Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Castle. The Queen. And the Electric Vehicle.

If, like me, you think a great deal about the future of Christchurch beyond the rebuild, you'll be interested in EVolocity, a programme developed to spur innovation and skills development in the electric transport sector, and with lots of engagement already right here in Canterbury.

Sixteen Canterbury high school teams have participated in the EVolocity programme this year, as have CPIT, University of Canterbury, several local engineering firms including BVT and Powell Fenwick and a number of private electric vehicle enthusiasts like Air New Zealand engineer Simon Wilkinson who has built a 300 horsepower electric Falcon ute which he will race against a combustion XR8.

The programme culminates on November 29 & 30, and features three world record holding celebrities from the US and their unique vehicles.

On Saturday, November 29, you are invited to an exclusive function at an equally exclusive venue – Chapman Hall Castle in Tai Tapu. There, you will have an opportunity to meet the US celebrities including the fastest woman on a motorbike in the world (the queen of electric motorsport) and the owner of the quickest electric drag bike in the world – the bike goes from 0-100 in 1 second! These vehicles will be at the castle and available for viewing. They are both part of the Killacycle Racing Team.

A tour of the castle is offered at 3pm, with canap├ęs and cocktails along with brief presentations from the international celebrities starting at 4pm. A fund raising auction will also be held, with opportunities to bid on electric bicycles, electric scooters and electric cars, as well as such exotic options as being honorary pit crew for the Killacycle Racing Team at Bonneville. Tickets to the event are $150.

On November 30, a full day of electric motorsport is taking place at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, including performances from the US vehicles, combustion versus electric shootouts (think Ferrari 360 versus the Tesla Roadster Electric), NZ’s first Tesla S, electric motor bike and electric go kart competitions and of course the high school competitions. Kids under 18 are free – in keeping with EVolocity’s aim of exposing electric vehicle technology and opportunities to youth. 

Why do I feel it is important to support EVolocity?
  • Because it's an exciting new vehicle (excuse the pun) for getting kids interested in science, technology and engineering;
  • Because it has already created important bridges between high schools, tertiaries and the corporate sector right here in Canterbury;
  • Because it plays to Canterbury's strengths in engineering, ICT and niche manufacturing;
  • Because there are economic, environmental and social benefits. Economic in terms of innovation and export opportunities. Environmental in terms of improved air quality and reduced reliance on imported fossil fuels. And social in terms of skills development as well as ultimately, reduced health care costs brought about through exposure to vehicle emissions.
Please visit to learn more about the Chapman Castle function on November 29 and the Ruapuna event on November 30. And remember, this is a tangible and practical way to invest in our city’s future wellbeing. 

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