July 7, 2022

What is your true North?

Larry Futers
7 Communications
President & CEO

A few of us arrived in Long Beach, California in early June for one of the largest e-mobility festivals in the US.

A one million sq. ft. experience that hosted industry thought leaders on the Friday and tens of thousands of consumers over the weekend. For us, this event served as an ideal backdrop to calibrate thinking for how to best shape future EV-focused programming on this side of the border.

Left: Circular sign with the text 'Electrify Expo' along the edges and a striking lightning bolt down the middle. Right: Three smiling individuals posing in front of a BMW car parked in a lot, palm trees in the distance.

Here are a few insights from the conference:

1. How much range do you really need?

Research was presented by Loren McDonald that customers are willing to shift toward buying an EV if their green vehicle can deliver a range of 450 miles (724 kms) or more. Yet consumers that have enjoyed an EV for a year or more are very comfortable with an EV that has a range of just 250 miles (402 km). What a consumer wants and what they need are definitely not the same.

2. Is price parity the right measure for EV adoption?

For years, industry analysts have been stating that EVs reaching price parity with internal combustion engines (ICE) vehicles would launch EVs into mainstream adoption. While initially expected occur later this decade, a new forecast from Wells Fargo Securities, puts EV/ICE price parity out well past 2030. Alongside government credits and fuel savings (which I've experienced first hand and delivered fuel savings of more than $7,000 in 12 months), net cost parity will happen sooner. Factor in the true cost of ownership, which includes 24 month service intervals vs. 4-6 months with many ICE models, and the case for EV ownership only gets stronger.

3. Complete industry EV adoption will be decades away:

New cars account for just 25% of all annual car sales in North America. For every new car purchased, three used vehicles are purchased elsewhere in the market. Creating a fully green EV ecosystem will take decades unless governments are motivated to buy aged ICE models and increase EV credits.

4. Travelling 1000km on a charge is (sort of) possible.

Aptera was built from the ground up not as an electrified pickup or SUV, but a thesis of efficiency that we saw it firsthand. To date, Aptera has taken 23,000 deposits and while the quirky design may be polarizing (to most if us), it is an engineering example of the future of extended range possibilities.

5. Refueling your EV should be as easy as charging your phone:

99% of all fueling for gas-powered vehicles in North America takes place at a convenience store, but true convenience is charging your car at home. If you need to charge away from where you dwell, convenience is where you work, or locations you naturally frequent. While level 2 chargers work well when you can afford hours to get a charge (ie. overnight at home), they are near useless when you need a quick charge. For those of you that drive an EV, you’ll know that super fast 350kw DC Fast Chargers have until recently been the equivalent of finding a unicorn but Electrify Canada is currently leading the charge on this side of the border. And when you can’t find that super fast charger and need power quickly, SparkCharge is pioneering an Uber Eats/Skip the Dishes equivalent in the US to bring a fast charge to your front door.

6. The Connected Curb:

There are so many new products coming to market designed to ease the adoption of electrification to your lifestyle. For those that live in a congested urban neighbourhood and are required to park their car on the street each night, check out this link. If you know your town councillor, send a link and ask them to consider adding a few connected curbs in your neighbourhood to help make urban EV ownership easier for all.

7. Micro-mobility is a real thing:

For those that live in rural or suburban markets, micro-mobility isn’t a topic of conversations at many dinner tables, but for those in urban centres where being mobile is equally important but the hassles of urban transportation are real. As we experienced first-hand, e-bikes and e-scooters, provide real mobility options for those in urban markets who require agility to move throughout their city. Want to learn more, check out this piece from earlier this year or perhaps attend the Micromobility America conference in San Francisco this September.

8. Looking for a Zero Emission Uber?

When you’re next in the US, check out Earth Rides which currently operates in Texas and Tennessee and will soon start operations in California and Arizona.

9. Want to go Back to the Future?

The Delorean Motor Company is relaunching at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 21st as an EV that will deliver 0-100km/h in less than 3 seconds with a top speed (with or without Marty McFly) of 249km/hour.

Manufacturers continue to calibrate around a North Star of sustainability and for good reason. For those that believe in a sustainable future for reasons like this, a shift toward greener technology is the only way.

Yet the Hyatt Hotel we stayed at that was a few minute walk from the Long Beach Convention Centre had an 'optional green policy'. An optional green policy in the green state of California — who would have thought. Instead of recycling in any of their public spaces, plastic cups and water bottles were instead stuffed into garbage bins. When I asked ‘why is there no recycling at this hotel', the front desk clerk said ‘consumers don’t really ask for it.’

The elegance of the customer experience called out here definitely fell short in real life at this hotel. A good lesson for all of us on the need to calibrate across an organization to ensure whatever you profess your north star to be, is delivered in real life.

Left: Row of Polestar vehicles lined up at an outdoor car show, presented in their dedicated indoor/outdoor showroom. Right: A person smiling and posing on an Aventura X electric moped.