Words: Geoff Lewis (photos supplied by Wk Enviro Centre)

Hamilton man Bruce McKenzie is keen on engineering and sustainability. Recently he became an ‘associate’ with MeloYelo — a trust focused on popularising electric transport and encouraging young people into engineering careers.

Formerly from Taranaki, he moved to Hamilton to be closer to grandkids and recently became involved with EVolocity, a trust established to supply electric motors and batteries to groups of secondary school students so they could build their own race cars and race them. That was when Taupo-based entrepreneur Rob McEwan established MeloYelo as a social enterprise and an additional revenue stream to support EVolocity.

“It is about turning the next generation of drivers onto electric transport technology, while also using electric vehicles as a hook to get them interested in pursuing engineering and technology related studies and careers.”

Over the past six months, MeloYelo has been recruiting a network of part-time contract associates. “These are often older DIY types who are looking for something fun to do as a side-line business,” said Rob.  “We have been training these associates to retrofit pushbikes to electric, and some of them will also become agents for our line of factory-new e-bikes. Bruce McKenzie is one of our associates and will be the front-man for MeloYelo in its stand at Te Papanui Earth Matters, the sustainability expo at Waikato Show in April.

“The Waikato Environment Centre is providing an active transport track for us at Te Papanui and we will bring a couple of new e-bikes to the show for people to test ride, as well as an existing pushbike converted to an e-bike.

“Bruce may also set up a working exhibit at the Te Papanui expo, at which he can show people how to convert a standard bicycle into an electric bike,” he said.

“It is fantastic to have EVolocity and MeloYelo on board as part of Te Papanui – they bring the vision and hope of what is possible in the sustainability space. We have the technologies and EVolocity is doing what’s necessary – putting it into action.” says Te Papanui Co-ordinator and Environment Centre employee, Anna Casey-Cox.

Bruce works from his Rototuna home; retro-fitting electric motors and batteries to existing bicycles and retailing new fully electric models.

A former secondary technology teacher, Bruce has visited and gained support for the electric-bike and vehicle programme from many Hamilton High Schools.

Meanwhile, MeloYelo is looking for someone to volunteer their bike to be converted at the Te Papanui expo. “We will provide the conversion labour at no cost, however they will need to purchase the motor kit and battery,” Rob said.

EVolocity will show what it can do at Te Papanui, one of the many expos at Waikato Show, Claudelands from April 7-9.