Civic was thrilled to be part of this year’s EVWorld NZ, New Zealand’s premier combined electric vehicle conference, held at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland in August. If you made it along you might have spotted our electric rubbish truck on display in the entrance!

Though still in its infancy, EVWorld NZ brought together the whole electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem and community to network, plan and discuss the future of zero emission transport in New Zealand, as well as to showcase some of the cool innovations and tech happening in this growing space.

We enjoyed both the industry and trade parts of the conference, and connected with loads of other electric vehicle converts, including representatives from Auckland Council, some big fleet operators, as well as plenty of small but clever companies marketing EV innovations.

One of the small companies that took our interest was Cube, a Hamilton-based business that, among other things, provides electric utility vehicles (eUVs) and electric motorbikes. They have little electric 4WDs, like a golf cart with tipping units on the back, that would be perfect for our litter collectors to drive into parks and reserves. And they cost around two-thirds of the cost of a petrol or diesel ute, so they are also cost effective. The company also has three-wheeler electric motorbikes with small carriers on the back. It’s a really exciting small business and we definitely want to explore the relationship with them further.

There was a lot of industry talk around the need for continued growth in businesses that can service electric vehicles, for example charging systems, charging apps, plug and power management firms and billing payments and systems. We checked out some of the great new technologies that already exist, and we expect to see loads more in the future.

There was also some good discussions around efficient charging systems for EVs, for example, where EVs are charged on the network and then at the end of the day when you plug it back in, that power goes back into the network. With our Civic EVs, staff can take them home and we reimburse them for the cost of charging them, or they can do it at the charging points at the depot. We can also charge into the Vector fast-charging stations, where you get 80 per cent charge in 20 minutes, rather than eight hours. There are plenty of other free ones around the country at the moment too.

We were also interested in a talk by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) about the next round of funding for EVs, and will be considering putting forward an application. EECA has an interest in promoting the uptake of EVs and this year has focused on getting diesel vehicles off our New Zealand roads.

The EV Champions Awards was the awards component of the event and recognised individuals, businesses and communities, across five different categories, doing exceptional work in this area. Civic was pleased to be nominated as a finalist in the Fleet Champion of the Year category.

The final day of the EVWorld NZ conference (11 August) was a Public Day Expo and it was great to see a good number of curious visitors coming through who were eager to learn more about EVs and technologies, and experience the different types of vehicles in all their current forms. We look forward to watching the conference evolve as the focus on sustainable transport in New Zealand continues to build.