Electrifying Conversations 2019
Accelerating Carbon Divestment and New Zealand's Energy Independence

ASB Showgrounds, Auckland. Friday 1 November 2019

About Electrifying Conversations

Electrifying Conversations 2019 is a one-day event featuring a stellar line up of keynote speakers providing insights on the latest developments within the Sustainability, Transport, and Tourism sectors. We will be connecting you with senior representatives from business, Government, and NGOs, who are interested in driving New Zealand’s leadership in innovation and electrification.

Our keynote speakers include Philippe Vangeel, Secretary General of The European Association for Electromobililty (AVERE), who will be sharing insights on the European EV market and transportations conversion. Record-breaking Electric Motorcycle Creator, Dr. Eva Håkansson will be inspiring you with her passion for electrification, building the world’s fastest electric motorcycle and the new KiWieel. One of New Zealand’s most celebrated technology entrepreneurs, Xero founder Rod Drury, will share his progress on making renewable energy a competitive platform for New Zealand, and electrical engineer and CEO of Dynami, Sergio Baron will be sharing insights on all things battery related— from lithium deposits in Argentina to innovation in battery technology.

The keynote sessions will be combined with interactive panel sessions featuring sector experts focussing on developments within the Transport, Energy, Software, Tourism, Charging Infrastructure and hardware sectors.

There will be plenty of time to network with our amazing line up of speakers and panellists. This event will become an annual fixture, providing a platform for New Zealand to come together to celebrate advances within zero emission technology, helping New Zealand become a world leader in clean transportation.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Eva Håkansson: Electric Motorcycle Engineer/Builder

Mechanical Engineer, Eva Håkansson, is a new-age eco super-hero. Not only did
she design and build the world’s fastest electric motorcycle – “Killajoule”, but she
also held the world title for fastest female for many years. Eva’s mission is to show
the world that eco-friendly and sustainable technology can be fast, furious and
fun, and she admits that her racing is really just “eco-tourism in disguise”. Eva’s latest eco-crusade is a new streamliner electric motorcycle called “Green
Envy” which she hopes will break the overall motorcycle speed record of 605km/h
in 2020 on the salt lakes in Australia.

Sergio Baron: Electrical engineer. Entrepreneur. CEO Dynami.

Sergio Baron is the founder and CEO of Dynami, a specialised lithium-ion battery
startup. Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sergio is an Electrical Engineer and
serial entrepreneur.
Dynami ultra-thin lithium battery technology enables batteries to be tailored
to the product design instead of the product being designed for off-the-shelf
batteries. The company has found a niche powering thin and flexible medical
devices and other wearables. He has also consulted on a number of Caribbean
development projects, including solar generation for a health centre in Haiti.

Rod Drury: Tech entrepreneur, Xero founder

Rod Drury is a trailblazing, technology entrepreneur. Rod was involved in
several highly successful tech start-ups.
His rock star status in the tech world began when he founded the global tech
company, Xero, which has revolutionised cloud based accounting for businesses.
His status was cemented when he was named in the World’s Top 10 Serial
Entrepreneurs list by Investopedia. Rod’s success has included several director-ships including for TradeMe, New Zealand’s most successful online auction site.
In his semi-retirement, Rod is engaging in large scale public-good projects.

Philippe Vangeel: Secretary General of AVERE

Based in Belgium, Philippe Vangeel is the Secretary-General for the European
Association for Electromobility (AVERE). He has his fingers on the pulse in Europe
on the latest developments in Electric Vehicle technology and infrastructure.
Avere was founded in 1978 and this year in May hosted the 32nd International
Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS32) in Lyon, France.
Originally an engineer, Philippe has always worked in the electronic industry.
Before his role at Avere, he worked as an innovative entrepreneur in e-retails, se-
curity and the medical sector.


