Electric vehicle fleet leaves today

Rise of the EV . . . Dunedin EV Group co-convener Pam McKinlay and electric car owner James Brundell, both of Dunedin, with their Nissan Leafs in St Kilda on Tuesday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A fleet of electric vehicles is set to convoy across the length of the nation from today including a stop in Dunedin to highlight the “huge advances” in EV charging infrastructure and ownership.

Dunedin EV Group co-convener Pam McKinlay said she bought a 2012 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle because it was great for the environment, economical and “amazing” to drive.

An electric vehicle road trip leaves Cape Reinga today and will travel down State Highway 1, stopping in Dunedin for a series of Dunedin EV Group events between April 9 and 12.

The fifth annual Leading the Charge trip, a project of Better NZ Trust, would highlight the “huge advances” in EV charging infrastructure and ownership, Mrs McKinlay said.

A series of Dunedin events begins with all local EV owners being invited to welcome the fleet at Mosgiel New World car park from 4pm on Tuesday, April 9.

Dunedin EV car owners would be available to answer questions about driving an EV across the district.

“Find out how these cars work and why we love them.”

The next day, a range of EVs would be on display in the Octagon between 10am and 2pm.

The public could meet the drivers on the trip and ask questions of EV owners from Dunedin.

“Join us for some EV myth-busting, to learn how to charge, use EV apps and more.”

On the same day, two events were being held at Otago Museum.

The fleet would be on display outside Otago Museum between 3pm and 5.30pm before a free family-friendly screening of the documentary Revenge of the Electric Car with a Q&A session by a producer of the film, Chelsea Sexton. Film tickets at Eventbrite.

On April 11, the fleet would visit tourist attractions including the Royal Albatross Centre and Orokonui Ecosanctuary to highlight how lowering emissions positively impacts on the environment.

For the the final Dunedin event, drivers in the fleet and local EV drivers were invited to Waitati to travel to Palmerston on the morning of Friday, April 12.

James Brundell, of Dunedin, said he bought his 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car three years ago.

“I took a leap of faith and haven’t looked back.”

Using an app, he had tracked the amount of money he had saved from not having to buy petrol since he owned his EV. He had saved nearly $5700, after adding the cost of electricity to charge his car, Dr Brundell said. Mrs McKinley said she used to pay about $80 a week to run her petrol car but now paid $12 a week to charge her car.

The amount she had saved was enough to pay for the cost of her black 2012 Nissan Leaf.