Like so many friends, family members, colleagues and customers, we’ve all grown up with cars. If you’re my age, that experience is tinged with the prevailing smell of petrol. The griminess of do-it-yourself servicing, trips to Halfords at the weekends and the increasingly complexity, quality and performance of them over the years.
The thought of them being powered solely by electricity hadn’t crossed all of our minds – except for glimpses of them in utopian futuristic movies. Even then they seemed to be driven by some other possibly more exotic limitless propulsion and possibly a little naff as well.
But as we all know they have been seeping into our consciousness and onto our roads. This has been led by the Toyota Prius, with the hybrid vanguard of eco-warriors and far-sighted Californians. However, this was skipped over by those who didn’t want to trade good looks and performance for environmental credentials.
We now have increasingly better looking choices, albeit only amongst the fully-electric Tesla range, that’s now appealing to more pockets with it’s mass-market model 3. Yet despite this, the one concern we have (and to be more specific – I have) is access to Charging Points.
If like me you travel a lot or commute into major cities, you’ll occasionally see charging points here and there – to date I haven’t seen an empty one. So that’s good. Or is it? Where do you go if you need to park-and-charge and the spaces you find are full? According to HPI.co.uk it’s a common misconception that electric cars can only be topped up at Charging Stations as they can also be charged from domestic sockets. While that’s great at home, overnight, if you have a drive or garage it not ideal if you have on-street parking. Furthermore, at the office – how will that work?
So while fully-electric cars are becoming available and increasingly more accessible and affordable, our mindset has to take a step change on our thinking around fuel and where and when we’ll be able to access it.
When you do find somewhere – how long does it take to fill-up? Again the HPI article notes that this is not as long as we all might think.
As well as being motorists many of the team here at Fuel have, like myself, spent time either inside or serving clients in the automotive industry. Our experience spans the introduction of online car buying brands such as AutoByTel, SEAT Franchise development with Volkswagen Group, Retail development support with Ford, the digital transformation of AutoTrader and our work with the auto industry’s leader in Valuations and Provenance intelligence and data – Cap HPI. In all this time the advent of the fully electric car is the one event we believe has the potential to literally shake things up for everyone: customers and manufacturers alike. Just look at Tesla. It’s entered the industry and has disrupted it from day one. Talk to us and our team about your challenges. You may be a retailer start-up, a new digital brand, or entering the UK market for the first time. We’d be happy to share our insights and experience with you.
The lure of lower running costs.
Back to our fully electric cars, personally I’d slip into one tomorrow. If anything, i’m lured by the promise of supercar performance with lower running costs, but that’s just me. However, I recognise that I’d need to retrain and disconnect myself from 40 years of just popping down the nearest petrol station to stay mobile. It’s the awkward position of knowing that we should switch, but not knowing enough to convince ourselves that it will be do-able, affordable and universally supported.
It seems like we need a series of game changing events. Like the introduction of the iPhone, widespread broadband, good 3 and 4G coverage that influenced our online connectivity, a step change is needed to see fully-electric motoring really take it place. Perhaps a series of events like this is just around the bend. It will likely be Government direction that will disrupt and drive the market, along with the mini-economies we manage and the choices we make to keep us motoring in the right direction. Until those moments arrive I can see most of us, who would like the idea of moving to fully electric vehicles, sitting-it-out in the cars we have.
About the author.
Steve Tolton is the Managing and Executive Creative Director at Fuel Integrated.