By Gavin Elliott
A new Tesla Model 3 with diplomatic plates graces the streets of Wellington, New Zealand. With the newest addition to the embassy motor pool, Mission New Zealand is showing its Kiwi hosts an example of cutting-edge U.S. green technology and its innovative private sector’s commitment to advancing renewable energy. Ambassador Scott P. Brown introduced the vehicle in a “carpool karaoke” style video, where he shared his love of American rock band, Cheap Trick. New Zealanders are extremely environmentally conscious and the embassy’s commitment to electric vehicles is a concrete demonstration of shared values.
“I’m very excited that we’re showcasing the very best of American innovation and green technology with our new Tesla, and I made it a priority that we future-proof our renovated facility with charging stations for additional electric vehicles,” said Brown. “I’ll be the first to raise my hand if Tesla releases a model that is spec’d with COM security needs.”
This move to electric vehicles coincides with the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations completion of a major seismic retrofit project for the chancery building, providing the embassy team with a safe and resilient facility to complete their important mission. Both the purchase of a green vehicle and the chancery project were important steps towards achieving Integrated Country Strategy objectives to improve and invest in infrastructure, engage with New Zealand on global environmental issues, and promote U.S. brands and products.
Brown is not ready to stop at one electric vehicle, however. Universal charging stations installed on the embassy compound encourage more electric vehicles—both official and personal. For all future vehicle acquisitions, the General Services Office team will evaluate if electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles will meet the needs of the Mission and provide the best long-term value.
Gavin Elliott is the general services officer at Embassy Wellington.