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A positive electric vehicle future

19 May 2011
A positive electric vehicle future

By Robin Haycock, Head of Transport, The Climate Group.

Thank you, Sunday Times – Ingear, for a great article (17 May 2011) showing that the intelligent money is heading down the road of a positive electric vehicle future.

Negativity from some parts of society resisting change is inevitable, and all part of the process of moving positively forward, but society has changed throughout history, and I don’t see it stopping.

I also like to reflect on the fact that our lives are generally better now than ever before, so why should we think that this progress and the intelligence of the human being to solve our problems is going to stop now? It’s an exciting future where the emerging Clean Revolution brings forward a world where we enjoy life but in a low carbon way.

We are now seeing articles that show how embracing the electrification of transport is a low cost solution for people. But I run away with enthusiasm about this positive Times article before explaining what made me so excited in the first place.

If we look at big picture stuff and the direction of travel rather than the short term noise of whether we have too much or too little public charging infrastructure: no lithium (now dispelled), running out of rare earths etc, we see that the direction of travel must be clean energy, and the use of this - where possible - should be integrated into our transport systems.

You don’t have to be an environmentalist to get this, but it takes governments with conviction and overriding ambition to change our society to one that is better than today, to pioneer these changes. Government leadership must be closely followed by the leading business people who I now see populating the conferences and round tables, discussing the topic of electrification of transport, and how their companies are a part of this.

The article mentions the RAC Foundation, which I had the opportunity to visit recently. In the morning I went to an SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders) EV meeting driven by one of our leading EV practitioners Catherine Hutt who is leading their work in this field – and the enthusiasm and belief was clear from auto manufacturers, component suppliers, energy companies, leading cities, and technology providers.

It was just a few months ago that we saw the press about ‘no charging infrastructure available’ and now we see ‘too much!’ But we are moving ahead, and we will have these debates.

If the general population starts to see articles that show that driving an EV makes economic sense, then the take-up of the vehicles will rise, the infrastructure will be utilised, and the government’s initiatives will be taken on board; so thank you again Ingear, and all similar articles.

So Roger Kemp suggests that it is all pointless without renewables and I completely agree. Does he think that the government is not capable of thinking about that? Where will we be with 9 billion population if we are not using real time high conversion efficiency energy from the sun landing on our personal hectares of land?

The electrification of transport will run in parallel with the decarbonisation of our grids, and business will be made out of each sector and especially out of the integration of the two.

So we come to the bit about car makers and industry, and the future.

Paul Everett of the SMMT - with all the leading UK auto companies and the UK Government - spent significant efforts within the New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT) process led by Dept BIS and Richard Parry-Jones to understand the key drivers of change for our thriving UK auto industry.

The results of this and the subsequent focused efforts of OLEV, TSB and the Auto Council, have shown that effort can bring about business opportunity.

And let’s be clear, the opportunities for making money long-term in this new Clean Revolution are vast. Just look at the banks, venture capital companies and governments that are pursuing the EV revolution for your electrifying answer.

See our EV program.

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