There is potential disaster brewing within the transition to electric vehicles, which nobody seems to be addressing. And, according to Connected Kerb, COO and Founder Paul Ayres, everyone’s in denial.
On the 13th of March, the European Heart Journal released a new study that showed that the decarbonisation process isn’t working from a health perspective. The attributable pollutive contributions to air pollution from vehicles causes approximately 800,000 deaths in Europe every year. Ayres says this is wake up call, as he believes that many have forgotten that this is the main reason we are shifting over to cleaner energy in the first place.
It is time for us all to shift from gas-guzzling cavemen to mobility pioneers.
“There is irrefutable proof that internal combustion engine vehicles are bad for us. But we’re in a position where, on one hand, we have the younger generation crying out for change and, on the other, older generations who are petrol heads living in denial and suffering from transition inertia,” he claims.
Due to this, Ayres believes that it’s not down to economics or supply, but the change of behaviour. “If you can assist the majority and change their behaviour about the consumption of transport mobility, then you’ve nailed it,” he says. “Nobody seems to talk about this, and it drives me to distraction.”
Thus, it is vital to balance the realities of the market, which are catastrophic at the moment. Experts warn that the industry only has approximately 20 years to transition over to EVs being the dominant means of transport, with only 181,000 registered on roads today. With over 37 million private light goods vehicles on the road today, that’s one hell of a target.
From Petrol Head to Mobility Mad
Ayres unashamedly loves internal combustion engine powered cars. He loves the smell, noise and the fundamental ritual of car journeys. But he understands that this will change in the near future.
He also admits that, currently, he and his team cannot do their jobs based on the existing EV infrastructure. “We’ve looked into it and are more than happy to get rid of our petrol cars, but it would not be possible,” he says. “If I have a meeting in the north of England or Wales, I just can’t do it with an EV at present.”
And then there’s the problem of the average consumer who like me, let’s admit, are lazy. We can’t be bothered to pull over and wait for our car to charge for 40 minutes. It’s just not in our nature.
But an industry that has taken almost 250 years to evolve, will be completely revolutionised in just a few years’ time, thanks to the influx of technology and innovation. But Ayres says that this will require support from all sides of the industry.
“This will demand huge investment and collaboration from both public and private sectors, a willing consumer audience, unparalleled innovation from industry and a lot of luck to hit the targets that have been established,” adds Ayres. “Unless we start the work today, we’ll never get to fix the problems tomorrow.”
Connected Kerb’s role isn’t to change the perception of this. Because perception doesn’t change behaviour. What Ayres and his team are focused on, is changing confidence levels.
“If you’re trying to change the way in which you do something, you have to be convinced of a number of different things,” he says. “Change must not impact the efficacy of whatever you are doing, cost any more in terms of effort, money or energy, or be difficult to adopt – which doesn’t actually tick any boxes for EVs.”
So it is clear that we have to change the psychology surrounding EVs which will, in turn, change the behaviour. The concern Ayres has surrounds the fantasist approach to what is going on with EVs. Yes, the infrastructure isn’t totally there, but this isn’t helping the attractiveness of EV ownership.
“We are constantly repeating the negatives and forgetting about the positives, which are the reason that there are legislations in place. By 2040, we will have a better, non-pollutive atmosphere and fewer people will die,” he assures.
Ayres clearly understands that Connected Kerb cannot solve every problem. But what he is trying to do is solve consumer behaviour change by supplying the average consumer with the social economic resources to acquire and operate an EV thanks to efficient infrastructure.
“Connected Kerb’s job is to enable people who don’t have driveways, by working with local governments to build meaningful solutions to mobility and transport consumption. We think that we are the best from infrastructure and futureproof perspective.”