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All charged up – cars, bicycles and motorbikes

A state-of-the-art line-up of electric vehicles – including a 200kmh sports car - bicycles, scooters and motorcycles will be on show as part of Electric Vehicle Day at Te Papa tomorrow (Wednesday 20 June).

Electric Vehicle Day is an initiative of Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and is supported by local electric vehicle businesses and owners.

On display will be the first electric sports car in New Zealand - a Tesla roadster capable of 200kmh – along with Mitsubishi iMiEVs, the Nissan Leaf, an electric motorbike, a number of scooters and bicycles. It is a free public event and there will be an opportunity to test-drive electric-assist bikes.

The event coincides with a workshop on electric vehicles run by the APEC Expert Group on New and Renewable Energy Technologies (EGNRET). The workshop, also at Te Papa on Wednesday, is being organised by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

The APEC workshop will share the results of an APEC funded research project that EECA is leading. The workshop will also consider how to harmonise policy and standards to improve the distribution of EVs across national boundaries. APEC economies and interested parties will be invited to have their say on the research results and outcome of the workshop.

The first all-electric vehicles in New Zealand – Mitsubishi i-MiEV cars – have been running around Wellington streets as part of the two-year electricar trial run by Wellington City Council. Trial participants included the Council, New Zealand Post, The Wellington Company and Meridian Energy. The trial started in September 2010 and now involves eight of the cars.

A survey of user perceptions found overwhelming support for the vehicles. Further findings and experiences from the trial will be presented at the workshop. The workshop is a closed session that will cover EV progress around the world, EV trial results from NZ and Australia, Induction Charging technology, and a manufacturers update.

EVs are rapidy gaining popularity and Electric Vehicle Day is an opportunity for Wellingtonians and APEC workshop delegates to check out a range of vehicles first hand. The Government has extended the current exemption for light electric motor vehicles from the requirement to pay road user charges, from 2013 to 2020.

The Tesla electric sports car has been imported from the US by its owner, Ian Mirandah of Wellington, and is the only one of its type

“With our short travelling distance and abundant renewable energy electric vechicles (EVs) are a good transport choice in Wellington,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

“For anyone who’s deterred from cycling by headwinds or steep hills, an electric-assist bike is a great help.

“This event is in excellent opportunity for the public take a closer look and maybe test drive an electric bike.

“The Council and its business partners are keen to see the uptake of electric transport technologies, which exist now in the market and cover a range of vehicle types and prices.

“I am determined that Wellington takes the lead in encouraging EV technologies for businesses and individuals. We are doing this a number ways – promoting the continuation of the trolley bus network, maintaining an electric car presence in the Council vehicle fleet, investigating electric bikes for official Council use, developing and presenting the business case for electric vehicles, investigating infrastructure requirements for EVs and assisting in the uptake of electric vehicles in corporate fleets.”

As part of Electric Vehicle Day, the film Revenge of the Electric Car will be shown at Te Papa at 12.15pm and 6.45pm. Entry is by gold coin donation to cover costs. This film on the global resurgence of electric cars featured as the opening production at the recent Documentary Edge Festival in Wellington.