Me & My Car: For work and play
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You’re driving an XC60 T8 R-Design twin-engine plug-in hybrid?
I’m lucky to have the opportunity to drive a variety of cars for work. While I’m a little old-school and have a soft spot for sedans, the range of SUVs on the market is impressive and the XC60 is Volvo’s newest arrival. It’s perfect for work and play, looks the part, is technologically advanced but intuitive, and was recently acknowledged as the safest car on NZ roads.
Sustainability was an important factor in selecting the XC60?
Care for the environment is a core value of the Volvo brand, illustrated by our commitment that every new model launched from 2019 will feature a form of electrification, be it mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid (like the T8) or pure electric. Not only is the T8 plug-in hybrid Volvo’s most efficient powertrain, it’s our most powerful.
Any other vehicles in your garage?
My partner’s pride and joy, a Land Rover Defender, affectionately known as Duggy.
Before my first company vehicle, the only car I owned was my trusty 1994 Nissan Bluebird. It didn’t skip a beat through uni and my early working years.
The Polestar 1 would be up there — the first model developed by Volvo’s electric performance arm, due to enter production in 2019 but in super-limited numbers. Beyond Volvo, my Powerball car would be from the Aston Martin or McLaren stables.
Who taught you drive?
Mum and Dad, followed by a couple of lessons before the practical test. I was keen to get the process under way as soon as I turned 15, and passed first time.
Advice to young drivers?
Concentrate. Even a short lapse of concentration behind the wheel can see things go very wrong, very quickly.
Your scariest moment in a car?
It was a long time ago — and relatively early in my driving career. I remember heading to a work function along a winding road on a dark, wet winter night. I took a corner quicker than I should have and felt the rear wheels step out for the first time. Everything was fine, but I’ve never forgotten the disconcerting feeling of that first uncontrolled skid.
Most memorable road trip?
Perhaps a liberal definition of the term road trip, but my most memorable car experience would have to be a hot lap during a customer event at Bathurst, with German racing driver Bernd Schneider behind the wheel.
Favourite racing car driver?
Marcus Armstrong. A gut-wrenching end to his Toyota Racing Series campaign but great to see such a talented, focused young Kiwi making his mark on the world stage.
Technology and cars, do you embrace it?
Full autonomy won’t happen overnight but semi-autonomy is already a reality with vehicles capable of accelerating, braking and steering for themselves already on our roads, albeit under driver supervision for now. Autonomous vehicle technology should be embraced rather than feared, as it will result in the safest, most efficient and most intelligent vehicles we have seen yet.
Your take on Auckland’s traffic?
Auckland is bursting at the seams and though there is a massive amount of development on the cards, there’s no quick fix. Ultimately, the longer term solution will involve infrastructure (roading and public transport), increasingly autonomous vehicles, and societal change in relation to work and travel patterns.
● The Volvo Ocean Race Village is open until March 18 during the Auckland stopover.