Aaron Gillon, Divisional Manager - Energy Products, YHI Energy

With a career in power electronics spanning almost two decades, in both hands-on Technical and Senior Sales roles, Aaron Gillon has become a go-to in the ever-evolving industry that is EV & Charging Infrastructure. He now heads up the Energy Division of YHI as Divisional Manager and is responsible for a national sales team and the development and success of 16 brands, across multiple sectors.

Having joined YHI in 2013, Gillon was not only present for the formation of YHI Energy’s EV Charging range in 2014, but was instrumental in its early development and success, obtaining many of New Zealand’s largest corporate fleets as customers since then. Learning with and from these customers has put Gillon and his team in a great position to continue dominating this industry and bridging the gap between current requirements and emerging technology.

Al Yates, CEO, Ecotricity


Al has been involved in a number of startups in the telco, IT and tourism sectors including Brightpoint and Snowplanet. Over the last 15 years Al has been Managing Director of Wind Farm Group, an independent wind developer and more recently CEO of carboNZero Certified electricity retailer Ecotricity.
Al served for a number of years on the NZ Wind Energy Association and is heavily involved in the promotion of electric vehicles and solar generation. Al was recently appointed to the board of ChargeNet, and The Market Development Advisory Group which reports to the Electricity Authority.
Al has a Bachelor of Commerce.

Carl Barlev, Founder / Managing Director, Blue Cars

As an engineer in the power industry, Carl worked on energy projects around the world until his strong passion for sustainability drew him to electric vehicles and he secured the exciting role of building Tesla’s first supercharger stations in Europe. Carl moved back to New Zealand in 2014 and started Blue Cars as a way to let him promote EVs as a full-time job. He is also a Director of ChargeNet NZ, a founding Trustee of the The Better NZ Trust and regular participant in the #LeadingTheCharge tour of New Zealand.

Dan Alpe – Co Founder / Chief Innovation & Product JUCYfier


Eighteen years ago, Entrepreneur Dan Alpe saw a gap in the New Zealand market for good value car rentals aimed at the backpacker market. Together with his brother Tim, he bought 35 cars, leased a garage in Parnell, and started what is now New Zealand’s leading youth tourism brand, JUCY.


Today, JUCY has more than 5000 vehicles in New Zealand, Australia, and the US – most notably including their signature range of green and purple campervans that the company still custom-build at their JUCY By Design Helensville factory. Whether it be through acquiring a stake in the disruptive YourDrive (JUCY’s peer-to-peer car sharing business), or launching the JUCY Snooze Pod-hostels chain, innovation is always the focus for JUCY’s passionate crew of 400 staff – with Dan and Tim still sitting at the helm.


Dan has been leading JUCY’s charge around sustainable tourism and in 2017 designed and developed their first fully electric campervan, which after a year long trail of the campervan led by French Environmentalists Heloise de Bokay and Solene Trinquet and with the support of the New Zealand Energy Commission, JUCY now have a small fleet available to both local and international visitors to New Zealand.

Derek Caudwell, General Manager Network & Technology, Horizon Networks

Derek joined Horizon Energy as the Operations Manager in February 2011, and was promoted to the position of Asset Manager in May 2013. Derek was appointed as the General Manager Network in August 2014. Before joining Horizon Energy, Derek worked and lived overseas with a career spanning over 10 years in the Oil and Gas industry. During his career Derek has worked in operations, strategy, change management and financial management roles.

In his previous roles with Horizon Energy Derek has been responsible for a number of strategic initiatives in areas such as: smart-networks, major contract negotiations, quality of supply regulation, change management and customer service. Derek relishes the opportunity to lead the Network division and position the organisation to meet the regulatory and network requirements for Horizon Energy.

Derek currently holds an Honours Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Canterbury, a Doctorate in Philosophy from Imperial College London including a US Patent, a Diploma in Financial Management from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and is an Associate Member of the Institute of Directors.

