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Electrification of transport revealed at Cleantech Ignition Session, Bonn

08 June 2011
Electrification of transport revealed at Cleantech Ignition Session, Bonn

Robin Haycock, Head of Transport, The Climate Group, attends the Ernst & Young European Cleantech Ignition Session 2011 – 7th June 2011 Bonn, Germany.

Ernst & Young Cleantech Ignition Session's much welcomed ‘non-conference format’, saw over 40 clever, well-connected people with powerful brands and companies behind them gather together with a top line facilitator, to discuss the global electrification of transport.

This electrifying event gave me fresh ideas for our EV20 program and highlighted the importance of EVs in the Clean Revolution.

A great surprise was the exciting conversation around business. Last year it was all about government intervention, public finance and incentives. Clearly this is still needed to push the market, but the impact that business is starting to make was palpable.

Lorna Pimlott who runs Manchester’s Plugged in Places project is pioneering infrastructure and business models that are driven by investors and companies rather than the public purse. It’s incredible to see these developments only one year on from the launch of this government initiative.

I joined a discussion with Hanna Hellman, BP Alternative Energy and Scott Sarazen, Ernst & Young on ‘bundled’ packages of mobility that meet customer issues, of which we could very soon see in action. We looked at the Cool Car and bundle concept (with the ubiquitous quoted i-Car linked to BYD and a service provider), the trusted provider option (combining Eurocar, BP and BMW) and concepts for a finance bundle where you choose the car (Deutsche Bank, Vodaphone and SwissRE). Owing to the great cost benefit to both customers and fleet managers, we must move forward with these types of packages.

Can you imagine how few cars and vans would be sold if it weren’t for lease and finance deals? It’s a really interesting question and one that could be key to making this all work.

How about a genuinely clever analysis and monitoring package for batteries, that will provide insurers, car resellers, utilities and more with the real technical value of a second hand battery? Jan-Olaf Willums – a long time friend and supporter of The Climate Group is developing just that. The battery finance market would improve greatly with real known value for battery at any given point in time, which will beat the guess work of today.

There was a big buzz around how fleets could be the link between early adopters and mass market, a subject we're focusing on with our EV20 program. I also heard from several companies developing bundled offerings to consumers and fleet owners around fast charge solutions.

However, getting more product was a clear issue; OLEV’s UK incentives are running slowly and not to plan but if you talk to Rosie Snashall who manages the scheme, it’s due significantly to the low supply of vehicles rather than lack of demand or a lack of government interest. To fix this, the drive from central and regional governments in the last year must be pushed back at the OEMs, who are now lagging behind the demand curve.

After the fantastic level of knowledge-sharing I experienced during the event, I look forward to the insightful thought leadership document that will follow, showing we’re clearly still on course for a clean revolution in transport.

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