednesday. PHOTO/SUPPLIED.

Major advances in EV charging infrastructure

EMMA BROWN
emma.brown@age.co.nz

Electric vehicles took over Masterton town square on Wednesday as Better NZ Trust brought its Leading the Charge Great EV Road Trip to town.

The fifth Leading the Charge road trip is taking a group of three electric vehicles on a 5500km trip around New Zealand.

The trip is aimed to educate and show the benefits of EV to people who have not got one and those who do.

Better NZ Trust chairwoman Kathryn Trounson says the road trip has become a very popular event for EV users and for people who are wanting to know more.

“It is a fun and easy way for people to find out everything they ever wanted to know about electric vehicles and to get a chance to drive or ride in a variety of electric vehicles for free,” she said

The increase of interest in EV is growing with over 13,000 registered EVs on our roads, an increase of 10,000 cars in the past two years.

The Government’s EV programme has a goal to increase the number to approximately 64,000 on our roads by the end of 2021.

Trounson found it surprising how many EV owners were lacking in knowledge to get the most out of their cars. During the road trip they have downloaded the PlugShare App, an app which shows all the charging stations around the country, many times.

Trounson said the idea was for people to talk to drivers who use EVs every day, rather than selling cars.

“We will tell you what it is like as people who drive EV cars for everyday life”.

The group wants to make people aware of the advantages for the environment and for the pocket. She said people often enjoyed driving them more as they are smoother and quieter.

Trounson hoped to educate people on how easy it is to use an EV and that distance is not a problem.

“Charging infrastructure has come along spectacularly,” she said.

She explained how owning an EV requires a different way of thinking.

“Charging on a fast charge can only be 15 minutes – that’s a coffee. You plan your trips to maybe go passed a café or stop off and get lunch near where there is a charging station.”

Wellington man Brian Smillie said he started off sharing a Nissan Leaf, then it ended up being a competition who could get the car first in the morning.

“Once you’ve driven an EV it’s hard to go back,” he said.

“The sound [of a non-EV] is clunky, and the feel is clunky. There is no comparison.”

The trip is supported and funded by the Energy and Efficiency Conservation Authority.

“We are in a way an education arm of the government, at grass roots level,” Trounson said.