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ITH – Electric Avenue – The Interview {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

23 Aug 2017

This week’s In the Headlight promotion focuses on electric power – both hybrids and full EVs – with a selection of four cars chosen by Erik Fairbairn, CEO of POD Point, the UK’s leading provider of electric vehicle charging. POD Point has been around since 2009 after Erik saw a chance to change the landscape of EV charging. It couldn’t be more different from his previous job where he started the UK’s most successful Supercar club!

To start with Erik goes into a little more detail on the four cars he has chosen this week:

BMW 530e iPerformance

Our motorways are full of diesel powered saloons these days, but this BMW is the perfect example of how this is going to change in the short term. You still have all the performance you want, but you have incredible economy, super low emissions and silent running in town with all the comfort you’d expect from an executive saloon.

VW Golf GTE

Fancy a hot hatch but don’t fancy the running costs? This Golf is for you then, it has the fantastic Golf cabin and quality, looks pretty much the same as a GTi and has nearly the same power. But you also get the ability to drive in full electric mode, super low emissions and over 150mpg!

Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

This really is the perfect city car – the way an EV drives is totally different from an ICE (internal combustion engine) car, in that the power and acceleration is instantaneous and constant. There’s no gearchanges, no hesitation, you just push the accelerator and away you go in one seamless rush, perfect for darting through busy traffic. Add in the fact that it’s absolutely tiny and you can always find a parking space and it’s also huge fun to drive!

Tesla Model X P100D

This was an easy choice – I have one myself! I have a large family so the combination of effortless performance, loads of interior space, those amazing doors and of course the huge range offered by the P100D made it the only choice for me. It’s perhaps the car which is best demonstrating what the future of electric motoring looks like. With all the autonomous tech included, within a few years it could be driving me to work while I do my emails in the back!

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So those are Erik’s choices, but Tim Oldland sat down and delved a little deeper into his thoughts on electric vehicles in the future:

Q: How do you think EVs are going to change the landscape of motoring?

A: EV’s are a fundamental change in the way we power personal transport – the last time this happened was when we transitioned from steam power to the internal combustion engine 100 years ago.  Today about 2% of cars sold in the UK are plug in vehicles – I think we’ll see this jump to 7% by 2020 and 90% by 2030 – in 10 years’ time it will be very rare for someone to buy a car which isn’t fully electric!

Q: Do you think range extending EVs are the way to ease the public into the electric lifestyle?

A: To me a hybrid / range extending vehicle is compromised – you spend most of the time carrying the weigh and complexity of two powertrains but most of the time you are only using one powertrain – not an efficient solution. That said, I think of them as stepping stones to full EV. People who aren’t ready to jump into a full electric vehicle can drive a plug-in hybrid, get used to charging and the pleasures of electric driving, whilst retaining the familiarity of an ICE powertrain. They will then be ready to go for a full electric vehicle on their next purchase.

Q: What do you make of the new crop of electric supercars? Are they just fashionable showpieces or will their tech eventually filter down?

A: I’m sure the tech will filter down, but in truth, the best place to look for tomorrows EV tech is probably Tesla – you’ve seen my view on the Model X – this car is really showing us all what the future of electric motoring is going to be about – no compromises, zero emission, high performance. All we need to solve is the cost, and with the new Leaf and the Tesla Model 3, we are beginning to see the cost of full EVs dropping down to price points which the mass market can engage with.

Q: Which of the new EVs coming out in the next couple of years interest you?

A: I think the Tesla Model 3 and the new Nissan Leaf are probably the most exiting – they represent electric vehicles at the price points which make sense to the mass market – Cars like the Jaguar i-Pace and BMW i5 look like they are going to be great products, but at a higher price point than most motorists can consider. In my view, EV will replace internal combustion as soon as you can get 200 mile range cars for £20k – the new Leaf and the Model 3 are the cars which move us most in this direction.

Q: What lies in the future for POD Point?

A: We set off with a mission to put a charge point everywhere you park  - we’ve installed 40,000 charge points so far across home, workplaces, and public locations making us the largest network of charge points in Europe. This however is only the start – we think we are going to need to install around 30 million charge points across the UK to handle the mass adoption of electric vehicles, so expect to see more and more POD Points springing up in the coming months and years!

Don’t forget to get your tickets for this week’s ITH cars, for one week only right here!

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