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On the 21st September, we hosted our latest webinar 'Accelerating change: how digital technology can speed up the electric cars revolution', bringing together some of the brightest brains from the UK’s utility, automotive, digital and EV industry: Fiona Howarth (CEO of Electric Vehicles at Octopus Energy), Graeme Cooper (Head of Future Markets at National Grid UK), Chris Jackson (Head of Fleet Partnerships at Centrica) and Rebecca Crook (CGO at Somo).
While the conversation addressed typical issues like consumer misconceptions, infrastructure challenges and chip shortages, there was a sense of real optimism for the future too. Here are some of the key take-outs:
There are other, more affordable ways to run an electric car than buying it outright, but awareness of these remains low. From the growth in salary sacrifice schemes and the efficiencies of leasing, to the rise in quality used EVs, motorists needn’t be put off any more by large upfront costs.
The argument for switching to electric is usually dominated by global climate change, but there is also a very local issue that is arguably downplayed. Fuel emissions are a contributing factor to poor air quality which is thought to cause 40,000 UK deaths a year. It’s time for the narrative to reiterate the benefits of EV adoption on public health, closer to home.
Dealerships are often the first port of call for EV considerers. But often, they lack the expertise and incentives to adequately promote their electric cars and answer common queries on things like smart charging or batteries. Both dealers and manufacturers can fill the knowledge gap through investment in forecourt training and by creating more digital content.
Somo’s research highlighted a strong appetite for digital tools that make life easier for EV owners, something our panelists very much endorsed. Although apps like Zap Map are game-changers and EV in-car media systems are among the best around, there is room for more integrated digital products to enhance the end-to-end driver experience.
With a greater choice of models, EV-only corporate fleets on the rise and wider test-drive opportunities, EV growth is strong, despite the pandemic. Evidence also shows that once drivers have switched they don’t go back. It’s up to the industry and government to leverage the strong level of consumer advocacy that now exists to help challenge misconceptions and encourage adoption among non-converts.
While wholesale infrastructure upgrades won’t happen overnight, the signs are encouraging for the future. With initiatives like Project Rapid and the government set to announce extra funding to improve en route high power charging, as well as the ever-evolving power capabilities of the Grid, there is a managed transition to get us ready for 2030 and beyond.
If you’d like to watch the webinar, click here.
If you'd like to explore any of these topics further, or if you want to chat about your own EV challenges, please get in touch. We're happy to organise a quick virtual session for you and your team.