UK leading the race to deliver a low carbon vehicle future

Connect recently worked with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) to deliver their Annual Conference. The conference was timed to take place in the week of the Formula E championship race in London’s Battersea Park.

The conference asked if Formula E can help to electrify mainstream motoring. Can the amazing technology being invested in Formula E cars ‘trickle down’ to the mainstrteam market, and does Formula E make people think differently about owning a low emission vehicle?

The day was sparked into life by the dynamic Alejandro Agag (Formula E CEO) who announced that the London Formula E race event in Battersea would see the first ever use of solar power in motor racing history. He also pointed out that after the race in Miami, 99% of race-goers surveyed said they would be more likely to buy an electric vehicle.

AA President Ed King announced the results of their Populus survey panel that consists of some 900,000 motorists. He asserted that there needs to be a change of attitude in how we think about electric cars, noting that 74% of second cars are parked on drives or in garages so they could easily be charged overnight. He pointed out that most of these vehicles do not travel for long distances so would not be reliant on available charging infrastructure or limited by the range of the car.

New Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP, who lauded LowCVP for doing so much to further the cause of green motoring, delivered the keynote speech of the conference. He championed the spirit of partnerships as being at the heart of progress and spelt out his positive vision for how the UK can lead the world in developing cutting edge technologies that can be transferred to the mass market and ultimately ensure the Government meets its target of all vehicles on our roads being low emission by 2050.

One of the conference highlights was the presentation by Dr Jeremy Leggett whose narrative helped to illuminate the pathway to a low carbon future. The combination of solar panels built on roofs, the provision of batteries for storage and the ability to charge our electric vehicles at home would help to avoid the need for a huge and costly roll out of public charging infrastructure. He highlighted how there is a serious shift taking place globally in the amount of capital expenditure being invested in low carbon technologies and that there is also a growing recognition that as much as $1 trillion invested in fossil fuels will not provide sustainable economic returns.

Dan Byles spoke about his passion for disruptive technologies to transform the way we live – and travel – whilst Shadow Transport Minister Richard Burden MP, a long-term friend of motor racing, welcomed Formula E coming to London, especially the “Piquet vs Prost” battle for title, reminiscent of the duels their fathers had fought for the Formula 1 Championship in the mid-Eighties.

LowCVP Managing Director Andy Eastlake brought the proceedings to a close by highlighting the cross-party support the conference had received and noting the long-term policy clarity that is essential for the delivery of a low carbon future. Clearly, there is still some way to go before electric vehicles become a common sight on our roads but with initiatives like Formula E and organisations like LowCVP and OLEV working in partnership, progress in this instance may not be such a slow process.

To read the Storify of the day click here, or for more information about Connect’s conference management services and how we can help your organisation, speak to James Noble on 020 7592 9490 or

Lora Shopova