Maria Bengtsson is currently the electric vehicle (EV) leader for EY UK and Ireland and leads a team consisting of colleagues from across all service lines and sectors, providing advice to clients covering the entire electric vehicle value chain. This ranges from sourcing material for batteries via automotive manufacturers to charging infrastructure and battery recycling.
Her job also includes supporting clients involved in the energy transition, including infrastructure funds, renewable energy developers and oil and gas majors looking to move away from fossil fuels.
Maria has been involved in the industry for over 15 years and has seen it grow into the flourishing industry it is today. She understands the space well and has played a key part in the EV Summit since its inaugural event in 2018.
In 2021 Maria was a keynote panel speaker at the event which brings together the world’s emobility experts to explore how to advance battery-electric mobility for a more sustainable future.
EDs: You had an early interest in emobility, going back to at least 2018, when you attended the first EV Summit. What led to your interest in the sector?
Firstly, it is an area that really brings together my background working in the automotive industry and renewable energy, which I have worked with as a consultant for the last 15 years.
Secondly, climate change is the single most important issue facing humanity and with transport being such a big contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, I feel like this is an area where I can really make a difference by advising companies involved in the sector, whether as innovators, investors or corporate needing to decarbonise their operations.
EDs: Are you an EV driver yourself and what are your experiences of that?
I don’t own a car but I have driven different brands. What really stands out for me, apart from the superior driving experience, is that manufacturers have taken the opportunity to rethink some of the traditional aspects of cars, such as the layout of the cockpit, positions of pillars and so on.
EDs: Can you give us some insights into how the perception of emobility has changed within the management consultancy and wider business sector?
Emobility has quickly moved from being a very niche subject only a few years ago to being truly at the centre of the debate and a key part in companies’ sustainability strategy. From a consultancy perspective, it means my clients in emobility now come from many different sectors and span from small startups to large multinationals.
EDs: Do you see any phases to that change and have you’ve seen a particular sharp upward shift of interest in recent years?
Certainly, Covid accelerated the uptake of electric vehicles. This has led to somewhat of a virtuous circle where the more people start driving electric vehicles, the more companies get comfortable taking the step to electrifying their fleet. That in turn leads to more traction for all the companies out there providing services related to emobility.
EDs: What specific areas of emobility interest you?
I am interested in all areas of emobility. A whole new ecosystem is being created and enabled by new and innovative solutions and an openness towards collaboration that I don’t think we see in any other sector.
I am excited about how a lot of the focus has moved to creating a sustainable value chain. Not that long ago it was all about tailpipe emissions but now the entire supply chain is being reviewed from sustainable sourcing to sustainable manufacturing processes and recycling.
Innovation in emobility is not only changing our experience of driving cars and vans but is also materially changing the way we have been used to thinking about it.
EDs: What have been some of the personal professional highlights in your work at EY?
I cannot select just a few. It is the many conversations I have had with inspirational people who are making a difference by breaking new ground in all areas of emobility.
EDs: Where do you see the emobility sector heading in the next one, three and five years?
I expect to see more and more integrated systems enabling fleet operators to do more real-time routing, providing real-time information about chargers in the area to drivers and enabling vehicles to play a part in the energy system by using smart charging and vehicle-to-everything (v2x) capabilities.
EDs: Where do you see your own personal journey in emobility heading?
I want to continue to advise clients in emobility, connecting capital with innovation, helping clients navigate the electrification journey and creating sustainable supply chains.