Te Ipukarea Society’s Kelvin Passfield spoke at the event discussing the advantages and challenges of running an electric vehicle in general.
Passfield stressed that EVs are the second best option of getting around after using your bicycle.
“Te Ipukarea Society is proud to have the only electric mini-truck operating on the island, but hope there will be many more to follow,” he said.
Manager of Royale Takitumu Tim Meyer said the EV owners meeting is a partnership between Royal Takitumu and Te Ipukarea Society.
In welcoming the guests, he mentioned that the resort directors John and Rose Dunn are both EV enthusiasts and this was the first meeting for Rarotonga.
“We are excited about spearheading the EV movement here on the island and are hoping to promote such vehicles and get others to join in,” Meyer said.
Jolene and Peter Hayes from Arcadia Retreat, Helen Henry, John Hay, Bill Carruthers, Matt and Adele de Beer from Cooks Oasis, Peter and Lesley Huckle, Gillian Frances of Magic Reef Bungalows and Nathan Matata from Raro Cars were some of the guests and electric vehicle owners who were at the forum.
Meyer said they estimated that there are about than 40 such vehicle owners on the island and the number is growing.
He said there are also several EVs in Aitutaki, and at least one in Atiu.
“EVs have zero emission and are a relatively green alternative to internal combustion engines. If an EV is charged with power generated through solar energy, then they are a good alternative. So, that needs to be the aim having a charging network based on solar here on the island.
“It was great having Nathan from Raro Cars here and discussing future challenges about replacing and recycling batteries for EVs. It was great to see that local companies see new business opportunities and that they are investing time and resources into these new areas.”
He said they hoped that the switch to EVs is done with a nett positive impact on the environment.
Meyer said for Royale Takitumu as a company, the meeting was a milestone and on the way to an eco-friendly operation.
Speaking on the Mana Tiaki Eco Certification, Meyer said they were excited about this new guideline for the tourism industry here in the Cook Islands.
“Switching to e-mobility was one step for us on the way to meet the new eco standards.
“At the end of the day it is about creating a safe environment for our guests to enjoy and to protect this environment for future generations,” Meyer added.
Meanwhile, there is only one charging station on the island located at the Te Aponga Uira head office in Avarua. However, EV owners are also charging their vehicles at their own home.