Hot on the heels being named the Friendliest EV Town of the Year, Whangārei is now the first city in the world to launch Drive Electric Week.
The little town that could is again leading the charge with a week that began in the United States several years ago to promote the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) but has now gone fully global.
Whangārei's Drive Electric Week runs from today until September 16. Last month, Whangārei was named the most the most electric vehicle friendly-town in New Zealand in the EVworld NZ Champions Award in Auckland.
"We have always punched above our weight in Whangārei, and throughout Northland too, because of a dedicated team of EV enthusiasts, proactive local bodies and local businesses who keep the ball rolling," says EV advocate Joe Camuso, who works for Northland Regional Council, which has 12 EVs in its fleet.
By virtue of being on the right side of the dateline and starting the week locally at 7am today, Camuso said Whangārei is effectively kicking off the week internationally "and that's quite a big deal because organisers of events in other countries are often keen to know how we get on".
That first event, from 7am-10am at Whangārei Growers' Market, will be a display of EVs, with EV owners on tap to answer questions and offer test drives.
Evie, a classic 1957 Ford Fairlane with an electric makeover, made world-famous in New Zealand by Mercury Energy's television adverts, is parked up at Pacific Motor Group in Porowini Ave and will be there until 5pm today.
People are encouraged to take a pic with Evie to share and tag Mercury on Facebook or Instagram with #DriveWonderful.
There's also, a week-long EV display in the Forum North foyer at Whangārei District Council, where the Friendliest EV Town award will take pride of place. Other events are:
■ Today, 10.30am to 12.30pm: Drive to Totara Cafe at 11 Wairau Drive, Tikipunga, for a morning tea and chat about EVs "and why they so important for NZ to be able to meet the Paris climate-change targets for reducing CO2 emissions".
"New Zealand's power grid is approximately 85 per cent renewable and closer to 95 per cent renewable at night when most EV charging occurs," Camuso says.
■ Wednesday 5.30pm-7.30pm: An After 5 event offering updates on latest innovations, such as ultra-fast chargers, long-range EVs, and vehicle-to-grid technology.
■ Saturday, September 15, 7am-10am: EVs on display again at Whangārei Growers' Market and EV owners available to answer questions and give test drives.