ChargeWorks at Fully Charged LIVE 2023
Yesterday we attended Fully Charged Live UK South 2023. Fully Charged Live is three jam-packed days of talks, stalls and hands-on opportunities with electric vehicles. We attended on Friday, which is the most commercial and business-focused day of the three. Some of us are going back on Sunday for one of the more public and family-friendly days.
We like to attend this every year, as we find events like Fully Charged Live a great way to maintain a really good overview of the sector, and how the public interacts with it. We tend to speak with a lot of individuals and organisations on a daily and hourly basis, who all have different needs, motivations, expectations, and challenges when it comes to taking their next steps on their sustainability journeys. In our day-to-day at ChargeWorks, we tend to focus on individual and unique clients. So we make sure we lift our heads up where we can, and Fully Charged Live is the perfect opportunity to do that – to review what’s changed in the market, in the perceptions and adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies, and to drill down into some of the innovations out there and learn from others’ experiences and case studies.
Fully Charged Live was born in the very early days of electric vehicle takeup in the UK, and it reflects the current availability of vehicles, charging, and renewable energy options more generally. It showcases the most incredible innovations, without shying away from addressing the challenges that we all face in adopting these.
So, what’s new, and what’s changing?
The talks and the general consensus reinforced some of our core beliefs at ChargeWorks. The most important was that we need the right technologies (whether that’s an electric vehicle, battery storage, solar panels, heat pumps) in place to do the right task. This can sometimes mean (and we are not afraid to recommend this where appropriate) inaction, or opting out of a particular solution, for now.
We saw how many companies are tackling some of the chicken and egg situations. Which comes first, the chargers or the vehicles, the solar panels or the battery? The business case, or the pilot project?
Fully Charged Live is a launch opportunity for many. For new products, new services, new collaborations, new investments, new business directions. And we loved being there to find out about all of these. We’ve seen many solutions, companies and technologies come and go over the years, but events like Fully Charged remind us that innovation and entrepreneurship are stronger than ever in this sector.
Having said that, now that the ChargeWorks team have been working in this sphere for a number of years, we have a good sense of the pace of innovation. It can be very, very fast in some areas, but we understand the difference between the “noise” of “latest breakthroughs”, and how long they can, unfortunately, take to come to market. We are aligned very clearly on this – we must all take advantage of the low-hanging fruits and quick wins immediately. Find solutions that work well, now, and don’t hold back waiting for the next best thing (that happens to have been promised to be just around the corner for the last ten years) to come along. In almost all scenarios, when it comes to energy and transport, there is already a really great low-carbon alternative available. The exception to this is HGVs. Their decarbonisation is still very much in its infancy. We watch with bated breath…
We also noticed that we are ever-so-slightly starting to shift out of the early adoption phase, with some early majority adopters coming into the mix. This is fabulous news. We expect to see an ever-increasing uptake of low-carbon technologies over the coming months and years. It means that manufacturers and providers are developing more “fit and forget” solutions, because the mass market isn’t, and shouldn’t be prepared to work hard to troubleshoot and beta test the vehicles, chargers or energy systems anymore.
What were the hot topics at Fully Charge Live UK South 2023?
Without a doubt, the hot topics were 1) V2G (vehicle-to-grid), 2) legislation and government support and 3) engagement and education. The latter two continue to be intensely important for unlocking a faster transition to all-electric transport and low-carbon energy.
We relished the opportunity to catch up with friends and respected experts from across the country, who are doing some really exciting work in these three areas. We quizzed them (sorry-not-sorry for holding up queues at stalls and after panel events!) and took the time to learn about the best practices and new initiatives that are driving the whole electric vehicle movement forward. We also took the time to speak with several technology providers on some of the sticking points or trickier situations that we’re troubleshooting for our clients. They are the kind of conversations that you can’t have on the phone with their support teams (and we tell them that too).
With all the focus on electric vehicles, vehicle solutions and renewables, we didn’t get the chance to partake in the Zero Carbon Kitchen sessions and samples – which for someone who loves food, was quite sad. But when you’re there to focus on energy and transport, something’s got to give!
For me, sitting in the Munro and thinking about how exciting that vehicle is and what it can achieve was a big highlight. As well as listening to Dr Euan McTurk’s passion and deep expertise in battery technology and what we should expect over the coming years while batting away the myths around mineral extraction and battery recyclability with an impassioned: “Now stick that right up your exhaust pipe!”
I couldn’t help but notice the juxtaposition of the noisy rumbles of planes taking off from the airfield, since the event was hosted at Farnborough Airfield, contrasting with the “stop burning stuff” motto of Fully Charged.
Importantly, we found it to be an important chance to come together and learn together as a team. I came away feeling uplifted, and, excuse the pun – energised! While it’s easy for events addressing carbon emission and climate change challenges to feel doom and gloom, Fully Charged buoys us and reminds us of the plethora of opportunities available to move to more sustainable transport and energy solutions. May we continue to learn and grow together, to offer the best advice and support for our pioneering clients!
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about bringing electric vehicles into your fleet, or installing EV chargers for your workplace. We’d love to hear from you and see if some of the latest innovations can help move you forward. Check out our Electric Vehicle Consultancy, and get in touch.