Key points from this morning’s 2021 EV Summit

This morning day two of the 2021 EV Summit got off to a good start at University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. The event brings together business leaders and key players working on electric vehicles, energy, information technology and charging infrastructure, to explore how to advance towards full battery-electric emobility.

Now in its fourth year, the EV Summit has earned the epithet ‘the Davos for emobility’, noted for attracting CEO speakers and as a platform for major announcements in the sector.

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The Summit today will see 5 panels throughout the day with the world’s leaders in the emobility space covering the significant business issues on the rapid transition to battery electric mobility.

This year the EV Summit is back as a hybrid, in-person meets digital event thanks to the UK vaccine rollout. For 2021 the EV Summit is placing the master narrative of decarbonisation at the centre of this year’s event.

This morning saw the first two panels of the day took place. The first was:

Sustainable Fleets (in partnership with EY)

  • Maria Bengtsson (Panel Keynote) Director, EY
  • Markus Kroeger CEO of ABB’s e-mobility digital venture
  • Tim Jones Director of Marketing, Communications & Sustainability, DPD Group UK
  • Alfonso Martinez MD, LeasePlan

This panel was discussing how can fleet managers make the boardroom case for fleet electrification, while delivering on sustainability targets. Maria Bengtsson, EY Director, started by saying that charging, range and the cost of electric vehicle (EVs) are the major deterrents that fleet managers face. It’s a complex issue for fleet managers but those that have moved towards EVs have seen the benefits of lower running costs and servicing association with zero-emissions vehicles.

Markus Kroeger CEO of ABB’s e-mobility digital venture, went on to say that it’s not a question of whether fleet managers should move to an EV fleet but more about how and when this would happen. Zero emission zones exist now and many cities will ban combustion vehicles completely in the coming years, so the transition to EVs needs to happen soon.

What is also extremely important is collecting data regarding usage, costs of charging and infrastructure in general, and getting this out to help with the decision to switch. Clear information will help with the cost and efficiency of driving electric.

Tim Jones, DPD Group UK director of marketing, communications and sustainability, went on to say that moving to electric has been a big part of the company’s success because of sustainability, and both customer and consumer demand. In 2020 DPD had 149 electric vehicles, by November 2021 it will have 1,700.

By 2025 the company aims to have 25 percent of its fleet electric, 25 cities with all electric deliveries and serve 25 percent of the population. Oxford recently became the first city where DPD went to 100 percent electric deliveries. Tim concluded by saying that it’s important for fleet managers to look beyond the initial cost and have a long-term vision.

Alfonso Martinez, LeasePlan managing director, added that leasing electric vehicles seems obvious because there’s not the big outlay to begin with, yet fleet managers will then reap all the benefits of cheaper running costs, which are less than half the price of traditional vehicles, and less need for servicing. Plus, there’s the added bonus of being zero emission zone exempt.

With charging getting better all the time there should be few barriers to moving towards electric when it comes to leasing. He finished by saying that 82 percent of fleet managers have a clear strategy for going electric.

This second of the morning’s panel was:

Investment Opportunities (in partnership with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner)

  • Mark Richards (Panel Keynote) Partner and Co-Leader of the Energy, Environment & Infrastructure Team, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  • Maurice Hochschild Chairman, Osprey Charging Network
  • Katie Black Head of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, OZEV
  • Victoria Whitehead Head of Infrastructure and Transport, Lloyds Banking Group

This panel was discussing how to open up investment opportunities in the transition to zero emission vehicles. Mark Richards, partner and co-leader of the energy, environment & infrastructure team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, started by stressing the importance to listen and learn what is needed. There obviously needs to be some risk in investment but this needs to be balanced between risk and reward.

The EV sphere is definitely an expanding market but we need to look at how to open the sector to growth and what value can be added for investors. The sector needs to shout about clean air zones, obsolete combustion vehicles, the 2030 ICE sales ban and the total cost of ownership. Ultimately, there are big opportunities in this area which is growing rapidly and moving quickly.

Maurice Hochschild, Osprey Charging Network chairman, believes there are investments to be had in charging infrastructure but this might not be as big as some think. He believes the majority of EV users will still do most of their charging at home and the charging problem is not as big as many like to imply.

That said, more infrastructure will be required with the rapid expected growth in EVs and in the coming years, associated areas such as software to make the charging experience easier and more efficient, will be require investment. Plus, there could be grid related opportunities too.

Katie Black, OZEV head of the office for zero emission vehicles, went on to say the UK is on an accelerated path to electric vehicles and the risk in this sphere is relatively low. There are over half million low emission vehicles on the road and 25,000 chargers.

Plus, Shell’s recent announcement to install 50,000 ubitricity on-street electric vehicle (EV) charge posts across the UK by 2025, reaffirms this. She went on to say there’s still lots to do but there are plenty of opportunities with vehicle grants, charge point grants and government investment in rapid chargers on main roads.

Victoria Whitehead, Lloyds Banking Group head of infrastructure and transport, emphasised there are lots of potential growth areas and they want to help investors on their journey into the zero-emissions world. One area of successful growth and an early mover has been the bus sector, possibly because of government concessions.

The fleet market is also important, along with the charging infrastructure that goes with it. Plus, this creates a secondhand EV market. Ultimately, the fleet market could be the catalyst for growth and investment. Lloyds want to focus on having the landscape ready for when rapid EV expansion happens.

The EV Summit has Visa as the lead partner. They are joined by other partners including Arup, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, DNV, EY, Go With Flow, Greenflux, Improved Corporate Finance, Shell Recharge, Wood and Zaptech.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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