Key take-aways from this morning’s EV Summit

This morning 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 is based around 10 panels across its two days and these cover the significant business issues on the rapid transition to battery electric mobiity. This year the EV Summit is placing the master narrative of decarbonisation at the centre of the event.

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 take place. The first was:

Decarbonisation of Mobility (in partnership with DNV)

  • Jeremy Parkes (Panel Keynote) Global Business Lead, Electric Vehicles, DNV
  • Amy Stokes Head of Emobility, Volvo Trucks, UK and Ireland
  • Paul Willcox MD, Vauxhall Motors
  • Ben Lawson Vice President Strategy Europe, Enterprise Holdings

During this panel, which was discussing how emobility can drive forward the decarbonisation of mobility, Amy Stokes, head of emobility, Volvo Trucks, UK and Ireland, said there needs to be government support to help with infrastructure in order to gain consumer confidence.

Paul Willcox, Vauxhall Motors managing director, talked about the light commercial vehicles being part of the current problem but how they could be a big part of the solution. He also added that solid state batteries are on the way and should be available by 2026.

Ben Lawson, Enterprise Holdings vice president strategy Europe, mentioned we should be looking beyond just swapping combustion vehicles for electric, and how we need to reduce vehicle numbers. Car sharing and similar schemes are much needed, especially in urban areas, for both the rental car world and private ownership. He finished by saying infrastructure will be key vehicles parked on and off-street.

This second panel was:

Electric OEMs (in partnership with ZapTec)

  • Anders Thingbø (Panel Keynote) Zaptec CEO
  • Alex Smith MD, Volkswagen
  • Jonathan Goodman COO, Polestar
  • Ashley Andrew Managing Director, Hyundai

During this panel, which was discussing how can we transition towards electric passenger vehicles be delivered, at pace, and deliver on net zero goals, Anders Thingbø from Zaptec said that Norway is few years ahead of most countries when it comes to EV take-up. Subsidies helped to drive the transition and now there’s a secondhand market, so EVs now truly have their own market across the board.

He also mentioned high speed charging is critical on the move, as is street charging, especially in urban areas. Anders also said that once people switch to electric driving they rarely look back, making it important to get people into zero emissions vehicles as quickly as possible.

Alex Smith, Volkswagen managing directory, went on to say that the speed of transition to electric cars is critical. By 2030 we will still have 20 million polluting cars on the road. He saw the barriers to change as affordability and charging anxiety. With 20 percent of the market share of vehicles currently, what Volkswagen do is hugely important.

Jonathan Goodman, Polestar COO, said that all car brands have many similar issues when it comes to convincing customers to drive electric. There needs to be good infrastructure and government consistency with subsidies, so there’s a clear roadmap ahead for the car manufacturers.

Plus, there needs to be credibility to give customers the confidence to switch to driving electric. Most importantly he thinks that the car industry needs to be completely transparent. This will help to give consumers the trust they need to make the switch.

Ashley Andrew, Hyundai managing director, added that the motor industry needs to move quickly to convince consumers to make the switch. Plus, it needs to reassure that moving to zero-emissions driving is important and easy to do. The government could also help with clear and consistent information and helping with infrastructure. Currently, the fleet world enjoys good support, while the consumer side is less so and that change here would certainly help.

Anders closed the session by saying that it’s important to talk about the facts and not the myths to help with consumer adoption.

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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