Electric Vehicles Unplugged 2010: Government Support Essential to Catalyze Market Growth

Government support for infrastructure development, consumer incentives, and manufacturing will catalyze market growth, concluded parliamentarians and industry leaders at Frost & Sullivan’s second annual Electric Vehicles Unplugged event which took place June 22 – 23 in London. However, investment in R & D and in battery and related EV technology manufacturing is crucial if the UK is to fully benefit from the manifold opportunities presented by this new sector. The workshop affirmed that the age of electric mobility is rapidly dawning, providing significant high tech manufacturing opportunities in the UK.

During the parliamentary debates at the House of Lords on 22 June, Chairperson, Lord Palmer, confirmed that government support must be long-term. Tobias Reigh of PSA explained that government subsidies could be reduced as the market grows and battery prices fall. Kobus Meiring of Optimal Energy illustrated South African government support for Electric Vehicles and production facilities.

The second day at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders featured presentations from Frost & Sullivan on EV-related mega trends and implications for electric mobility. Key OEM representatives including Richard Chandler of Nissan, Tobias Reich of PSA, Lord Jamie B of Modec, Nancy Gioia of Ford, and Diana Blake of Optimal Energy, summarised their future EV strategies and business models. Antony Brenbaum of HSBC outlined his company’s vision of investing in Better Place and spoke about investment opportunities and challenges in EV financing. Robert Stuessi of AVERE, Karl Froelich of Atraverda, Graeme Craig of Transport for London, Maarten Casse of Stedin, Sean Long of One North East, Oliver Weinmann of Vattenfall and Catherine Hutt of the SMMT updated the audience about EV infrastructure challenges, progress and milestones.

Frost & Sullivan Partner, Sarwant Singh, concluded that "the workshop was an amazing opportunity to network with parliamentarians and industry participants to discuss and collaborate on key issues affecting all parties in this field. We all learned a lot, and, as demonstrated by One North East, TFL, Peugeot – Citroen and Nissan, and many other participants, electric mobility is just a stones’ throw away from implementation."

"It was a great pleasure and privilege to chair the most prestigious Electric Vehicles event in the calendar this year because the quality of the speakers, the depth of discussion and the level of attendees were exceptional," said Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Nick Ford. This sentiment was echoed by many participants.

Tobias Reich of PSA said, "This was the best EV event I have attended so far. The quality of the contacts was very impressive. I networked and developed relationships with potential partners for us in the market." "Frost & Sullivan provided a holistic view on current and future opportunities in the industry," added Ramon Bastida of Eaton Corporation. "Congratulations for the organisation and both superb locations, all together more than perfect," agreed Patrick Martinoli of Orange.

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