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Mercury mission to convert hearts as well as minds

1 March 2018

Mercury mission to convert hearts as well as minds with an electric beauty

Fraser Whineray

Mercury has taken another step to inspire New Zealanders to embrace the future of transportation, showing how wonderful electric transport can be with a hi-tech conversion of a classic car.

The company has used leading Kiwi ingenuity to change a gas-guzzling 1957 Ford Fairlane to plug-in electric, creating a vehicle destined to be a poster-child for electric vehicles (EVs).

“This car is the true embodiment of energy freedom, and a symbol of our escape from fossil fuel reliance. To have everyone enjoying emission-free vehicles would be wonderful for our country,” said Mercury Chief Executive Fraser Whineray.

Mercury has long promoted the rational benefits of EVs to New Zealanders. At the equivalent of 30c a litre compared with petrol, and delivering 2,000kgs of annual reductions in carbon emissions, households could halve their energy costs and significantly reduce their environmental impact by having an EV. The bigger challenge was getting emotional buy-in.

“EVs have always been an easy decision for the head. They’re a practical, economical, clean and quiet alternative to fossil-fuel powered cars. Now it’s time to capture people’s hearts,” said Mr Whineray.

“Converting a classic like this is the perfect way to get people to see how wonderful EVs are. We’ve kept the original beauty of the car, and added a newer, cleaner engine that’s strong and powerful but just happens to run on electricity. It’s given the car a new lease on life.”

He said the company would use the car to continue to showcase the opportunity New Zealand has with renewable electricity powering our transport.

“We’ve been showing Kiwis how much fun electric bikes can be, now we want to do the same with EVs.

“We have all the key ingredients needed to electrify transport: one of the best renewable electricity systems on the planet and a raft of already-consented renewable projects in the pipeline.

“If we raised our sights beyond renewable electricity targets to our overall renewable energy use, including transport, New Zealand could make some serious cuts in overall emissions,” Mr Whineray said.

“Any renewable electricity target in New Zealand is not bold enough, even at 100%. Only 40% of our overall energy consumption is currently from renewable sources. That’s what we need to work on, and by doing so we can leave the rest of the world in the rear view mirror.”

Mercury called on home-grown experts based in Dunedin, Hamilton and Auckland, to manage the conversion of the car, christened ‘Evie’.

“This is Kiwi ingenuity at its finest, drawing on our own pool of talent to come together on this project to deliver some ‘world first’ innovations. It’s a labour of love, and we hope it’s going to help Kiwis get as excited about EVs as we are.”

Evie will feature in a series of ads and billboards, and social media, telling the story of living life to the full with an EV.

Watch the experts talk about how they converted Evie to electric:


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