All abuzz about electric cars

By David Thomson on Sat, 2 Sep 2017

Last weekend's focus on electric cars seems to have garnered a positive response. In response to feedback, I'd like to draw attention in this editorial to a looming electric car event of local, and perhaps even national significance.

Next Sunday, local owners of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are meeting at the Forsyth Barr Stadium car park in a bid to set a New Zealand record for a gathering of such vehicles. Their aim is around 200 EV and plug- in hybrids. This would double the previous record of 100 such cars assembled set in Christchurch.

The gathering is one of several events the local electric car community has planned for International Drive Electric Week, which runs from September 9 to 17. Further details of the record attempt appear in the shortcuts column on this page, and we will provide details of other planned drive electric week events in next weekend's Drivesouth.

Another piece of recent electric car news comes from the Automobile Association and the New Zealand Guild of Motoring Writers. These are the two partner organisations behind this country's annual NZ Car of the Year (NZCOTY) awards, and they have decided to add a new category - electric vehicle/plug- in hybrids - for the 2017 awards.

Switching from the electric car future to the here-and-now of motorsport, last weekend's Rally Coromandel has done little to throw light on who are the top contenders for this year's national rally championship crown.

After four of the six rounds, Rangiora's Matt Summerfield has won two events, but he now trails the consistently quick Andrew Hawkeswood in overall standings, despite the latter not having won an event yet. Former champions Ben Hunt and Dave Holder, and Otago's own Rhys Gardner are the other top placed drivers. All five remain in contention for the championship crown with two events still to run.

The next of these events is the Waitomo Rally in mid-October, but we are almost certainly going to have to wait for the late-November season finale - Rally NZ - for the title to finally be decided. T

his will, I think, be the latest finish to a national rally championship season. One of the consequences of this is that the 2017 championship, which opened here in Dunedin back in April, has been spread over eight months. This has some benefits in terms of preparation time between events for competitors, but as a media-friendly public spectacle, it does leave the championship rather robbed of momentum.

David Thomson