Sector spotlight - Te rāngai hei arotahinga: EVolocity
The EVolocity Programme 2022 provides high school students from across the rohe with the opportunity to see low emissions energy come to life.
Over the course of the year, students participating in the programme will get to design and construct their own electric vehicle before racing them against each other.
EVolocity CEO Sarah Fitzgerald sees this as an opportunity to upskill and inspire Taranaki’s future workforce.
“EVolocity is more than a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Programme: we are developing future generations of engineers, technicians, technology innovators and entrepreneurs. Together with our partners Ara Ake and Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT), we are investing in our young people and in our country’s future.”
Exposing students to possible new energy career pathways was 1 of the reasons the WITT supports the EVolocity programme, says Kyle Hall, Director of Engineering, Energy & Infrastructure at WITT.
“Students are learning electrical, mechanical, wielding and automotive skills. EVolocity gives them a sniff of what WITT has to offer, such as the Bachelor of Engineering Technology, but also of the trades.”
These skills will be highly valuable as New Zealand forges ahead to its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. Hence, it made sense for New Zealand’s national new energy development centre Ara Ake to partner with EVolocity to make the programme a reality for Taranaki’s taiohi.
“We’ve got to seed what that future looks like,” says Dr Cristiano Marantes, Chief Executive at Ara Ake. “Our population will be transitioning into a new way of powering their lives. These young people will hopefully become advocates for that journey.”
Both Kyle and Cristiano see an opportunity to grow the EVolocity concept by getting companies and students involved in the programme. Student involvement allows for early exposure to the energy sector, and provides a place for them to grow their confidence and passion in this area.
“The EVolocity programme encourages students to think more about the specific skills that contribute to a sustainable future, and allows Taranaki companies to get involved early on with their future workforce, and maybe out of that will come apprenticeships” says Cristiano.
The EVolocity programme launched for 2022 on 8 May. All things going well, the students from different high schools will get to race each other in their self-built vehicles in November at KartSport Taranaki, as last year’s students did.