To realise the vision of affordable electric cars, which reduce emissions worldwide, we need to crack the infrastructure problem.
We have been interested in the Electric Vehicle market for a while. Our partners in the US invested in Tesla in 2006, back when Bill Ford, chairman of the company that bears his name, argued the complexity of the supply chain made it impossible to create an entirely new car company from scratch. But Tesla, as has become apparent, did not aim to build a car company, but a software company that builds cars.
Since then, EV sits at the top of most car company’s innovation agenda. Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, even Dyson are developing EV concepts at pace. While they still only represent 1% of global auto sales, the Tesla Model S now outsells its competitors in the large luxury class in the US; a foretaste of what is to come. Bloomberg now predicts that by 2020 many of these vehicles will cost less and perform better than their gasoline counterparts. What’s more, global pressure is mounting on the industry to address climate change development goals. Europe is looking to electric vehicles to transform their cities, the UK aims for a least five cities to be clean air zones by 2020, while the German Parliament has moved to ban sales of new combustion engine powered vehicles by 2030.
But the challenge to crack now is no longer just about the technology to build the cars, but the technology needed to make them connect. It’s not just about creating models of the cars which are cheap enough for mass use, but the expertise to repair them and, of course, the power to recharge them. They need to be both affordable to buy and to actually use. And we need to invest in this infrastructure today.
When we met with the team at POD Point, we saw a long- term vision of where the electric vehicles market was headed. The company was founded in 2009 and has already sold over 27,000 charging points across the UK and Norway. In the next five years, the company predict that the UK will need over 1,000,000 charge points. Their partners include Hyundai, Volkswagen UK, Renault Norway, Peugeot and many others.
Not only has the team built the hardware and the network of charging points, they have also created the charge point software needed to manage it. The app and the billing services enables the customer to see where their nearest charging point is, and to manage their usage.
The consumer will want to know they can charge wherever they need to use it, and the charging industry will therefore undergo a series of developments and iterations. Wireless technology would be a big win for drivers, but it’s years off the levels of efficiency necessary to replace charge points. The next ten years, we believe, will be critical to the development of a charging network that is robust and convenient. Building an infrastructure around EVs will enable us to build cleaner cities and create a transport system that no longer leads to high levels of pollution. Future technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, rely on the EV industry to realise their potential too.
We look forward to working with the team at POD Point and being a part of their very exciting future. We’re strong believers in the crowd and are investing alongside the crowd on Crowdcube, check out their crowdfunding page here.