It should be stated that to be in business demands market responsibility, highlights Iain Robertson, although he fears that the relative novelty of the Electric Vehicle sector is developing rank opportunism, rather than circumstantial societal benefits.
Breaking fresh ground is immensely exciting. The premise for doing so may lie in innovation, being the ‘first’ to market, or recognising that a solution is required, or a need is to be fulfilled. That need can often be dominated by a strong desire to enhance and improve a given situation, which will be of broader benefit to one’s fellow man. Whether product, or service, development beyond mere intelligence into patentable commercialism depends on what the inventor anticipates will bolster its tangibility.
Being forced into a corner by happenstance, whether motivated by politics, finances, social need or even religion can stymie creativity, demanding real strength of character to make its play, if desire also exists. While the old adage about ‘change for change’s sake’ seldom carries water, especially when the hole in your bucket is truly irreparable, sometimes a need for directional change demands creativity.
When a powerful social commentator first nudges, then cajoles an audience into taking action the impact can be resounding. From reflection to introspection can take many years and a bandwagon of support promoted by the ‘twitterati’ and ‘right-minded’ influencers can grow a need for conversion among people. Politicians are the wrong people to go to for introducing change, even though their encouragement is important, tend to flex their regulatory muscles, rather than addressing problems and providing solutions.
Environmental protection lies at the heart of the Electric Vehicle movement. I call it ‘movement’ because it will only become practice once holistic acceptability is achieved through its means to an end. However, movements tend to attract notional leaders, many of which are motivated by a cocktail of personal survival, fear, being heard and the flipside of opportunism that targets personal short-termist gain instead of providing longer term broader benefit. They leave a mark, which is not always positive and is often a result of the incompleteness of their proposition.
“In many ways,” explains Paul Delahay, the designer, developer and manufacturer of market-leading SYNC EV chargers, “insufficient regulation by a government forced into more than dipping its toes in the EV scene has been disruptive. Its perceived need is to reduce swingeing fines levied on it by the EU, in respect of poor air quality results. Transport is an easy target, even though polluting emissions from buildings is more significant.”
Paul’s company grew from a need to satisfy market demand. Yet, his engineering past is steeped in the alternative fuels arena: “Long before the race to ‘go electric’ became the nation’s preoccupation, I was watching the glacial developments in the EV peripherals scene,” he continues, “noting that each vehicle manufacturer seemed keener to perpetuate its brand image, rather than taking the broader view.
“Even today, one of the prime movers, Tesla, still insists selfishly on the existence of its dedicated charger network, although several other manufacturers are now contemplating some standardisation of approach. We developed SYNC EV to satisfy the most vital and convenient aspect of domestic recharging by ensuring that our solution would be durable enough to meet ALL demands.”
However, SYNC EV’s stance has risked commercial success by removing complexity from its hardware, software and installations, and adopting a responsive, informational resource as a judicious side-line to its confident product portfolio. As Michael Youles, commercial consultant to the EV sector states: “Consumer resistance to an electrified future means that unless openness, honesty, integrity, high quality and value for money are provided tangibly by those businesses active in the EV scene, barriers to progress will be raised. At best, come ‘E-Day’ on the 1st of January 2030, around 1.6m new EVs will be in prospect in the UK, supporting a probable used EV scene of around 1.5m older models. The public charger network should be up to scratch by that time, even though fears about rising electricity consumption rates and pricing may not be fully resolved.”
While it might be unfair to describe some opportunists as ‘cowboys’, as the market starts to accelerate gently towards the 2029 fossil-fuelled cut-off date, nine years will pass extraordinarily quickly, if the market sector does not assume more mature levels of responsibility. SYNC EV has already made public its future of more discreet installations, by which concealed external wiring will have the effect of reducing incidental damage, in-garage installations will improve domestic security and more cost-efficient publicly accessed charger points will broaden on-street consumer choices. All of them are patented solutions but SYNC EV is more concerned with developing a dependable national network of preferred installers that share a common desire for unproblematically fitted and compact, cost-efficient, upgradable, design-led, smart technology.
As Paul concludes, “For almost 25 years, my experience has resided in the fascinating subject of solar energy. SYNC EV is already working on innovations that it will introduce with one, or more energy suppliers in coming years. My primary consideration has always been to use renewable energy, at its most readily amortisable levels, to slash consumer overheads, not to add to them. It is the ethos of our company to lead by example. If SYNC EV were to become a generic in the EV sector, I can assure you that I will feel fulfilled but so will every user of our products and that is our priority. We shall achieve our aims not by shouting louder but by stating clearer.”
Conclusion: Hopping onto bandwagons achieves only short-term goals. For consumer confidence to percolate to the top, in a growing market sector, EV manufacturers at all levels from product to peripherals need to play a straight and even-handed game.