Gerhard Heinz in Vienna.
Gerhard Heinz in Vienna.
Driving an electric car is just as smart as it is sustainable, and really good fun. Gerhard Heinz certainly thinks so. Despite his age, the famous composer is tech-savvy and describes himself as an “early adopter” when it comes to new smartphone and computer technologies. We visited him in Vienna and were bowled over by the flexibility and inquisitiveness of this 89-year old.
At 89, Gerhard Heinz shows no signs of slowing down. And when he thinks about which car best keeps pace with his lifestyle, the choice is clear – the e-up!
Gerhard Heinz feels at home on the streets of Vienna. The famous composer of film soundtracks drives everywhere in his e-up!, proving that Volkswagen’s electric cars have long since become a part of urban life. Whether driving in stop-start traffic or fitting into small parking spaces, his car is perfectly suited to city traffic. We wanted to get Heinz's thoughts on driving an electric car in Vienna, and particularly why he chose the e-up!. To us, his answer made perfect sense.
Stepping out of the famous Café Dommayer and into the Heinz's e-up!, we drove smoothly along Maxingstrasse in the 13th District of Vienna and past the zoo at Schönbrunn Palace towards Perchtoldsdorf. Heinz loves to spend his afternoons in this picturesque little area on the southern edge of the city. Whether he’s with his wife or on his own, his confectioner of choice is the Konditorei Heiner, a former purveyor to the Royal Court.
“Let’s roll!” is Gerhard Heinz’s motto. So it’s no coincidence that despite being almost 90 years old, he sits behind the wheel as comfortably as somebody at least 20 years his junior. For him, environmental friendliness is an extremely important aspect of electric cars. But his main source of enthusiasm lies in his inquisitiveness.
It goes completely against our preconceptions that somebody of Heinz’s age is so open to the constant changes in modern technology. But this could be put down to his career. After graduating from the Technical University of Vienna, he didn’t go on to become an engineer, but he did become a star. His name is known to music experts and cinema goers around the globe as one of Europe’s most famous soundtrack composers. Heinz scored more than 130 films during a career which spanned the 60s, 70s and 80s. Comedy, drama or horror, he could turn his hand to any genre. And he didn’t lose any of his popularity when he withdrew from the public eye, due in no small part to younger generations rediscovering his innovative classics. Heinz was one of the first musicians in the 50s to use a Hammond organ in his compositions, which won him numerous jobs in television and advertising. The Vienna native discovered the e-up! at a local motor-show in 2014 and immediately fell in love. He had been looking for an electric car that had everything he needed for some years, but without success. Then the tech-lover saw the compact but roomy e-up! and his mind was made up. The most recent addition to his e-up! is a rear view camera system. And in the winter, he uses an app to heat up the car as he enjoys his breakfast at the kitchen table. Even more conveniently, Vienna has plenty of charging stations – even in the quieter 13th District. Always looking forward, Gerhard Heinz’s newest plan is to power his home's charging station with solar panels on the roof. He also constantly has his eye on the growing number of available apps. The only thing he doesn't have a plan for when it comes to his car is what he listens to on a drive: “I really enjoy listening to the classical music when I’m driving, but I prefer to switch to the news before I get too immersed.” On that note, the renowned conductor puts his foot down on the pedal and shoots off in front of a stunned sports car driver.