As a member of the IEVOA committee for the last few years, and most recently as chair, I have been across a number of projects or initiatives. Each with their own levels of complexity, requirements and dexterity needed to get to the finish line. All of them with gaps that are easily critiqued. Gaps are regularly in front of what we do because we are a cohort of 11 volunteer committee members, with “real jobs,” families and commitments that will compete or supersede the work of IEVOA.
One of the big items on my mind with IEVOA is the future. Today, our remit is to represent the interests of EV owners (current and future). Today, the big topics are access to an EV (grant mechanisms, supply & demand, etc.) as well as new-tech market dynamics (infrastructure, home charging supply, etc.). A lot of this falls on us to be advocates for the driver/business owner with an EV/fleet, primarily with public bodies, infrastructure providers or political individuals & groups.
The density of talent in the committee, propped up by the accountability demanded by our members & wider community is genuinely impressive. The 11 individuals I’ve had the privilege of sharing the committee with today, and those who I worked with in prior years, have been supremely talented. Experts in their field, coming from a wide range of backgrounds. We’re able to achieve great things because of this group.
Ignoring the 2030 targets set out in CAP, we’re crossing a big bridge on the journey to mass EV adoption. It’s my own opinion that the 25% net new sales of EVs in Ireland in 2022 so far is lower than it would be because of supply chain issues. i.e. The intent of car buyers in 2022 is to go EV, but they are, in some cases, blocked by the timelines presented. Moreover, we’ve had enormous growth in EV sales over the past few years, which will materialise in a big second-hand market in the coming years. This will provide economic advantages with cheaper cars & an ecosystem of garages, software & hardware providers who work exclusively within the growing EV space. Making sense of this new technology for the everyday user.
I also see EVs as a huge new shift in thinking about what a car is. Fundamentally, an EV is quite a simple piece of kit when simplified down to it’s core components. A battery hooked up to a motor with a chassis on top of it. Everything about an EV from a design logic perspective is simpler, easier and provides more flexibility. Which means EVs of all shapes, sizes and purposes are being developed, and I suspect that will accelerate. This gives households and businesses an opportunity to evaluate the role of the car/van/truck. And integrate that into their desired lifestyle, which should include active travel (walking, cycling) and public transport in the overall ecosystem of how we get stuff done.
Most vehicles sold don’t induce range anxiety. But we have infrastructure anxiety instead. Most EVs sold are new, but that won’t be true in the next few years. Most people edge towards the technology provided, but they’ll get used to it soon. The 2007-10 era of smartphones is analogous to where we are with EVs today. There’s a desire to switch, a need for better/more education for people and a goldrush of services & companies popping up around the industry.
Which brings me to my point.
IEVOA is going to need to evolve over the coming years. We’ve gone from a car club to group therapy session on range anxiety to a real problem solver in the Irish context of EV adoption. What’s beyond this?
I think the answer will be that IEVOA will focus less exclusively on EV adoption, which is our current primary mission, and widen our aperture to look at sustainability, transport & energy more broadly. How that manifests is likely to be someone else’s problem, as the committee will likely have rotated several times before then.
Today, the committee is building the foundation for the future of how IEVOA can and will operate. We’re collaborating with media, corporate members and the ecosystem around EVs far more than we ever have before. And we will continue to foster those relationships, as long as they have meaningful impact on our memberships’ ability to adopt an EV into their households & businesses.
In the near-term, no major shifts are likely. We’ll keep growing, keep adapting and tweaking the dials. I hope for us to become more public-facing with events, a conference and a big advocate for Irish businesses & households seeking to adopt EVs while being a huge signpost & educator around this technology.
It can be hard to focus on the big picture in a voluntary committee because there are so many moving parts and not enough resources. But the operating system we’re building allows us to work pretty efficiently. Things won’t be perfect, there will be gaps, but that’s ok. Which is why I wanted to post this. To acknowledge that not everything will be exact or perfect, but that it’s to be expected in an organisation like ours.
We’re coming up on mid-term in the current committee period (since elections at the AGM were in April), and things are going great. But if you see gaps, let us know. We want to plug them, despite our time constraints. My goal is to keep things running smoothly, but to elevate our ambitions and look to the future. We need to plant seeds for someone else to enjoy the shade in future.