Conference Details

Now that I am home I want to put together some more detail of the conference I attended in Gateshead last week.I made a few notes but to be honest I didn’t make enough to report fully the discussions. I have asked for a copy of the slides but I am not certain that the speakers are making their slides available for download but if they do then I will update this post with more detail at a later date.

My notes and comments are in either blue or red. There is no significance of the colours except to make my comments stand out a little easier.

The conference was titled “Sustainable EMobility in Europe”.

Delivering sustainability in the development of electric vehicle infrastructure

The conference will deal with the following key issues:

  • How to achieve long term sustainability for the current EV infrastructure pilots – the next major objective;
  • Interoperability and integration are key issues for automotive, infrastructure, private and public sector stakeholders;
  • Multi stakeholder approaches will be required to continue the increase in momentum towards the successful roll out of electric vehicles.

Key Speakers Include:

  • Michael Hurwitz, Director, Office for Low Emission Vehicles, OLEV
  • Mick Brophy, Managing Director, Business, Innovation and Development, Gateshead College
  • Harm Weken, ENEVATE
  • Ian McDonald, Technical Lead, Source East EV Network
  • Alexandra Prescott, Charge your Car Specialist
  • Mark Connolly, IT Systems Manager, ESB ecars
  • Martin Linnenkamp, Program Manager, Amsterdam Electric (City Air Quality Program)
  • Dr Steve McDonald, Chief Technical Officer, Emerging Technologies, Narec
  • Jon Bird, Head of Sustainability, CE Electric UK
  • Dr Liana Cipcigan, Cardiff University
  • Taco van Berkel, Project Manager, Charging infrastructure, Amsterdam Electric
  • Liz Gray,Senior Consultant, Future Transport Systems
  • Matthew Lumsden, Managing Director, Future Transport Systems

The conference was a collection of speakers. Each speaker had 15 minutes to present and after each 3 speakers there was a Q&A session.

Session 1

This welcome session will focus on key industry individuals presenting on the big issues including skills, procurement and political issues.

Mick Brophy, Managing Director, Business, Innovation and Development, Gateshead College

  • Capability and capacity preparing for the growth in Low Carbon Vehicles in the UK

This is something that I think we, as EV owners, tend to completely ignore and we assume that it will just happen but Mick Brophy made me realise the scale of this.

We take delivery of our EV. We want to drive it, charge it at charging points, get the car serviced and fixed, etc. But for all that to happen a lot of work has to be done in advance training up the people that manufacture and build the cars, test the cars and systems, install, service and maintain the cars, the charging infrastructure, etc. Before that training can happen though the training courses need to be written and prepared and this must all happen long beforehand. 

As owners, we should remember that this is new technology. It isn’t the same as introducing a new model of diesel car.
Gateshead College is at the spearhead of this new tech training.
Michael Hurwitz, Director, Office for Low Emission Vehicles, OLEV 
  • UK Strategy for Low Carbon Vehicles from a UK Government perspective
Michael Hurwitz gave us an insight into why the government offers incentives to buy EVs. He made it perfectly clear that these incentives are for a limited period. He said that it was a requirement to cut our CO2 emissions and that EVs may not be the only answer but it will be an important one.
It was clear from his speech that the government is totally committed to encouraging the take up of EVs. However, I am concerned at the way the government is implementing their strategy. This government seems obsessed with creating competition and to create a competitive environment in the sector they have created the Plugged in Places (PiP) projects. Each Plugged in Places project is going about creating charging infrastructure almost in isolation of each other. There is a government strategy document which they are all using as a guideline but this competitive approach is resulting in a fragmented and uncoordinated implementation. Each PiP is developing their own approach to creating infrastructure, back office systems and charging and registration systems. 
It seems to me that this is all very well but all this is happening with little consideration given to how this fragmentation is affecting the experience of the EV owner. We need more coordination between the PIP projects. The strategy document does specify that some coordination must occur but this seems to be almost an after-thought.

The experience of the EV owner must be more central in everyone’s minds in their actions. More on this later.

    Harm Weken, Enevate 

    • Enevate connecting up North West Europe  (NWE)

    Enevate Europe is key is coordinating and linking up the efforts throughout Europe.

    Session 2

    This session will focus on developing viable operating models, managing multiple charging networks and how effectively joining up pilots can enable a sustainable industry. These three speakers will focus on lessons learnt, current challenges and prospects for the future.

    Ian McDonald, Technical Lead, Source East EV Network
    • Source East and interoperability challenges 

    For me the message from Ian was one of not 

    Alexandra Prescott, Charge your Car Specialist
    • Charge your Car and interoperability North East challenges 
    Mark Connolly, IT Systems Manager ESB ecars
    • The model for back office and sustainable infrastructure from a Southern Ireland perspective

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