Ella Magnusson

Ella’s passion for finding solutions to combat the effects of climate change, drive her to organise fortnightly events for her peers about the impacts of climate change on our community. She also actively makes submissions to local and central government committees, stressing the importance of declaring a climate emergency, so we can begin to minimise the impact we are having on our environment. Determined to lead by example, Ella is working for organisations such Forest and Bird to make an education initiative that encourages the instruction of waste reduction in schools around New Zealand. Ella is a member of the School Strike 4 Climate organising group, which last month motivated 170,000 New Zealanders to march in our streets. Ella’s leadership journey continues to prosper as she redefines the youth voice and speaks out on the issues affecting her peers and the future of new Zealand. Ella is 15 years old and attends Hutt Valley High School.

Graham Piddington, CEO, Electrofoiling

Graham has trail blazed a career in electrochemistry from the recovery of silver from used photographic solutions (back in the day) to the application of this recovered silver to create jewellery by 3D printing (electroforming) metal onto natural fern leaves. The further application of electroforming for the NZ film industry has seen his finishing work shine through local blockbusters from Xena and Rings through to Spartacus. His quest for sustainability has seen excursions into nanotechnology, water electrolysis, solar and fat (electric) bikes.


Graham now combines engineering with his deep passion for the ocean at Electrofoiling Ltd. He has built a prototype battery electric hydrofoil that flies silently above the water with no emissions and no wake. The feeling of piloting the hydrofoil at low altitude above the waves is unique and may be compared to ‘surfing on clouds’. He is committed to bringing an affordable version to market to promote electrification on the water and to share what he considers to be ‘the ultimate ride’.

Kirsten Corson, Co-Founder, GM, Yoogo Share

Kirsten Corson is Co-Founder of Yoogo Share, New Zealand’s first pure electric car sharing business which launched in Christchurch last year with 100 EV’s and 100 chargers in 7 hubs around the city. Since then the business has grown to over 2000 bookings a month, 225 tonnes of carbon saved and over 4,000 business and private members. Genesis Energy has just taken a 40% shareholding in the business which is allowing them to expand into Auckland and Wellington.

Kirsten will be able to deliver a practical and informative overview of some of the challenges of rolling out EV’s into NZ and some of the surprising learnings.

Liz Gunn, Presenter


Liz moved from Law practice and teaching Law Professionals,  in to Media – and spent over a decade working at TVNZ, presenting on One News , interviewing on Breakfast, and before that, doing the first year of Good Morning.

She hosted a Current Affairs show on Wellington’s Capital City TV for which she was a finalist in the Qantas Media Awards.

She also worked at Radio New Zealand, recruited by Sharon Crosby, where she filled in on Morning Report and the Nine to Noon show, and as a newsreader there.

She has spent a decade in Sydney and has now come back to freelance, including at the online platform of NZPTV ( New Zealand Public Television) and also working for MBIE,  through its BPA arm, on a Resource Management programme.

She is a partner in Manifest Productions with Yoson An, who is currently in Hollywood promoting his male lead role in the upcoming Disney film ‘Mulan’. Manifest’s production work includes advertising, interviews, documentaries, TV shows and film.

Liz is also a public speaker and MC for corporate and media events.

She is a passionate advocate for the health and wellbeing of the Environment and of each of us who depend on it.

She seeks out creatives who want to make a positive contribution, nationally within New Zealand, and abroad.

She sees her production company- and the Media in general – as having a crucial role in spreading messages that inspire and support much-needed change. And the ultimate goal?  A more cohesive, co-operative and caring co-existence during this relatively brief earthly sojourn we each share.

Nicole van der Laak PhD, Enterprise Development Advisor, Victoria University

Nicole van der Laak is materials scientist and innovator and is passionately turning ambitious ideas into reality – particularly in the energy sector.  She is a Gates scholar and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge.  Nicole has spent the past 10 years working in on energy storage and battery technologies.  She has been involved in several highly successful tech start-ups developing energy storage technology to improve how we harness our energy needs.  Nicole has recently returned to NZ after 16 years away and is now helping researchers to push boundaries and commercialise their research at Victoria University of Wellington.

