The Tesla owner group will again be on a country-wide EV road tip starting soon – but the brand itself is steering clear.
TESLA cars will again be running in the annual national electric vehicle rally kicking off soon – but not in an official capacity.
The American brand, which launched its New Zealand operation last month, has acknowledged it will not directly involve in the Leading the Charge event, a prolonged Bluff to Cape Reinga EV spruik starting on April 19.
Instead, as in past years, it will be up to private owners on the three-week road trip to fly the flag for Elon Musk’s headline-making marque.
The determination to steer clear might raise eyebrows – and not just among the core Leading the Charge involvers who in the past two runs had worked to promote their Tesla association.
The run is now being viewed by other brands as being an effective promo.
Another twist is that BMW and Mitsubishi, which involved last year, are back again this year and will be joined by Hyundai, which sees the event as a good promo for their just-launched Ioniq, which comes in hybrid and pure electric formats.
Tesla regional office in Melbourne declined to comment directly.
Leading the Charge is a project of the Better NZ Trust, which cites itself as a community of drivers, enthusiasts and advocates whose aim is accelerate the shift to EVs.
The event has involvement with ChargeNet NZ, which is presently installing a national network of DC fast chargers in agreement with BMW NZ. Many of the established and forthcoming sites for the more than 100 rapid chargers envisaged will be visited by the rally.
The system is also upgrading to European Type 2 CCS (Combined Charging System) standard, which will allow a wider variety of vehicles to utilise the country’s rapid charging infrastructure than was afforded by the initial Type 1 provision.