© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Christchurch: Most electric vehicle friendly town in New Zealand

Dan O'Connor
Rob Dickinson EV
Rob Dickinson's electric vehicle  Rob Dickinson (supplied)

Christchurch has picked up the award for being the most electric vehicle friendly town at the EVworld NZ Champions Award gala held on August 2 at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.

City Council resource and efficiency manager Kevin Crutchley said the award was great for Christchurch as it recognises the hard work done by various organisations.

“These organisations have really made a difference in the uptake of electric vehicles…and that ranges from helping charging stations to be implemented to a number of initiatives taken by the Council,” said Crutchley.

Crutchley is also a supporter of the Christchurch EV Facebook group which has over 1000 members.

“They’re a really active and interesting group…they share ideas and meet up…and that’s great for the community”

The Red Bus company now have three electric buses which run between the City and the Airport which is estimated to save over 100 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Orion, the city's electricity network provider, has also worked with the Council to help implement charging stations.

Anthea Madill started a sustainability education business a year ago and decided to invest in an electric vehicle.

“It seemed like an obvious choice – it wouldn’t be a very good look if we were turning up to run workshops on how to save the planet in an old petrol car,” said Madill.

“Christchurch is an amazing city for driving an electric vehicle as it is quite flat, which means you can go 4-5 days without needing a recharge”

Anthea Madill's electric vehicle Anthea Madill (supplied)

Electric vehicle user Brent Silby said he wanted to do whatever he could to help reduce emissions.

“I see petrol as being a thing of the past. It was very useful, historically, but I can’t see much future in it,” said Silby.

“Regardless of climate change, oil is not going to last forever. So I figure now is a good time to transition away from it”

Silby said that based on the trends we have seen in Christchurch we will see more electric vehicles on the streets in the next 10 years.

“There will be a greater variety of cars too. We are seeing most car brands starting to focus on producing electric alternatives to their popular models. I think this trend will increase”

Brent Silby's Nissan Leaf Brent Silby (supplied)

Another electric vehicle user Rob Dickinson said that environmental concerns were his top priority, both in local air quality and global climate change.

“[In the future] there will be a scramble to build better electric vehicles and batteries,” said Dickinson.

Robert Gomez a member of the Christchurch EV Facebook group said that chargers needed to be everywhere and visible like petrol stations so people realise there is a viable alternative [to petrol].