The final leg of an electric vehicle journey around the world took place in our very own region.
On Friday 19 July the iconic Bluff signpost was the finish line for Wiebe Wakker’s 100,000km low emission journey, which first began in the Netherlands in 2016.
To celebrate this achievement, Great South Business Advisor and Carbon Neutral Advantage project lead Isabel Huther organised an electric vehicle welcoming committee.
“Wiebe’s journey is not only a positive example of how far you can travel using low emission transport options but also highlights the importance of individuals, businesses and communities becoming more environmentally aware,” Huther said.
With Wakker engaging with sustainable initiatives, companies and organisations around the world on his travels, Huther was able to share with him information about Southland’s Carbon Neutral Advantage project.
“Like Wiebe’s journey, the Carbon Neutral Advantage project is about encouraging the adoption of low emission transport options and supporting our community to transition to a low emission future,” she said.
To help celebrate the completion of the 100,000km journey, Huther organised a fleet of electric vehicles to welcome Wiebe in Bluff including vehicles from PowerNet, Deputy Invercargill City Council Mayor Rebecca Amundsen and members of the community.
“The number of electric vehicles showcased the commitment of the Southland region to sustainable practices and a thriving future,” she said.
Before completing his journey to Bluff, Wiebe charged his 2009 Volkswagen Golf Station Wagon at the AC charging station at the Invercargill Warehouse.
The Warehouse signalled its commitment to sustainable practices in 2017 with the installation of the AC charger and to further enhance this, is now a member of the Carbon Neutral Advantage Advisory Group.
Chief Sustainability Officer for The Warehouse Group David Benattar said both decisions were about taking the lead and using every available way to combat climate change.
“We know one of the barriers to EV use is the charging station infrastructure, which is why we are working on building and expanding that in parallel with own our fleet,” he said.
The Warehouse joins the New Zealand Aluminum Smelter, Fonterra, PowerNet, Real Journeys, HW Richardson Group, Rayonier and the Energy, Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) as governance representatives for the Carbon Neutral Advantage project.
Huther said it was great to have such a wide range of sectors, industries and communities involved.
“Together, we will drive competitive advantage for local businesses and help create a healthy environment for now and future generations,” she said.