Richard Heaps, Founder, Powertrip Ltd

Eco-focused innovation specialist, Richard Heaps, is the founder and designer of Power Trip. Power Trip is a creative new app that has helped hundreds of new EV owners better understand their vehicles and stay charged up on their EV road trips.

Richard recently completed the Creative HQ Lightning Lab programme with Power Trip, and is currently working on taking it to the next level. When he’s not doing all he can to promote the uptake of EVs in New Zealand, Richard moonlights as a consultant in the energy industry, working with the data driving some of New Zealand’s high profile energy security and sustainability projects.

Richard has a varied background in maths, physics, economics, banking and kickboxing and was a finalist in the prestigious 2019 EV Champion of the Year Awards.

Saskia Verraes, GM Responsible Management, Tourism Holdings Limited

Saskia is a devoted sustainability advocate intent on making a difference. She is General Manager Responsible Management at Tourism Holdings ltd (thl), with years of experience working on collaborative social efforts with vision and engagement. Extremely knowledgeable of the tourism and travel industry, but also of global environmental and human resources, Saskia lends her commitment and energy to initiatives to improve the world through sustainability, social commitment, and responding to need with action. Through leadership of people, innovative thinking, practical change management, design thinking and business planning, teambuilding, and positive realism, Saskia challenges and questions until the most efficient solution is reach from all angles. The Electric Campervan program that started at thl in 2015 is one of the very practical examples of such a quest that with 10 Electric Motorhomes now on fleet is off to a good start. In her free time Saskia runs match4action.org, a US incorporated social enterprise to accelerate charitable impact globally.

Steve West, CEO, ChargeNet NZ

Sheena Thomas, Fuels Strategy and Product Manager, Z Energy

Sheena leads the development and delivery of fuel options for a low carbon future at NZX10 energy company, Z Energy Limited. She is focused on transforming the scale and uptake of lower emission fuels and transport energy within New Zealand, while generating enterprise value to Z. Sheena has previously represented New Zealand at the World Energy Council’s Future Energy Leaders’ Programme. She was subsequently a member of the World Energy Scenarios study group, and part of the Alternative Transport Fuels Taskforce.

Adrian Duque, National Business Development Manager, Schneider Electric

Adrian Duque is currently working at Schneider Electric as their National Business Development Manager for EV charging solutions. Adrian’s passion is helping to grow New Zealand’s EV industry by offering suitable EV charging solutions. Originally from the Philippines, he moved here with his family more than 10 years ago to work for Schneider Electric as their Energy Efficiency Specialist, and moved into Offer Management prior to his current role. Adrian graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering, and has worked in several industries including electronics, semiconductors, instrumentation and electrical. When not busy with his wife, three children, and naughty new kitten, Adrian loves to go mountain biking and play basketball.

Ben Priest, EV Product Manager, Meridian

Ben has worked in the energy sector for over 11 years, covering the following aspects; Wholesale electricity market trading, Development of energy trading software, Management of nationwide smart meter deployment, Strategic development in emerging/disruptive technologies

He currently holds the role of EV Product Manager for Meridian Energy, leading development and delivery of Meridian’s fleet and public charging solutions, launched in August this year.

Ben has a BSc in applied mathematics and post-grad qualifications in Meteorology. He started his career as a weather forecaster for Metservice.

Chris Thomas, Local Sales & Marketing Manager, ABB

In a former life Chris was an Electrical & Instrumentation Engineer for ICI, a leading chemical company in Europe.  He has been working with ABB Electrification Business for over a decade working as a Product Manager in Australia and a Sales Manager in the UK, before returning to NZ 2 years ago, to head up the sales and marketing team for the Electrification Business. ABB EV Charging products and solutions are part of the Electrification business. I
Chris is currently on the new steering committee for Auckland Transport and ABB NZ also has a board member on Drive Electric. Chris is proud to be collaborating with the industry to contribute significantly to the EV charging infrastructure in NZ today, with many exciting projects completed, underway and a lot more in the pipeline.

