In early 2012 I was sat in the back of a car, traveling to Eco-Build. It was a matter of months after the first round of PV tariff cuts, things had stalled. Solar PV was a real catalyst for the industry the it had pushed Eco technologies into the fore. We wanted to maintain the momentum, the discussion in the car was one of nervous excitement. Talk of heat pumps, wood burners and biomass boilers being the next big thing, albeit waiting for the government incentives.
The journey got me thinking about electric vehicles and the opportunities for electrical engineers.
Eco-Build is a international trade show, showcasing the latest eco technologies to de-carbonise our homes. Several market leading manufacturers attended the show. I visited the exhibitors stands and spoke to experts from the EV industry Including Schneider Electric. After gathering information about this niche market I was inspired to set up my innovative eco business.
The UK government has been incentivising electric car ownership to accelerate growth in the market. The incentives have had a huge impact, electric car sales have soared. In September 2014 the SMMT revealed that pure electric sales grew 181% and plug in hybrids grew 1101% in the year to date.
Electric cars have many benefits not only for the end user, but for society as well. For instance the UK manufacturers the worlds best selling electric car- the Nissan Leaf, this is good news for the economy. The UK is ideally situated to become a leader in the development of new EV technologies and manufacturing. Not forgetting that EV’s have a huge role to play in the reduction of C02 emissions.
The incentives that have been implemented have had an impact on the growth of our business. Working with another UK based start up Pod-Point, have installed countless home charging points for domestic customers, we are also currently working on Plymouth and Exeter city council installing charging points throughout the two cities. All of these examples of work have been directly funded in part by the UK government through the office of low emissions vehicles (OLEV).
We work with a charity called Zero Carbon World, they donate charging stations to the hotel and leisure industry. Installing chargers where drivers are likely to stop and charge.
We still encounter scepticism from the public, TV programmes such as Top Gear have been quick to pass judgment on electric cars. I made a personal promise to myself to practice what I preach. I have owned my Citroen C-Zero pure electric car for 26 months in that time I have covered 26000 miles across Devon, Somerset, Avon and Cornwall. I have been as far north as Bristol. With the majority of service stations now hosting rapid chargers I have no doubt that I could drive the length and breadth of this fine country. My car only costs around £1.12 to charge at night this means that 2 years and 26000 miles has cost £483.
It is a pretty strong argument if you ask me!