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.


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.

Graham Piddington, Electrochemical Engineer M.Eng

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’.

Nicole van der Laak PhD

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.

Paul Winton, Founder of 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.

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.

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.


ASB Showgrounds Auckland

217 Green Ln W, Epsom, Auckland 1051

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