Danusia Wypych, Head of New Ventures, Transpower

Taking on the newly created Head of New Ventures role at Transpower, Danusia continues her career of enabling transformation. From education exports in the 1990s to transport fuels and now electrons, Danusia works within businesses to enable them to seize and create new opportunities. Danusia has delivered alternate energy strategies, biofuel deep dives and business pathways for transport energy. Joining the Transpower team in the context of Te Mauri Hiko, Transpower’s view of New Zealand’s energy future in a decarbonised economy, there are new challenges to acknowledge and resolve.

Dee West, CCO, ChargeNet NZ

Christened “the high priestess of EV” Dee West is a small woman who takes up a lot of space.  She calls a spade a spade, has a well earned reputation as a potty mouth, and cares so deeply about the planet and people that her huge heart almost enters the room before she does.  Well, if not her huge heart, then certainly her huge and booming voice.  Dee is a force to be reckoned with, and you’ll never be left wondering what she’s thinking, as she will certainly tell you.

Gavin Young, Aftersales Manager, Hyundai New Zealand

Hyundai experience for over 19 years, moved up the ranks from Apprentice Technician, Technician, Technical Advisor, Technical Trainer, Service Manager & now Aftersales Manager.

Was project lead on introducing innovative vehicle telematics technology; called – Hyundai Auto Link Connected Car Service in New Zealand & launching Hyundai New Zealand’s first EV Model – IONIQ Electric in 2017.

Representing Hyundai New Zealand, at the Battery Industry Group – Vector, the group is tasked in mapping out the road map on the EV battery life cycle.

For the past 4 years, working on introducing Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology into New Zealand and commissioned Hyundai New Zealand’s pilot re-fuelling station in September 2019.

Katy Pfeifer, Product Manager, MarginFuel

Katy Pfeifer is the Product Manager at MarginFuel, a Wellington-based tech company that makes dynamic pricing software for the shared mobility market. She has a background in tech, including co-founding the event tech company Town Square and looking at ways to encourage more sustainable behaviour at social enterprise Conscious Consumers. Katy is particularly interested in ways of leveraging technology to benefit society, including both social and environmental benefits.

Dr. Mahmood Hikmet PhD, Head of Research and Development, Ohmio

Dr Mahmood Hikmet is the Head of Research and Development at Ohmio and HMI Technologies and is tasked with overseeing and synchronising R&D activity for the autonomous vehicle program and all other areas of research. As a science communicator, Mahmood’s focus is on bringing across technical information to non-technical stakeholders. Throughout his career Mahmood has been closely involved with the direct development of IoT infrastructure for intelligent transportation and mobility. Most recently, Mahmood oversaw the development of the first 5G connected autonomous shuttle in the world in conjunction with Spark as well as the delivery of the largest 3d printed autonomous vehicle in the world, the Ohmio LIFT, to Christchurch Airport.

Mahmood holds a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Computer Systems Engineering from the University of Auckland.

Nick Robilliard, Procurement Manager, Meridian Energy

Nick is an innovation-driven leader for sustainable procurement at Meridian Energy – an NZX listed generator and retailer of 100% renewable energy.  His expertise is transforming the way products, services, buildings and mobility services are consumed that positively impact our communities and the environment.


Nick is locally and globally recognised as a leader in transitioning organisations mobility to 100% electric which has been recognised through contributions to Drive Electric and the Nordic EV Summit, the 2019 Sustainable Business Awards, 2019 Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards and 2018/19 Australasian Fleet Management Association Awards.


His current projects include 100% electric / zero emissions marine passenger mobility at Port Nicolson, Wellington and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park.


