The mysteries of electric cars were revealed to Whanganui car enthusiasts on Tuesday when the Leading The Charge roadshow rolled into town.

Organised by the Better New Zealand Trust, the roadshow consisted of four privately-owned electric vehicles which had been driven from Bluff by their owners, stopping in towns and cities to educate people about the benefits of electric cars.

The four cars were a Nissan Leaf, a Hyundai Ioniq, a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and a Tesla Model S.

Carl Barlev is the owner of the Tesla Model S and one of the trustees of the Better New Zealand Trust. Mr Barlev co-founded the trust with Steve West as a way of bringing electric vehicles to New Zealand, and educating New Zealanders about electric vehicles.


Mr West is also the founder of ChargeNet, a company which provides charging stations throughout the country. Mr Barlev said there were 50 charging station nationwide. There aren't currently any in Whanganui, but there is one in Mangaweka and one in Palmerston North.

"At a charging station, a car can be charged in as little as 40 minutes. Or you can plug it in in your garage overnight to charge it - it's very easy for daily use."

This is the third time the roadshow has toured the country, and Mr Barlev said attitudes towards electric cars are changing.

"It's been really interesting to see how the responses have changed. During our first roadshow there was a lot of scepticism. Now, in some places, we're getting thousands of people turning up."

Among the fascinated locals to attend the roadshow was Keith Beautrais - who came along on his bike - to have a look at the cars. He said was interested in buying one in the future.

"They're the way of the future, aren't they? I don't want to go with an internal combustion engine anyone for environmental reasons," Mr Beautrais said.