Centrica’s newly-unveiled partnership with car manufacturer Lotus is designed to “really push the boundaries of what electric vehicle ownership could be”.
Speaking to Current± following the announcement earlier this month, vice president of Centrica Innovations, Carl Bayliss, said that the two companies wanted to “push the boundaries” rather than “building upon a legacy model”.
The ownership model is set to make the car an extension of the home, capable of storing electricity and generating income through providing energy services to the market, with Centrica outlining its vision of cars being controlled by smart devices both at home and on the move as part of the initial announcement.
Bayliss cited consumer confidence in working with data, alongside the mobile phone “becoming an integral part of vehicle ownership” through apps such as Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, although he added that while consumers have been “doing that for some time, it’s an add on to the car ownership experience”.
“What we want to do is to take those lines away and think about that data and the energy flow between the home and the car”.
Bayliss pointed to Centrica's experience with consumer's homes due to its British Gas brand as well as its Connected Homes service Hive, stating that this gives the company "all the constituent parts to really put together a seamless experience for the customer".
"What Lotus has in return is a really passionate and enthusiastic customer group and a growing aspiration as a brand, particularly in electrification".
Using an electric vehicle - Lotus' Evija hypercar - for the new ownership model is set to add “so much more in terms of engagement with the home energy management system,” Bayliss continued, highlighting the "smart home integrated environment between the home and the garage where there’s perhaps a battery on the wall and solar panels on the roof”.
The focus, he said, is on “bringing that ecosystem into one area and one environment the connected customer can work within”.
“We’re in this unique position where we can build a position for the driver which is around this connected customer and bring two ordinarily siloed brands and businesses, and two industries together to create that unique space around that connected customer”.
The duo are being “very ambitious” with the timeline, with Bayliss adding that “we’ll start to see the fruits of our activity before the end of the year”. Deliveries of the Evija are set to begin before the end of 2020, with the vehicle to be manufactured at Lotus' Norfolk HQ later in the year.
“We’ve worked very quickly on it. We would have liked to announced it sooner but COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works. But again that’s testament to the appetite from industries and the quality of the relationship,” Bayliss finished.