Far North residents folk get the chance to test drive the latest electric vehicles, including high-performance Teslas next week.
On Tuesday the Far North’s Crimson Coast Electric Vehicle Highway will be officially opened in Kerikeri and there will be a range of electric vehicles (EVs) on hand for the launch.
The EVs and supporters will gather at the Countdown Kerikeri carpark on Butler Road from 4pm, many of them part of the annual Leading the Charge Road Trip from Bluff to Cape Reinga.
Kerikeri marks the final stop for the EV convoy before it heads north to complete the road trip on Wednesday.
The vehicles will be publicly available to view and test drive, and include Hyundai Ioniq, BMW i3, high performance Tesla S and X models, and a Nissan eNV-200 camper van.
The Crimson Coast EV Highway is being created in partnership by the Far North District Council, Northland Regional Council, Top Energy, ChargeNet and the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund administered by EECA. Together they have opened charging stations at Kaikohe, Kawakawa, Kaitaia and Kerikeri.
When the route is complete before the end of the year it will boast 10 charging stations in Kawakawa, Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Coopers Beach, Kaitaia, Houhora/Pukenui and Waitiki Landing.
The network means EV owners can easily drive the length of the Far North from Kawakawa to Te Rerenga Wairua and back again along either coast.
Far North District Councillor John Vujcich, who has been closely involved in the project, said the organisations worked closely together to bring much-needed infrastructure to the district.
“EV technology is moving quickly and EVs are now much more affordable. For the Far North, the final stumbling block for increased EV uptake is having enough charging stations in strategic locations,” Mr Vujcich said.
“The Crimson Coast EV Highway will go a long way to solving that issue and help increase the uptake of EVs across the district. This will help locals and visitors alike to explore and care for our great places in the Far North.”
Northland Regional Council has 10 EVs in its own fleet, and Chairman Bill Shepherd said it’s exciting to see the electric vehicle charging network opening up across the region.
“This project is a great example of how Northland is leading the charge, through working together, to also bring wider benefits to our regional economy and environment.”
Top Energy CEO Russell Shaw said Northland has been an early adopter of EV technology since opening New Zealand’s first fast-charging station in Whangarei in 2014.
“As the local electricity distributor and generator, we are prepared for the challenges and opportunities new technologies such as EVs present. With our partners we have solved one of the major concerns EV drivers have in remote areas — ‘range anxiety’,” Mr Shaw said.
“When the network is complete, EV drivers can be confident they will not run out of power before reaching the next charging station.”
EV vehicles can be viewed and driven at the Countdown Kerikeri carpark on Butler Road on Tuesday April 3 from 4pm.
The Crimson Coast EV Highway Launch will be held between 4-5pm.
■ The EVs hope to call in to Kaitaia on their way to the Cape, at the Kaitaia Eco Centre, near Te Ahu, from 10am on Wednesday, before the launch of Kaitaia’s EV charging station in the car park behind Te Ahu.
For details see the Eco Centre Kaitaia Facebook page.