Guest editor David Watson, CEO at Ohme, believes data must drive the UK's transition to electric vehicles
Energy companies, consumers and OEMs alike will benefit from a demand-led, insights-driven market as we embark on the electrification journey
Futuristic, exclusive and expensive, electric vehicles (EVs) have gained a reputation over recent years of being accessible only to the elite. Today, the barriers to adoption are tumbling down. From government tax incentives to shrink upfront costs to smart charging technology which brings down running expenses, there’s no doubt EVs are becoming much more affordable and mainstream.
What’s more, the UK’s electric revolution stepped up a gear this month with huge commitments from the likes of Ford and Jaguar Land Rover to go all electric by 2030 or earlier, so production and supply are in no danger of falling short. But as we tip headfirst into an electric future, the industry needs to recognise that this transition must be underpinned by data at every step of the way, for the sake of every player.
First and foremost, an intelligent demand led approach informed by data, will protect our nation’s electricity infrastructure, which will enable mass adoption of EVs without compromising the National Grid. Ohme’s research forecasts up to 10 million EVs on Britain’s roads by 2030, which will require a doubling of the UK's peak capacity and a 12 percent increase on the total electricity we generate today. If every EV owner in 2030 plugs in at the same time, the grid simply won’t be able to handle the surge in demand.
By using smarter technology, like Ohme’s, we can gather insights into EV related power demand and shift it by time and location to ensure infrastructure isn’t overwhelmed to maximise capacity. This means we don’t have to dig up roads or replace old equipment at great expense. Instead, we can extend the life of the grid for years and still accommodate the huge increase in EVs.
Next come the benefits to energy suppliers. Accustomed to data-led services in every aspect of life, today’s consumers want green energy, bespoke tariffs and a price that reflects their usage patterns. Some progressive energy companies like Octopus are already using data to understand their customers, but many traditional energy companies are getting left behind, struggling to stay relevant to people’s lives and maintain a loyal customer base.
Smart, insight-rich technologies can help these companies better connect with their customers whilst also generating valuable intelligence about consumer behaviours. From here, a door opens to innovation around product design, tariffs, grid management technologies and more. There’s no doubt that this kind of data is desperately needed to future proof the whole industry network as the energy mix evolves at a rapid pace.
At the same time, working with data platforms like Ohme to gain these insights into driver behaviour and charging patterns will prove vital for OEMs like Ford and Jaguar Land Rover as they manage their new electric customer base. Brands will be able to better understand everything from usage to mileage to charge times and shape their strategy accordingly. Whether it’s vehicle design, insurance or after sales care, this data can improve every aspect of an OEMs service offer.
We’re teetering on the edge of a whole new era of motoring, and we have the data to make sure that transition goes as smoothly as possible. Taking a data-led approach from the start will make sure the market stays right side up as the UK charts a course to all out electrification.