At the beginning of February 2020, following a long period of rumours, it was announced that EDF had acquired electric vehicle (EV) charging company Pod Point.
The move is set to help EDF secure its place in the UK’s growing EV space, while providing Pod Point with the ability to accelerate its operations.
Erik Fairbairn Pod Point CEO and founder talked to Current± about what will change for the company now and how the EV transition is accelerating in the UK.
How will the acquisition change the day to day running of the company?
In some ways it changes everything, particularly in terms of our ability to scale, and in some ways it changes very little. We have the same mission, the same name, the same team, the same passion, but now with more resources to enable us to grow the UK’s charging infrastructure at an even faster rate.
When announcing the acquisition, you said it would allow you to “take things to the next level". Could you expand on what that next level will be?
The EV industry has begun its hyper-growth phase. Acquisition by EDF allows Pod Point to scale to meet the challenges that growth presents, whilst also increasing investment into our products and services to make sure they remain market leading in areas like smart charging and ease of use.
So what’s next? We will continue to build great charging solutions across home, work and destination locations, but now, we will be able to move faster, and deploy more quickly. Our vision of Travel Not Damaging the Earth seems closer and closer to becoming a reality.
How do you think the EV transition is progressing in the UK?
In the future we will look back and announce that 2020 was the tipping point for EV. Everything is now in place for a very rapid adoption of electric vehicles. We are at about 3% of new car sales being EVs currently, and by the end of the 2020s we will be at 93% - it is going to be an amazing decade.
Could more be done by the government to facilitate this transition?
Throughout Pod Point’s near 11 years we’ve been fortunate to receive consistent support from governments of all different hues - and we are immensely grateful for that. We have always worked closely with OLEV and are supportive of their agenda.
In essence, we ask the government to continue to encourage the supply of EVs into the market, as this boosts demand for charging, to give long term clarity on their incentives so the market can plan, and to allow for competition and innovation to flourish within the charging market.
Will the ban on hybrids, as well as ICE vehicles, have an impact on charging infrastructure and demand?
At Pod Point we’ve always seen the hybrids as a short term transitional technology. Having both an electric and an ICE power train is not optimal, and we see that full electric vehicles are improving so quickly now that the days of the hybrid are already numbered. We expect a ban on hybrids will help accelerate the transition to EV with demand for charging infrastructure increasing accordingly.
How important will interoperability be going forwards?
It’s always been my view that chargepoints should be easily accessible by everyone. Indeed the top three networks in Zap-Map’s EV driver survey two years running - Tesla, InstaVolt and Pod Point - don’t have what some may deem 'interoperable' approaches, but each makes ad hoc access as easy as possible, with each bringing their own innovations in that space.
We believe in solving for the EV driver and making sure the charging experience is as painless as possible.