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has·to·be’s CSO Tobias Scharfen talks EV roadblocks, hybrids and innovation

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What do you think is currently the biggest roadblock to the EV transition in the UK?

From my perspective the biggest roadblock currently is the still small number of EVs on the road and the long lead times for the coming ones. On infrastructure side there are many initiatives and roll outs up and running that of course need the customers to get investments back.

Furthermore, compared to other markets, there are large players in the UK that build up charging stations in walled gardens that only can be used by their own customers. The consequences of no roaming environments are range anxiety and inconvenience for the driver that leads to lower acceptance of eMobility.

What do you think the impact of the 2035 ban on hybrids, as well as ICE vehicles, will be on charging infrastructure and demand?

Easy to say demand will rise exponentially in EVs, chargers, and of course in power. Several bottlenecks might rise like private wallboxes and installation capacity. Especially with fast charging on the highways, this will become critical factor as we can already see in more mature markets like the Nordics.

Last but not least, the grid needs several innovations to serve the demand in power stable and efficient. Our industry is in a preparation phase today we all must use to be ready.

How much of an impact could the implementation of roaming charging networks have on consumer uptake of EVs and consumer confidence?

There would be a massive impact in customer confidence, convenience and acceptance regarding EVs, as already said.

The access to a large public network with transparent prices is mandatory to carry EVs to mass market. The customer is tired of having different apps on their phones, divided bills and hundreds of pounds on prepaid accounts.

Additionally, corporate car drivers need an easy way to get their charges paid or reimbursed; this all leads to one application and contract for the whole public charging infrastructure.

How much of an impact will V2G and Smart Charging solutions have on customer charging experience and behaviour?

Smart charging and load management will become important from a financial point of view and mandatory from a grid stability point. Large business models are ready to get started, especially in B2B use cases focused on large power customers.

Regarding V2G my feeling is that we are not that close to real life use cases as market rules, deciding players and business models are still open. An easy example of this is: How can unlimited bidirectional charging exists with the OEM guarantee of a long-life battery in the EV?

What is driving innovation in the EV space at the moment, and is this happening fast enough?

Fresh business models and market opportunities are the main drivers for innovation, and are much more important and sustainable than public subsidiaries and governmental projects. Of course, currently agile ideas clash with large and slow enterprises coming from long existing sectors like automotive and energy, but my feeling is that there is a good alignment and the right momentum to create the innovations needed to drive the industry.

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