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This week we’re speaking to Greg Fairbotham, Founder of Zoom EV, a start-up company focussed on driving forward a new era for electric vehicles (EV) and electric mobility-as-a-service.

Ironically Greg’s background had been predominantly in oil and gas, before seeing the light (no pun intended!) and setting up Zoom EV two years ago. Claritas spent five minutes with Greg discussing how Covid-19 has affected plans, what the future of electric vehicles looks like, and understanding more about Zoom EV’s wider mobility objectives.

Greg, thanks for joining us and taking time out of your busy schedule, we’re really excited to be chatting to you as climate change and technology have really come to the forefront over the last few months with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

How has life in lockdown changed for Zoom EV and how has it impacted on your plans going forward?

I think as with everything over the last few months, we’ve had to change and adapt. March and April for Zoom EV were going to be our best months since we started, we had a number of initiatives in the pipeline which we’ve had to pause, but hopefully as restrictions begin to ease over the coming months, we can dust ourselves down and bring these back to the market.

One of those initiatives is a partnership with Jardine Motors Group – one of the UK’s largest automotive groups – where we’re offering EV customers access to our new EV benefits bundle scheme – which includes access to public charging, nationwide parking, home charging and green energy benefits. We’ve made sure we’ve partnered with market leaders in all of these areas to offer specific rates that save EV owners money.

The other initiative that we’re going to be launching shortly with Jardines is enabling the ‘use’ of EVs on our EV sharing platform. Our platform enables people to use a vehicle when they need it, rather than owning an asset and it sits idle 95% of the time (which is how long a car statistically sits idle for!). So, we’re excited that soon people will be able to use vehicles on a completely flexible basis!

So COVID paused plans but I do think that ultimately it will only have benefited Zoom and get people thinking more specifically about EVs and their mobility choices.

Up until a few months ago, climate change was never far from people’s lips, do you think Covid-19 has overshadowed the drive for change or helped to empower it?

Good question, I think Covid-19 has only served to emphasise air quality due to the benefits from reduced travel. We’ve all seen the images circulating on the various news channels showing China without its smog or the Himalayas without being shrouded in thick cloud and we like what we see. This isn’t a coincidence; these have happened because of lockdown and the huge reduction in car and industry CO2 emissions across the world. My bigger concern is that people forget the difference each of us makes and that once lockdown is lifted, before we know it, we’ve returned to how it was before.

However, I am encouraged by the noises coming from the UK Government emphasising the ‘green economy’ moving forward. We’ve seen pop up bike and walking lanes appear across cities through lockdown and a big emphasis on electric vehicles and the role they’ll play. All of the organisations we speak to feel it’s only further emphasised the need to transition to EVs and better mobility solutions. I really think how we recover from Covid-19 can really change the way we think about everything from public health through to carbon emissions.

Moving the emphasis back slightly towards electric vehicles, if we are to become greener moving forward, how do we tackle the myths still surrounding electric vehicles and their ownership?

Another good question, EV car manufacturing has moved on leaps and bounds in the last five years with EV car design improving and they’re going further and further every year.

It’s really varied in terms of those manufacturers getting it right. Nissan and Renault have cornered the small mid-market with their Leaf and Zoe models but by far the leader in the field has to be Tesla. Yes, they are expensive, yes, they are a luxury, but Elon Musk has approached the situation completely differently to any other car manufacturer – he’s looked at the technology as a whole.

Tackling the myths is all about education and training – poor knowledge from the start inhibits the popularity of EV vehicles moving forward, allowing the myths to grow. Through our work with Jardine Motor Group, we’re working with their sales teams to expand their knowledge of EV’s and their capabilities. If we educate the teams; they’re able to answer a customers’ queries at the first point of contact – simple!

Finally, Greg what’s next for Zoom EV?

A number of things really. Our core focus is to scale up our business and leverage our first mover advantage in the electric mobility-as-a-service space. We’ll be pushing this hard over the next couple of years to become the market leaders.

We also have big plans for our platform to enable people to use electric vehicles on a completely flexible basis. We’re going to be the only platform in the UK that can enable EVs from various places e.g. auto-dealers, councils, individuals to be shared in one place, so we’re incredibly excited about that. So, for example you can try an EV for three days from an auto-dealer and really get to use it properly or you can use one for a weekend trip, it’s that simple!

We’ve all used our cars less and less in lockdown and as home working become the norm for the majority of people in some shape or form once restrictions are raised, why do you even need to own a car at all? Why not share one when you need it and have less hassle?

We’re incredibly excited for the ‘new normal’ to kick in and to get cracking. Most importantly though we’re excited that this ‘new normal’ drives a positive change towards electric vehicles, using them more efficiently and ultimately impacting on the biggest threat to all of us, climate change.

 

To find out more about Zoom EV, their products and services, visit their website https://www.zoom-ev.com

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