Ever been caught standing on the wrong side of opinion when the music stopped? For twelve happy years I’ve been driving an aging Land Rover Defender as my daily ‘run-about’. It cost me £4k. I’ve also spent £6k keeping it safely on the road and I could probably get £2k for it as it stands. So, £8k for twelve years motoring - bargain. Especially when thrill seekers like me, need drive at no more than 40 mph for the full white-knuckle ride. What a hoot, and you can chuck wood, steel, bikes, even garden centres, you name it, in the back. No problem.
Unfortunately, the news headlines and mood music say otherwise and it’s every day now. The major global car manufacturers are beginning to catch-up with Tesla (How do you ever catch-up with a maverick visionary, that doesn’t blink when taking large bets with his own money?) and, with 50 or so, model launches alone, announced this year, and that’s just thus far. Great! No, not so great for my dear 30-year-old Defender. But that’s not the point. It’s not about rusting old 50-year-old technology. It’s not even about technology in the end. That’s a given now. It’s not even about the future. It’s now, and it’s about behaviour change.
And by the time I’ve finished writing, they’ll be, heaven only knows how many extra electric charge points around the country? Brilliant. We are going to need them for the ’energy transition’. Remember how we had to transition the infrastructure for the web? how suddenly the tipping point came? As of now, in the UK, there are more than 35,000 charge points and it's growing so fast. Google it yourself.
I’d like to say, we saw it coming in November 2009. Photo evidence below…
Early one Sunday morning we installed this cute little eSmart Car on the eighth floor of the Hilton Hotel, pushing it across the ballroom floor into position (no dripping sump oil on the carpet to worry about). Nuts I know. The point was to catch the eye of the then, Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and delegates on their way into the ballroom for a CBI annual conference.
What we couldn’t see coming, was the rate of change. If you change your car now, for another petrol/diesel it will surely be for the very last time. A wise investment? The residuals do concern me.
Disruptive, it may be, and reluctant though I am to say goodbye to my Defender, I’m actually quite excited.
Battery power… mine’s on order.