Before joining Meridian in 2007, Nick has worked in New Zealand and the United States in the travel, logistics and outdoor media industries.

Dr. Paul Winton, Founder, 1Point5 Project

Paul founded The 1Point5 Project, a not-for-profit backed by leading philanthropists and businesses, to focus and amplify the voices of those working towards a +1.5C world.

His is founder and Director of Temple: Capital Investment Specialists, a firm that supports investment decisions for Boards, senior executives and sources of funds (Private Equity funds, debt funds and commercial lenders). His expertise is understanding market structures, the conduct of market participants and the performance that results from this as a means of informing market entry / exit decisions.

Previously, Paul worked as with global strategy consulting company McKinsey & Company serving clients in Australasia, Asia, USA and Europe across multiple industry sectors and as Principal with Partners in Performance, a global consultancy specialising in delivering rapid, sustainable results in operational performance. Paul is also founder and Director of kinaroad, a disruptive manufacturer of surfboards that was backed by a leading Australasian private equity fund in 2016. He holds a PhD and BE in mechanical engineering.

Paul’s current professional interests include climate change and the risks and opportunities associated with these changes with a particular focus on New Zealand.

Rod Badcock, Principal Engineer / Deputy Director, Robinson Research Institute

Deputy Director of the Robinson Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington. He received his BSc in Physics in 1991 from the University of Leeds (UK), and from Brunel University (UK) both an MSc in Industrial Measurement Systems (1992) and his doctoral degree (1996) with a thesis on embedded optical fibre sensors for battle damage detection in carbon composite aero-structures. From 1996 to 2006 he has led research in structural health monitoring (MoD, Farnborough, ProtoDel, and Cranfield University), including EU projects MILLENIUM, FOSMET, and FOSEN. Since 2006 he has been responsible for the engineering programmes applying HTS materials into electric machines at Robinson Research, Victoria University of Wellington.

He draws on his multi-disciplinary experiences in science, engineering and industrial manufacturing to bring together international teams that deliver substantive outcomes aimed at drastically changing energy usage and production. He was a finalist in the Kiwinet Innovation Awards, along with several Chinese research and business partners, for their high-speed electric train travel project. The most relevant projects have been the development of the manufacturing and qualification of Roebel Cables for GCS, the design and build of a 1 MVA HTS superconducting power transformer, development of the HTS dynamos for machines and the NZ MBIE programme developing aircraft HTS electric propulsion technology. Rod is recognised as one of the leading experts in the application of superconducting dynamos and cables to electric machines.

Sigurd Magnusson, EV Champion

Sigurd is a champion for electric vehicle uptake in Aotearoa. Four years ago he left a comfortable software business he helped to create, in order to boost our fledgling electric vehicle community. He is motivated by the shift of transport from fossil fuels to clean electricity. He has organised countless community showcase and test-drive events, helped arrange Bluff to Cape Reinga EV road trips, is supporting the installation of over 100 public charging stations in partnership with ChargeNetNZ, both in supermarket sites as well as in challenging setting of residential streets, written a comprehensive buyer’s guide, and racked up over 75,000kms in his own electric car. He is helping several fleets shift to electric, including Foodstuffs, which in addition to regular electric passenger vehicles, has 28 electric delivery vans and soon three large electric logistics trucks.

Simon Evans, EV Sales and Racing, Archibald and Shorter

Simon Evans is a sales consultant at Archibald & Shorter, Auckland. He is a 3 x New Zealand V8 Touring Car Champion and a 2 x New Zealand Endurance Racing Champion.

In 2018/2019 Simon competed in the Jaguar I PACE eTrophy Series – the first ever Production based Electric Race Car Series. He is an Official support to FIA Formula E and the first ever Race-winner of a Jaguar I PACE eTrophy Series in Saudi Arabi. Simon has 5 x Podiums and a 4th in Championship title.


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217 Green Ln W, Epsom, Auckland 1051

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