Having spent most of my working life involved in the automotive sector, particularly in the development of 12 volt charging systems and battery support, a defining moment came in 2009, when a major UK car manufacturer showed me a prototype plug-in hybrid version of a very popular SUV and told me ‘you are looking at the future – its electric’, and that charging in the future would be for electric vehicle batteries and not just 12 volt. That ‘lightbulb’ moment prompted me to focus my business on the re-charging of plug-in and electric vehicles.
When I first launched the electric car charging business, I was constantly being told that electric cars would never work and that I was taking a huge risk putting all my energy into something that I personally felt passionate about and that it would never take off.
I remember that in 2011 you could count the number of electric or plug-in vehicles on one hand. The Nissan Leaf, Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi iMiev, Peugeot i-On and Citroen C-Zero (The last three were actually a version of one car, the Mitsubishi iMiev). Compare that to today, when just about every car brand that you could think of now has full electric and plug-in vehicles in their product range, or is dedicating complete platforms to accommodate electrification of their vehicles.
By way of statistics, in 2013 there were only 6,000 EV’s in the UK, that’s 1 in 750 vehicles registered. Today, there are over 200,000 EV’s in the UK – taking it to 1 in 50 registered vehicles being an EV and the predictions are that by 2023, around 4 years from now, those numbers will be around 1 million EV’s in the UK – 1 in 10 vehicles registered.
From a public charging point of view, in 2013, there were around 3,000 public charging points, compared to around 20,000 today and that is predicted to grow to over 60,000 by 2023. Whilst around 90% of all electric vehicle charging will be done at home, there will definitely be demand for ‘destination’ and ‘on the go’ charging and it has been an absolute thrill to be part of this exciting sector over the past 10 years and even more exciting to be part of the future of electric cars.
Having seen this incredible rise in the uptake of electric cars and now see the planned future growth in electrification of vehicles, I also see that the way that we use vehicles, rather than own them is changing, particularly as globally we move more towards a sharing economy. This is why my new venture with Zoom, the UK’s first dedicated plug-in car sharing platform and dedicated services for the electric vehicle driver, is very exciting.
The future is bright, the future is electric and all those people who disagreed with me back then very much agree with me now!
Written by James Jean-Louis, Zoom CCO (02/07/2019)