Me and My Car: Mighty River Power CEO, Fraser Whineray
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What do you drive?
I drive an all-wheel-drive SUV, a plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander. At Mighty River Power, we see great opportunity for Kiwis and the country in electric vehicles. I put my money where my mouth is and bought one for the family - and Mighty River Power is shifting 70 per cent of its fleet to fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. I bought this particular model because I needed something big enough to fit the family in comfortably and all the gear - kids don't travel light!
What do you like about it?
I start every day with a full tank of home-grown energy. I plug the car in most nights when I get home from work. From the motoring side, it has plenty of torque and is really quiet.
First car you owned?
A Datsun Sunny sedan, in a delightful beige.
Your dream car ...
I'd love to own a Tesla Model X - it's being launched later this year. It's a fully electric SUV with gull-wing doors, goes 0-100km/h in less than five seconds and travels about 400km on a single charge.
Who taught you to drive?
Mum and Dad taught us four kids in a manual Corolla station wagon at the Arapuni showgrounds car park near Palmerston North.
Most memorable road trip?
More than 20 years back, driving in the now banned Undie 500 from Christchurch to Dunedin in an old straight-six Valiant with a full Skyhawk camouflage paint job, including "call-signs" stencilled on the doors. We had a couple of friends in the air force ... I hope I'm not getting anyone in trouble here.
Do you enjoy driving or would you rather be a passenger?It's hard to get me out of the driver's seat since we bought the plug-in, but I'm happy to be the passenger as well ... plug-in electrics are a fantastic ride with the low centre of gravity.
How often do you clean your car?
It's probably not cleaned often enough, but the kids help me from time to time.
And what do you listen to?
The sound of silence is the most amazing thing in an electric vehicle. But when we have the radio on, it's usually playing Kiwi sounds like the Mutton Birds or Shihad.
Do you judge people by what they drive?
I think what you drive reflects what matters to you ... safety, performance, economy, for instance. I drive a plug-in hybrid because it's important to me that I can use our own home-grown renewable electricity. I'd like to see a lot more Kiwis plugging in.
What irritates you most about other drivers?
We use so much imported fossil fuel when we have a treasure of renewable energy in our own backyard. I have huge respect for our export industries and we throw a lot of that hard-earned cash back at visiting oil tankers. Let's power ourselves from home.
Would you rather drive in Auckland or take public transport?
I'm probably about 50:50 between taking the bus and driving the plug-in. Electricity costs the equivalent of 30c a litre and has no fumes, so driving the plug-in is attractive.
Auckland's congestion issues ... any solutions?
I think we'll see electric buses in addition to our electric trains, self-driving vehicles and other disruptive technologies solving commuting and congestion issues.
If you could go anywhere, with any celebrity, in any car?
A bus with no seats, a great Kiwi band playing and 20 friends - it wouldn't matter where we went.