Electrifying Conversations NZ

Electrifying Conversations NZ
  • Posted by: Elinor Chalmers
  • EVA Scotland | Meetings

After meeting the charismatic Dee West, Public Relations Manager of ChargeNet.NZ, at the filming for the Fully Charged Dundee episode I was delighted to accept the invitation to attend the Electrifying Conversations Road Show. Dee and her team hosted a small group of international thought leaders, to travel this island nation’s energy, tourism, and transport hotspots across the North Island.

Delegates included Phillipe Vangeel (General Secretary at AVERE - The European Association for Electric Vehicles which EVA Scotland is the only UK member of), Beth Lily Georgiou (ERA Championship), Richard Heeps Powertrip), Sergio Barron (Dynami) , Dave and Renata Boot (EV City- the New Zealand equivalent of Johnathan Porterfield of eco-cars!), James Williams (Hyundai New Zealand) and several local EV Champions.

The roadshow kicked off in Auckland and the convoy of Teslas (Model X (LOLGAS), S (QUIET) and a Model 3), the first 62kWh Nissan Leaf in New Zealand, a handful of Hyundai Konas, an Ioniq, an e-Golf and an EV80-LDV campervan headed to the Hobbiton.

The filmset tour given by the sustainability advisor talked the group through what they do now and in the future to be a more sustainable business.


The first two nights were spent in the geothermal hot spot of Rotorua. I was invited to speak at a networking breakfast with local Governmental agencies and other organisations
that are interested in electrification and sustainability. In the evening we were treated toa vit to Te Puia where we had a mouth-watering banquet of authentic Māori cuisine (kai) and marvel at the breath-taking beauty of the geothermal valley under lights. The traditional welcoming ceremony (pōwhiri) and intimate concert performance was incredible.

En-route to visit the Ohakuri Hydroelectric Power Station run by Mercury Energy we charged up at the ChargeNet rapid chargers along the way. The next stop was the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park where we allowed to take our EVs for a spin. I particularly enjoyed testing out the acceleration of the Model 3.

We then drove to witness the awesome power of the release of the Aratiatia Rapids which are part of the Mercury Energy network.

Our next backstage experience was at the Wairakei geothermal Power Station run by Contact Energy.

The evening was then spent relaxing at the Enterprise Great Lake Taupo Business networking event at Wairakei Resort where we Met local businesses with a sustainability focus and interest in what is happening domestically and internationally. We woke refreshed and ready to take on our most challenging drive from Taupo to New Plymouth via Turangi,

Taumarunui, Whangamomona along ‘The Forgotten Highway’. The Hyundai Kona we were travelling that day handled the conditions perfectly and the battery
performance was very efficient. Everyone made it to New Plymouth with plenty of charge with the only casualty being a tyre on one of the Konas.

The evening was spent taking part in Electrifying Conversations Dinner Panel: Diversity in Energy Sources- What the mix means to us? Panel members discussed
New Zealand’s future plans for expanding their renewable energy sector and also the controversial role hydrogen power may play.

The final drive of the trip was to Wellington with stops at Hawera and Whanganui. We then boarded a Tranzit electric bus which took us to the marina workshop of
Wellington Electric Boat Company who are developing the first electric ferry in the southern hemisphere.

Meridian Energy hosted the end of the roadshow party at their ​The Queens Wharf building, also known as Kumutoto, is a flagship for Meridian’s sustainable values and is New Zealand’s first purpose-built 5 Green Star rated office.

The convoy congregated for the last time at the New Zealand parliament. I had the opportunity to meet JulieAnne Greer, Green MP, Minster for women, Assoc Transport and Health. The timing was ideal as their Zero Carbon Bill had just been passed the previous day.

The delegates all said their goodbyes but we hope to reunite when the next roadshow planned for 2021 takes place in the South Island.

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