Gateshead – The Conference

Firstly I must apologise for not posting sooner. The conference was such a success and I was so busy talking to people that I simply didn’t have time to even get a coffee in the breaks let alone twitter. Then, afterwards, I had to get to the Newcastle ferry terminal before 4.30 to catch the 5pm sailing to Amsterdam. I made it but by the time I had settled on board we were out of range of UK phone signal and as I am trying to keep my roaming charges down I decided that it would be better to leave it until I arrived at the hotel here in Amsterdam.

So, after arriving later than planned by 30 minutes I noticed that the car park “Full” sign was up at the college but as I had reserved a charging bay I was immediately parked up, swiped my fresh, new Charge Your Car card and plugged in to the Pod Point post. A great start and this is basically how the conference continued.

After registering I was told immediately that Michael Hurwitz, head of OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) wanted to see me so straight away I was discussing my trip, how easy it was with fast charging and how much easier it would have been if there were more fast chargers strategically located on main routes. This was basically the main part of my message to everyone I met all day.

It seemed that everyone there wanted to meet me and to discuss my 460 mile trip to Gateshead from Saltash, Cornwall and I was pleased to talk to everyone. This in itself gave me a problem… should I just take advantage of the opportunity to speak to many of the main players in creating charging infrastructure in the UK or do I take it in a more relaxed manner and twitter in the breaks? I decided that I had gone a long way to meet them and now I had the chance I should take full advantage and speak to them first and foremost, which is what I did.

I won’t cover the individual sessions and speeches now. There was a huge amount covered and all of it interesting and very relevent to all EV owners and potential future owners and I will write up the sessions over the next week or two. However, what I will say is that I have come away from the conference with a new and hopefully clearer understanding of many of the challenges and opportunities present in creating a viable and sustainable charging infrastructure in the UK. It is not as easy as we all like to think it is and there are many interests and many pressures that that have to be met, not only locally and nationally but internationally, if we want a network of charging station that will see us well into the future. I will cover many of those points later.

So, was the conference worth the effort of the 460 mile trip (920 round trip)? The answer to that is a huge YES and in so many more ways than I had imagined. I will try to give you an idea of why I say this in the blogs to come.

The future looks a lot brighter to me for EV owners than it did before the conference and I am very excited by many of the initiatives and up and coming projects for charging infrastructure in the UK.

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