Ten years ago the notion that electric vehicles (EV) could significantly disrupt the conventional diesel-fuel monopoly of the car market seemed like a pipedream – but that dream is coming close to a reality. Erik Fairbairn, the Founder of UK electric vehicle (EV) charging company POD Point, which recently crowdfunded £9m on Crowd Cube, explains why EVs are about to become the new normal.
It’s Fairbairn’s belief that in the future EV drivers will no longer need to stop somewhere to charge their car, but instead this mundane task will happen when the car isn’t being used, which is 90% of the time.
Starting a revolution
“My first thought was: how do you put energy into your car? With a petrol pump, so you probably need something similar for an EV,”
His POD Points look like conventional petrol pumps, but instead of a long, oily nozzle at the end of the handle there is a large plug.
Fairbairn quickly grasped that he couldn’t completely replicate the petrol station experience, as to take a battery from empty to full in two minutes simply doesn’t work.
“I realised I need to put a charge point everywhere your car is parked,”
One of the main concerns linked to widespread EV roll-out is the energy demand and strain they will inevitably put on the national grid, which Fairbairn believes can be managed with demand-side response.
“In the future, when we get to a mass roll-out of EVs we can carefully manage how many cars are charging at any one minute,”
POD Point is one of the top ten most crowdfunded business in the UK. It previously raised £5m across three different rounds of crowdfunding and in December raised an additional £9m.
“Crowdfunding is great as there are many EV drivers that want to invest in the company – there is this affinity between the company and the drivers who like being part of the POD Point ecosystem,”
The immediate plan for POD Point is to scale-up the UK operation, but regardless of the outcomes of Brexit, there is huge potential for the company in neighbouring Europe.
“I think the UK is one of the more advanced places in Europe for EV charging, but the opportunity to export from UK to the rest of Europe and build networks across the whole of the continent is very exciting,”
In the rankings of EV adoption, Norway is first, the Netherlands second at 5%-8%, and the UK third at 2%.
“The biggest barrier for EVs today is that they are more expensive,” Fairbairn says. “My rule of thumb is that mass adoption is going to happen when we get a 200-mile range car for £20,000 and I think that will happen in 2020.”
Read more: power-technology.com