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  • This article documents the history of the electric car – first developed in 1890, and uses diagrams and text to explain the technology electric cars and fuel-powered cars employ. It lists some of the advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles (EVs) and how they help to combat climate change.

    Rights: Crown 2016

    Connected article: Driving us into the future

    An article in the 2016 level 4 Connected journal ‘Getting the Message’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

    Lightning bolts by Renee Pearson. My Audi A3 etron - First Drive by The NMNA, CC BY 2.0

    Check your school resource area for the article from the 2016 level 4 Connected journal 'Getting the message’ or download it as a Google slide presentation from Tāhūrangi or order it from the Ministry of Education.

    Teacher support material and reusable content

    The teacher support material (TSM) can be downloaded from Tāhūrangi (Word and PDF files are available). The material has a strong focus on the nature of technology, key technology ideas and includes three technology-based learning activities.

    Driving us into the future also supports key science concepts regarding energy and energy conversion. The diagrams support students to practise the science capability ‘interpret representations’.

    Rights: Crown 2016

    2016 Connected level 4: Getting the Message

    The cover of the 2016 level 4 Connected journal ‘Getting the message’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand. This issue includes the articles Presenting scientific data, Driving us into the future, Can you hear that? and What now for the Rena?

    Photo of wreck © Daryll Torckler

    Reusable content includes text and images from the article.

    Related content

    Look at the Electric car history timeline and the Participatory Science Platform (PSP) project in Taranaki called REV it UP, where students are building an electric vehicle.

    Find other Hub resources exploring some of the issues associated with ongoing fossil fuel use in the article Future fuels – introduction.

    Discover the impact on climate change of electric cars versus fossil fuel cars in this article.

    Check out our entire range of Connected articles here. We’ve curated them by topic and concepts.

    See the range of resources in our Pinterest board, CARS – and science that goes VROOM VROOM.

    Activity ideas

    This activity shows how to make a simple electric motor.

    Use this activity to explore solar power as an alternative energy sources for vehicles.

    Useful links

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email

    The Drive Electric website has a map that displays EV chargers in New Zealand.

    Find out more about electric cars in New Zealand on the Ministry of Transport website.

    See Sigurd Magnussons’s regularly updated New Zealand Electric Car Guide.

    Evolocity is a charitable organisation educating kiwis on the environmental and economic benefits of EVs while growing youth interest in technology and engineering.

    In this YouTube video listen to kids describing cars of the future to an illustrator who brings them to life in his drawing.

    General Motors designers show students how to imagine, design and draw cars of the future in this YouTube video.


    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 22 October 2019, Updated 12 October 2021 Referencing Hub articles
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