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Annual 5,000 kilometre EV road trip to stop at iconic Hawke’s Bay locations

Chelsea Sexton at Unison’s Fast Charger in Taupo, July 2017.

A group of eight electric vehicle (EV) enthusiasts, driving 5,000 kilometres across New Zealand, will be stopping at iconic Hawke’s Bay locations on Monday 26 March.

The ‘Leading the Charge’ convoy began their journey in Bluff on 14 March and will stop at Havelock North, Te Mata Peak and the Napier Sound Shell.  Their journey ends in Cape Reinga on 3 April.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said Unison will be organising events at Havelock North and the Napier Sound Shell when the convoy stops in Hawke’s Bay as part of the Company’s continued focus on supporting customers with their energy choices.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to find out more about EVs, see a wide range of electric vehicles, chat to EV drivers and even go for a drive,” Mr Gough said.

The convoy will include vehicles such as the Hyundai IONIQ, a BMW i3, Nissan Leafs and a few Teslas, amongst other EVs.

The annual road trip, which started in 2015, is to prove that driving an EV long-distance, using 100 percent electric power, is possible with today’s charging infrastructure.
This year the drivers are out to encourage more kiwis to drive an EV.

Prominent US electric car advocate and advisor, Chelsea Sexton, is joining the trip again this year. She said giving people the opportunity to see an EV, talk to those who drive them or drive an EV themselves is the most effective way to encourage drivers to consider an EV as their next purchase.

“For 20 years we have been calling it ‘getting more butts in seats’. Universally the reaction to EVs by those who haven’t seen or driven them before is ‘oh goodness it’s just like a REAL car.’ They totally are, and in many cases they are better!” Ms Sexton said.

Mr Gough said, “The number of EVs in Hawke’s Bay is steadily rising, demonstrating how quickly the clean technology is developing. Total EV numbers by owner’s location for our region are now at 117, an increase of 227 percent from 2016-2017 (source: Ministry of Transport).

“Since May last year, Unison has installed three fast chargers and has been working closely with our neighbouring lines company, Eastland, to install more fast chargers in northern Hawke’s Bay and around the East Cape,” Mr Gough said.

Regional and local council support across Hawke’s Bay has allowed Unison to continue its establishment of fast-chargers throughout the region.

EV owners, enthusiasts or anyone interested in seeing an EV are invited to come along to the following Leading the Charge events in Hawke’s Bay:

Havelock North
Cars on show
11.30am – 1.00pm
20 Te Aute Road (next to Porters Hotel)

Te Mata Peak
EV owners convoy up Te Mata Peak
2.00pm – 2.45pm

Public event with rides and drives available
4.00pm – 6.00pm
Napier Sound Shell

For further information about Leading the Charge visit: http://www.leadingthecharge.org.nz/. Those interested in learning more about electric vehicles or Unison’s Power Park charging stations can visit www.unison.co.nz/electric-vehicle-charging.

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