This year’s Cenex-Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) event  in early September included a section on Connected Automated Mobility (CAM) for the first time, making it a must-be-there occasion for me!

I was at the very first Cenex-LCV in 2007, when I was working as Marketing Manager for Modec, along with a hundred or so other delegates. This year the number of attendees had rocketed to over 6,000, demonstrating the importance and appeal of this sector of the automotive industry.

Held at the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire, the event also provided an opportunity for delegates to test drive around 70 electric vehicles from more than 30 manufacturers, on its city, high speed or hill circuits.

Two days of seminars and networking provided plenty of opportunity to review how far we’ve come in the past year and explore the mood and vibes of the LCV and CAM scene. There were speakers from Asia and Europe, where the infrastructure to support electric vehicles is much more developed than in the UK, and presentations from everyone who’s anyone within the UK’s LCV/CAM industry and Government. Most encouraging were a representative from OLEV (the Office for Low Emission Vehicles), who addressed the challenges of creating an interoperable charging infrastructure network, and the CEO of the SMMT, who outlined the state of the UK market – 60 electric vehicles available to buy today, rising to an anticipated 200 within 18 months.

One of those vehicles is the e-tron, Audi’s first electric car, which was available to test drive at the show (and of course I did!). Interestingly, Audi was recently voted by the public as the brand most trusted to produce a reliable electric vehicle – even though many other manufacturers launched EVs much earlier.

I was particularly proud to be speaking at the 12th LCV event about a real-world EV pilot which signifies real change in the industry. My client Addison Lee added five e-trons to its fleet earlier this year for a 6-month trial period – an exciting breakthrough after waiting so long for the right tool for the job! I shared insights from this pilot on the main plenary stage and, for anyone who missed it, here are five key points from the presentation:

  • scale is key to success – we have to think BIG if we’re going to improve air quality through electrification
  • we need to focus on fleets – if we do this, we’ll get many more EVs on the road in a much shorter time
  • vehicle availability will be vital and some public funding is necessary to accelerate private investment and allow fleets to scale up quickly
  • we urgently need a reliable, rapid and interoperable charging network; the current set-up will simply not support mass EV adoption
  • collaboration is key; with so many new challenges no one body can succeed alone; but I’m confident that through partnerships, like the one between Addison Lee and Audi, we will find a way forward.

All in all, a thoroughly inspiring event to kick off the post-holiday season! I look forward to attending  LCV in 2020 and reflecting on how much progress has been made in the intervening twelve months.