Tairawhiti 2040: A glimpse into the future

Tairawhiti 2040: A glimpse into the future

Eastland Group research has found that the people of our region would collectively be $60 million better off if everyone drove electric vehicles.

Within the past few months, Tairawhiti has seen some leaps forward in the emerging technology space.

High-speed electric vehicle chargers are going live around the region, meaning locals and visitors alike can consider EVs as a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel transport.

Electric Village, New Zealand’s first community-focused energy hub, has opened in the heart of Gisborne.

And Eastland Group is conducting long-term solar research trials to determine if this could be a cost-effective alternative to the traditional electricity supply model.

While our region has not yet seen major step change in the adoption of emerging technologies, it is coming. And the future is speeding towards us more rapidly than you might imagine.

Late last year, I attended the IDTechEx Emerging Technology Conference in California, to find out more about what experts worldwide are inventing, investing in and predicting.

While local uptake is likely to follow well behind major urban areas, here’s a glimpse into what life in Tairawhiti in 2040 could be like.

Eastland Group research has identified that the people of our region would collectively be $60 million better off if everyone drove electric vehicles. EVs are cheaper to run than petrol and diesel cars, last longer (with less moving parts and no engine fluids), and have a far superior environmental footprint (noise as well as exhaust pollutants).

If you drive 10,000 km a year, you can expect to save about $1000 a year on your fuel bill.

Within the next few years, it’s believed that EVs will also be cheaper to buy, offer greater storage capacity and range, and have energy-harvesting technology on board — such as delivering power through wheel motion.

Electric vehicles aren’t just cars and trucks. They will include robots, agricultural machines, motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, rickshaws and even ships and aircraft.

Autonomous vehicles are already here. The technology will make vehicles smaller, more efficient, and transform the way our road infrastructure, and indeed our society, operates.

TEVs (electric highways) are arriving in the next two decades, and it’s thought they will profoundly change the world.

Some other predictions from the conference:

  • Self-sufficient ships will use solar sails and wind power
  • Autonomous ships will reduce cost and energy needs
  • Airborne wind energy will develop, with tethered flying drones generating electricity
  • Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) will be prevalent in roads, roofs, windows and cladding
  • There will be a huge shift into harvesting all forms of energy, from vehicles and from people (via our footwear and clothing)
  • Ambient energy will see major advances. For example, the touch of a fingertip on a light switch could generate watts.

Electricity networks will still be vitally important, but will need to adapt to the new ways people will be using and generating power, and also selling it back to the national grid.

The end result of these advances will affect us all, in towns and in rural areas, in business and in our leisure time. It’s challenging to imagine the extraordinary impact they could have on our everyday lives in just 20 or 30 years.

What I am certain of is that as a region, we have a great opportunity to jump on board with these new technologies, explore the possibilities, and see how they could benefit us all.

If you’re interested in talking more about the future, please call into Eastland Group’s Electric Village at 37 Gladstone Road and share your ideas.