Eye-catching electric Evie stars in a commercial

Dunedin electrical engineer Hagen Bruggemann behind the wheel of Evie, the transformed 1957 Ford...
Dunedin electrical engineer Hagen Bruggemann behind the wheel of Evie, the transformed 1957 Ford Fairlane. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
What is large, bright yellow and leaves other vehicles standing in its wake?

An electric car which was previously a top-of-the-line, petrol-powered 1957 Ford Fairlane.

And the hi-tech conversion, from gas guzzler to electric, was carried out in Dunedin by local electric vehicle enthusiasts - industrial electrician James Hardisty, of Control Focus Ltd, and Hagen Bruggemann, an electrical engineer and also a partner with Mr Hardisty in their new company, EV-Lution Ltd.

Work on the Fairlane was mainly done in Northeast Valley at their Valley Community Workshop.

The newly painted, eye-catching EV, known as Evie - registration plate WONDFL - is the focus of a television commercial for energy company, Mercury.

Two elderly gentlemen are shown creeping silently out for a late night drive, in a large, very quiet car, ``burning off'' some very surprised young drivers, before returning home and stealthily garaging the EV - only to ``blow it'' by knocking over something while plugging in the EV for an overnight charge.

The hi-tech project came to Dunedin through Mercury's New York advertising agency.

James Hardisty, one of the Dunedin men responsible for converting a gas-guzzling Ford Fairlane...
James Hardisty, one of the Dunedin men responsible for converting a gas-guzzling Ford Fairlane into an electric vehicle known as Evie.
The previously dark-painted Fairlane was bought from a private owner in Mt Maunganui and brought to Dunedin where Mr Hardisty and Mr Bruggemann and three others began working on it from about late August last year.

By the end of October, working 12 hours a day, the team removed the petrol engine and all associated components and installed a 170kW 530Nm motor from a German electric bus and a 50kWh battery pack (400kg of batteries).

``We believe it's the only electric Ford Fairlane in the world,'' Mr Hardisty said at his workshop yesterday.

The mechanical parts needed for the converted vehicle were designed by Richard Wilson, of Certified Design New Zealand, and some other local companies, including NMI Design, were also involved.

Both men are passionate about EVs. Mr Bruggemann has made two for himself and Mr Hardisty has made one.

``We love them. They're fun,'' they said.

The Fairlane can ``fast charge'' in an hour or it can be charged overnight at home.

It would probably travel 130km on a charge, Mr Hardisty said.

While converting the car from petrol to electric, they had to keep in mind it had to do ``a decent speed'' and be reliable.

They had it up to more than 100kmh in testing and ``it would probably go faster''.

It was ``a very secret project'', the two men said.

Only a couple of people at the Mercury company knew about it and, once the conversion was completed and the car driven and tested, it was taken to Auckland, in a closed truck.

It was then painted bright yellow before appearing, resplendent, in the television commercial.

 

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