A review of The Future of EV at the London Transport Museum

EV Magazine hosted its first event at the London Transport Museum in February 2023, and here are the highlights from the EV speakers’ keynote sessions

As eloquently explained by Filippo Perini, Chief Design Officer at AEHRA, we’re entering a new era—one that will see immense shifts in the way cars look, feel, and operate. 

At EV Magazine LIVE, we set out to paint a picture of the industry and how it currently interacts with others to fulfil the electrical revolution sustainably and without compromise. 

Hosted at an iconic venue—one close to many hearts in the room at the show—the Transport Museum, EV Magazine LIVE’s first ever showcase marks a new era for EV Magazine, but also provided some great thoughts to take away into the wider automotive, aviation, and marine industries—and those that support them. 

From revolutionary design and adoption of EVs to initiatives that take lessons from passenger cars and raise them to other sectors, attendees enjoyed an intimate discussion with leading executives who raised critical questions around e-mobility and the drive to decarbonise transport. 

AEHRA: Europe and the EV transition

Having spoken to AEHRA’s Co-Founder and CEO Hazim Nada at the launch of the company’s first ever EV, he told us a lot about the sustainable composition of the car and it plays to localised production methods, sourcing sheet moulded carbon material from Europe for its monocoque chassis build. 

Joining us at EV Magazine LIVE, Perini brings a new level of detail to the conversation with the AEHRA SUV in front of him for reference. Like the AEHRA team, the car travelled across borders to be with us for its first UK appearance and grabbed the attention of our in-person attendees. 

Perini speaks about the difficulties he faced when designing the car to meet the needs of the Italian car scene while transitioning his design methods to the modern world. 

“I was asked by Hazim Nada to translate this passion into a new recipe for an electric car,” says Perini. 

Taking principles from automotive, the team understood that the absence of an internal combustion engine meant that a significant space had to be filled—the ‘male’ emotion in the vehicle, so to speak. 

“Our goal is to evolve our discussion, our concept, to something that is emotional enough to feel this lack of content.” 

Mobility: Electrification begins with EV infrastructure

Tackling the debates between public transport and personal passenger vehicles are two very good friends Sara Sloman, Chief Strategy Officer at Paythru, and Alex Gilbert, Head of Energy and E-Mobility at Transport for London

It’s safe to say the pair really evangelise the history of public transport in London and the venue in which they were hosted, but the real conversation to focus on is one of acceptance and innovation. 

As explained by Gilbert, “the bit that gets interesting is [marrying] public transport with EVs, and getting the balance right.” 

He touched upon the key point that acceptance of EVs is often a task for the public transport authorities and users, and vice versa, as all methods of transport have their place in the wider e-mobility ecosystem. 

“What gets really interesting is this kind of mobility-as-a-service, but these blurred lines of what will and won’t be public transport going forward,” says Gilbert. “It’s just not as easy as it used to be, but it means there is a role for everyone.” 

Sloman continued this point from Gilbert by further emphasising the speed at which the conversation has changed from many organisations being reluctant to shift, but then understanding where the trends are and the demands on them to invest more in electrical infrastructure.

“I think there’s a balance between ‘build it and they will come’ or ‘build it and shove them towards it’—the carrot and stick principle,” says Sloman. “We’ve seen a huge surge in micro-mobility and public transport, and the direct result of clean air zones. 

E1 Series: Powering initiatives to leave a sustainable legacy

Opening up the floor to a new world of electrification, Rodi Basso, Co-Founder and CEO of E1 Series delves into the motorsport that he has so passionately developed in collaboration with Alejandro Agag—the Founder and CEO of Extreme E, Founder and Chairman of FIA Formula E and E1 Series—and in partnership with SeaBird Technologies. 

This is a motorsport that will be covered later on in the year, however, Basso paints a great picture of the motorsport as an initiative to raise awareness of sustainability and climate issues affecting coastlines, and achieving buy-in from the relevant stakeholders to action those changes. 

“What is important for me to share with you is that we have much more beyond the sport ,” said Basso to the attendees at the event. 

“Wherever we race, we will leave behind the charging infrastructure. This will allow people to start thinking ‘okay, I can buy an electric RIB, I can buy a leisure boat based on electric propulsion’.”

“Ours will be a simple contribution, but in a good direction.” 

Through its Blue Action programme, supported by Carlos Duarte—the leading marine biologist and researcher in the world—that will allow E1 to drive progress towards more sustainable oceans.

GRIDSERVE: The charging dilemma. What are we going to do? 

Someone who is at the forefront of the UK’s charging infrastructure development is Sam Clarke, Chief Vehicle Officer at GRIDSERVE Sustainable Energy Limited

As an EV driver of 20+ years, Clarke is now working with the team at GRIDSERVE to electrify the nation by means of its Electric Highway project. One of the points addressed by Clarke in the current ‘EV bashing’, which is seemingly whittling away as more and more drivers make the shift to electrified cars. 

“We’ve got a lot of misinformation here and if you’re going to look at the media or news then please make sure that it is fact checked,” Clarke explains as he believes that many of the opinions from influencers discredit the country’s electrification capabilities. 

After citing some key statistics on charger installation requirements and where to find them, Clarke stresses the importance of taking action over dwelling on the challenges ahead. 

“It’s about the right chargers, at the right places, at the right time. It’s not about a big number that frightens everybody.” 

Volvo Trucks: The future of commercial EV

As an important topic in 2023, the commercial vehicle discussion closed the show, thanks to Martin Kearns, Head of E-mobility at Volvo Trucks

Firstly, he addressed the need for decarbonisation in transport and the technologies that will allow companies to leverage long and short-haul vehicle capabilities—electric and hydrogen fuel-cell.

“There seems to be a sharp line between those two technologies. It’s also a lot about availability, infrastructure, and, also important, the price of green electricity and green hydrogen,” says Kearns. 

Really, what Kearns was able to do is share an overview of the combined efforts between electrified solutions, hydrogen-powered vehicles, as well as the potential biofuels to enable a sustainable future for all vehicles, let alone the commercial sector. 

Kearns says: “The energy efficiency of these vehicles is developing at such a rate now. When we launched our first generation, fully electric buses in 2015, the batteries had a capacity of around 50kWh. Second generation, 66kWh. And now, with the third generation batteries, we’re somewhere around 90kWh.”

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