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Electric vehicles will be celebrated in coming days, as International Drive Electric Week wheels into town on Saturday.

Timaru electric vehicle driver Martin Kane said Timaru’s events would begin with a display of electric vehicles at the Timaru Farmers’ Market on Saturday, followed by test drives.

He said the most popular everyday electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, would drive about 120km on a charge, but most drivers neither fully charged nor fully drained their batteries.

With FastCharge stations now in towns around South Canterbury, drivers could stop in for a coffee and charge their car for about half an hour while they had a coffee, he said.

Mr Kane estimated that it took electric vehicle drivers an extra 20 minutes to drive from Timaru to Christchurch in an electric car, compared to a petrol vehicle.

“[But] they’re better for the environment.”

While there was not a good second-hand electric vehicle market in New Zealand yet, because most drivers imported second-hand cars from overseas, there was hope councils changing their fleets to electric cars would lead to a second-hand market being established around the country.

He estimated second-hand cars cost anywhere between $9000 and $30,000, depending on the battery power.

Mr Kane encouraged Timaru residents to come along for the display, test driving and to have a chat to electric car owners so they could “dispel any myths” people had about the non-petrol-powered vehicles.

International Drive Electric Week runs from September 9 to 17.