Thursday, August 6, 2015

Auckland Sustainable Building Network - Smart Transportation Forum Auckland New Zealand

My timing was excellent as day after my arrival in the city, the Auckland Sustainable Building Network held a Smart Transportation Forum conference in the city center, this is right in my electric car / renewable energy sweet spot.

Steve gave me a ride into the city in the Roadster. Neck-snapping acceleration and it handled well even in the rain. We found the conference building and parked in a special EV demo spot out front, along with a BMW i3, a solar/electric enclosed tricycle thing and Dee brought the Model S a bit later.

The day consisted of a series of speakers with expertise in city planning and the impact of pedestrians, bicycles, buses, cars, dedicated lanes and the like. One fact I heard was $1 in car driving costs society $9.20 due to fuel subsidies, accidents, injuries, pollution, illness, etc. Gabe Klein had an impressive talk and has a book coming out soon, check him out at

New Zealand is already in an excellent position, as it now generates 80% of its power from renewable resources, including hydro and geothermal. The grid is ready for another 10TW of solar to come on line to support full electric transportation across the country. The Mighty River Power / Mercury Energy company generates 100% renewable power now and supplies over 1 million homes with clean power. 85% of residences are capable of having a home car charger. Power companies give 30% off for overnight charging. 

The main theme was Make Cities Better For Humans, not Cars. City planners need to take all of the following and more into account: bikes, shared bike plans, carpooling, car sharing, light rail, move away from gas and diesel, more EVs, public charging, young people aren't getting licenses or buying cars, working in shared spaces close to where people live, etc. Building more roads and parking garages is actually highly counterproductive. 

At the end of the day, we did a tabletop workshop to brainstorm on How To Get To Work / Hospital / Next Delivery / School / Holiday. We used sticky notes to write down things, the relationships between those things and tried to come up with potential solutions to any problems identified. Then I drank a lot of wine and ate a lot of cheese.