On the 25th of April 3F EV Limited attended the 2017 e-mobility conference in London. The Event was hosted by Robert Llewellyn and organised by our partner Global EVRT and 3F EV were one of the lead sponsors.
The event was an opportunity to bring together individuals and organisations working toward a sustainable transport revolution. The format was fun and engaging in that a large part of the schedule was devoted to audience interaction with the keynote speakers and panellists.
Our very own Funmi Onamusi was a panellist on one of the sessions. The speakers and contributors were drawn from a wide range of sectors and countries. We had input from celebrities, regulators, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, engineers, motor sport and academics. With case studies from countries such as Norway which has seen a massive adoption of EV’s on the back of significant infrastructure investment as well as a favourable regulatory and tax framework to encourage EV adoption.
Case Study – Norway
If you want an answer to the classic question of “What does good look like?” then Norway is a good place to start. Norway has the highest per capita take up of all-electric cars in the world: more than 100,000 in a country of 5.2 million people. Last year, EVs constituted nearly 40% of the nation’s newly registered passenger cars.
In Norway, the approach has not just been oriented toward subsidies and tax breaks. Investment in numerous fast charging stations, not only deployed in major urban centres but at a national level, including remote and sparsely populated locations has been a major factor. Other imaginative concessions that EV’s enjoy in Norway are use of bus lanes, parking concessions and exemption from road tolls.
Norway have responsibly managed the windfall from its North Sea oil and gas resources meaning that it can afford to exempt EV’s from the countries 25% sales tax. This however inevitably leads to a potential problem. If electric vehicles are charged with fossil fuel-generated electricity, the result is more, not fewer, greenhouse gas emissions. Norway again is leading the way, in that 98% of the country’s electricity comes from hydropower, meaning that their EV fleet leaves almost no carbon footprint.
Battery Challenges Explained
Academia was represented in the form of Dr Billy Wu. Billy is a lecturer at Imperial College London and is the theme leader for Robotics and Manufacturing, jointly leading the Electrochemical Science and Engineering group. Billy was a real favourite with the panellists and attendees alike. If you were expecting a dry and turgid presentation of battery chemistry then you would be disappointed. Billy is clearly a serious and brilliant scientist but he is a skilled presenter with an ability to distil complex design considerations into easily understood and entertaining presentational materials.
He explained the challenges associated with battery chemistry and design to give the attendees an insight into the factors inhibiting manufacturers ability to produce EV’s with an acceptable real-world range at a price point that does not require large government subsidy. Also touching on potential issues around the supply of cobalt which is largely mined from unstable and conflict prone countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo. By the end of his session we were all much clearer in our understanding of the impact of the production and correct use or maintenance of energy storage products in the context of both sustainable transport and renewable energy.
Future of the ownership Model – Car Sharing and Autonomous Driving
3F EV were represented by our founder and MD, Funmi Onamusi. The future of transportation and the part EV’s will play was a meaty topic for panellists and attendees to get their teeth into. An emerging trend that we believe will shape the future of transport is the sharing model. This has been pioneered with properties by companies like AirBNB but the model could be easily applied to transport. Funmi stated that research found that 90% of vehicles spend 90% of their time parked.
Where public transport or car clubs are readily available people will begin to question the logic of the ownership model. After all the cost of paying for a car is typically the second most expensive asset after your house.
3F EV developed the Members Club to make its Tesla rental fleet available with this concept in mind. We found that many of our customers who could in fact afford to buy a Tesla actually preferred the option of using one of our Model S and Model X cars when they needed one. London is a prime market for the service in that it has good public transport links but parking and congestion are real issues.
The ability to take one of our cars for occasional trips where public transport or other less sustainable options were either not practical or comfortable was really attractive. We structured the members club to include delivery and collection options making it highly convenient for customers who like the pay as you need it model, linked to an annual subscription. It has gone down really well and gives people access to the best EV and autonomous driving technology currently available without the large outlay or long-term commitment.
The pace of technological advancement is quite staggering. The capability of autonomous driving in particular is moving faster than regulators and governments can currently comprehend or manage. Numerous trials of autonomous driving are taking place around the world meaning that within an ever-decreasing time frame limited autonomous driving will be a reality for mass market vehicles.
Although completely driverless cars have a way to go it is not beyond the realms of current technology to have them within a controlled and segregated road network. Driverless buses are being used now in countries like Australia which means the future employment prospects of the global population of professional drivers could look less than rosy. All technological advances have had to meet the challenge of how to re-skill and re-deploy a workforce impacted by automation.
EVRT European Road trip
In summary, the seminar was a great success and the people at Global EVRT and all the panellist and contributors should be very pleased and proud. Organising an event like this is a significant undertaking but to get highly respected thought leaders and maintain an interesting forum across a whole day.
If that was enough at the end of the London conference the good people of Global EVRT, along with a compliment of customers, sponsors and partners began an epic 6500-kilometre European roundtrip with 3F EV providing the Tesla’s. Starting in London the team visited Madrid, Turin, Zagreb, Berlin and Paris. Along the way they engaged in further conferences, meetings and opened new charging stations whilst having a lot of fun. And not a gram of Co2 emitted from any of the cars for the whole journey. Not a bad job!