Businesses test-drive the latest electric vehicles and meet with local experts at the CNE seminar

CNE held an Electric Vehicles (EV) event at the Royal Cornwall Showground on 18 September 2018. This event gave local businesses the opportunity to discover more about CNE and emerging EV technology.

The workshop began with introductions from CNE's Alex Nicholas and Amanda Forman, outlining the opportunities for businesses to put their surplus renewable energy to good use by powering EVs. Matt Trevaskis, Director at Ecodrive and Keynote Speaker at the event, spoke about the uptake of EVs in recent years highlighting the importance of understanding the user profile when creating a strategic business model. He went on to suggest that the EV infrastructure, particularly rapid (level 3) charge points, is not growing as quickly as it should to match EV demand.

Eloise Travis, from Cornwall Council, outlined the air quality issues that the region is facing, which is driven in part by road transportation. She highlighted the infrastructural changes which can support the uptake of electric vehicles whilst ensuring the power system can cope. The costs of EVs and their infrastructure can be off-putting, yet there are numerous grants and tax benefits to aid adoption which were laid out by Peter Eggeman from the Energy Saving Trust. He highlighted grants available for charge points and vehicles, which aim to encourage the uptake of this technology, particularly relevant to the SMEs at the event.

Whilst the environmental benefits of EVs are clear, the presentation from Tony Sampson, from Naked Solar Ltd, used their user experience as a case study for the benefits of EVs. Their EV fleet provides employees with an efficient and cost-effective way to visit sites.

Attendees had the opportunity to attend elective presentations on charging systems, the fleet perspective and business car clubs. Keith Hounsell, founder and CEO of Plug-N-Go, provided a succinct summary of the types of EV charging points and connectors available; a topic which can often confuse customers. This was followed by Peter Eggeman's presentation which outlined the key considerations for business' adopting an EV fleet. The day closed with a presentation from Mark Hodgson, Manging Director of Co-cars, examining the benefits of car clubs and how Co-cars can provide businesses and individuals with a cost effective and clean mode of transportation.

Matt Trevaskis, Keynote Speaker, commented on the event:

"Over 100 people attended the Electric Vehicle seminar on Sept 18 with a good mix of small and medium sized businesses attending.

13 car manufacturers and charge point manufacturers exhibited at the supplier fair and there was plenty of time for networking and making new contacts. There were plug-in cars on display from Mitsubishi, Nissan, BMW, Hyundai, Renault and Ezidrive. And there were also some commercial vehicles including vans from Peugeot and the revised Nissan e-NV200. Thanks to all the space available at the Royal Cornwall Showground there were plenty of opportunities taken for test drives on a closed circuit. The electric push bikes bought along by Clive Mitchell cycles were also very popular as well as the informal elective presentations on specific areas that the Cornwall New Energy project can help with.

Overall it was a great coming together of the key organisations promoting the uptake of EVs in Cornwall with those businesses keen to adopt them and it was a delight to be interviewed for BBC Spotlight.

If you have a business and an interest in moving to Electric Vehicles it would be worthwhile making contact with the Cornwall New Energy project for some initial free advice and guidance."