Q&A: David Martell of Chargemaster
As Chargemaster moves to renewable energy sources for its POLAR network, and opens the first multi-brand, all-EV showroom in Milton Keynes, CEO David Martell says it’s a case of ‘when’ instead of ‘why’ for electrified fleets.
How much has the POLAR network grown this year? How many Ultrachargers are installed, and how many will you have by the end of the year?
Chargemaster operates over 750 rapid chargers on the POLAR network, including 50 of our latest, UK-made Ultracharge units. We are installing an additional 200 Ultracharge units across the network by the end of the year. Since July 2016, our number of active users has more than doubled, to 40,000 and the number of charges has increased by a third.
The Electric Vehicle Experience Centre (EVEC) in Milton Keynes opened this month – do you have plans for other sites around the country? And what services does this offer for fleets?
The EVEC in Milton Keynes is a unique initiative, developed by Chargemaster and Milton Keynes Council. We have had interest from several other towns, cities and even countries about them setting up something similar. We already have a Partnership Manager based full-time at the EVEC to engage with local businesses and fleets to help them look at the ways they can bring more EVs into their fleet and encourage their drivers to go electric.
Has business appetite for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles changed over the last year?
As more electric vehicles have come to market – there are now around 50 models compared to nine or 10 in 2012 – with longer range and lower prices, they have become more of a ‘no brainer’ for more drivers. The attitude for many people has shifted from ‘why’ to ‘when’ in terms of making the shift to an electric vehicle.
What technology do you think will have the biggest influence on the ULEV market over the next few years?
It’s not necessarily one technology that will have an impact on EV uptake, but the combination of having electric vehicles with longer range, lower prices and crucially that are more desirable. The electric vehicles on the market now are very ‘normal’ cars and with the halo effect of brands like Tesla, and with Audi and Jaguar bringing out long-range, pure electric cars in the near future, they are incredibly appealing.
And how do you think the government could support the market better?
We are surging ahead with our investment in electric vehicle infrastructure in the UK and would of course welcome more government support. The most important thing that we, and the rest of the industry needs from government is consistency. To plan ahead and make investments, we need much greater stability in policy for things like incentives and taxation.
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