PRESS RELEASE 1 March 2017

Wellington region high school students will get the chance to design and build their own electric vehicles, thanks to a new programme launching on 6 March.

The EVolocity electric vehicle programme will be launched at WelTec from 4:30pm to 7pm, with a race to build an electric-assist bike.

Rob McEwen, Executive Director of EVolocity, says the programme has a couple of key objectives. “It’s partly about opening young people’s eyes to the possibility of engineering careers. But it’s also about turning the next generation of drivers onto electric vehicles so that when they’re ready to buy their first car, they already understand how electric vehicles work and what their performance and environmental benefits are.”

EVolocity is supported in the Wellington region by major sponsors Wellington Electricity and WelTec. Greg Skelton, CEO of Wellington Electricity, says offering their support was a no-brainer. “As an organisation that is keen to promote Electric Vehicles and hires a lot of electrical engineers, we jumped at the opportunity to help support high school students experience engineering as an exciting career choice. Plus, when electric vehicles are charged overnight, which is in fact when most charging is programmed to be done, it is making better utilisation of infrastructure that is already in place and that’s good for us and good for our customers,” says Skelton.

Graham Carson, Head of Engineering at WelTec, says that EVolocity is a great example of project-based learning in schools, and that being a sponsor gives WelTec an opportunity to showcase their facilities and expertise to the participants and to get youth thinking about how exciting a future in engineering can be. “Today, with all of the health and safety regulations, a lot of engineering takes place behind closed doors and is not accessible to youth. EVolocity makes it both accessible and exciting,” says Carson.

EVolocity is working with Wellington’s Sustainability Trust to facilitate the regional programme. This will means participants will learn about the sustainability advantages of electric transportation while also being exposed to broader aspects of sustainability. 

Engineering mentors for the school teams will be sourced through Futureintech, an initiative of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand.

All of the Councils in the Wellington region are also supporting EVolocity. Upper Hutt City Council, Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council, Kāpiti Coast District Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council. “We couldn’t have launched EVolocity in the Wellington region without this support,” says Rob. “It is a testament to the sustainability ethos of the broader region,” McEwen adds.

Launch Event Agenda

4:30: School teams arrive, each bringing a mountain bike. They are supplied with an electric motor kits and a briefing, and then compete to see who can get their bike going under electric power in the shortest time.

5:30: Other invitees and press arrive. (NOTE: This is an RSVP only event – RSVP to Thom@sustaintrust.org.nz). Light refreshments served.

6:00 – 6:45: Presentations

6:45 – 7:00: Q&A

 

Media contact: Caryn Ellis 0273014674 or caryn.ellis@wandw.ac.nz