Clean air in our cities has created a sense of urgency

'We are facing unprecedented change as we are moving from fossil fuel vehicles to electric and connected autonomous vehicles' says Dr. Joachim Brandt, Head of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

23rd October, 2019

What's your name?

Dr. Joachim Brandt

What’s your current job?

Head of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

How long have you held the position?

1 year

Can you describe your daily work routine?

Facilitating industry collaboration to shape the path of transition towards the electrification of transport is centre stage. Times are hugely challenging for businesses and consumers to implement a more sustainable low carbon economy. Climate change objectives require to accelerate the far-reaching changes needed for a sustainable future. Mobilising a diverse range of stakeholders can help deliver the tools and governance coordinated as part of an Electric Vehicle Governance Framework (EVGF) is an important element of my daily routine. This is hugely exciting and challenging as we are launching this cross-sectorial global initiative in 2020.

What is your professional background?

My professional background is largely on the digital side including artificial intelligence, telecoms and digital integration of a more distributed, cleaner energy system. Much of my time is spent delivering collaborative innovation projects that draw on my expertise in industry and academic research. It is important that these types of collaborations can root new products and services that are desperately needed in the market for a successful transition to a prosperous low carbon economy.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

I strongly believe in walk the talk and enjoy my pet projects to electrify the miles I travel, generate my own energy from Solar PV, run a house without fossil fuels and make the changes needed towards a sustainable future. I guess these plays to the tune that I love engineering and science and it doesn’t need to always just work.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

To keep fit, I walk around 6 miles every day as part of my daily routine.

You are speaking at the forthcoming 2019 National Electric Vehicle Summit in Croke Park. What is the focus of your talk?

We are facing unprecedented change as we are moving from fossil fuel vehicles to electric and connected autonomous vehicles. Future-proofing infrastructure investments and channelling innovation into novel products and services is complex. Time is not on our side. The need to deliver climate change obligations, clean air in our cities has created a sense of urgency, yet markets are slow to respond. Legislation may not hold the answers and could easily become a barrier. Research shows that there is a need for cross-sector market collaboration and coordination to upscale markets and deliver a viable migration path towards electric vehicles and mobility as a service. An industry-led electric vehicle governance framework (EVGF) is essential to meet policy targets and provide the tools for changing markets to prosper.

What in your opinion will be the key challenges for industry and policymakers in achieving our target of 1 million electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030?

There is a real challenge that good intentions and ambitions do not amount to a long-term viable strategy that provides a migration path that has some investor certainty and creates confidence in business and the consumer to switch to electric vehicles. The complexities of the required changes are largely underestimated. There is no silver bullet where a single industry sector can deliver the societal change that is so urgently needed. A coordinated and concerted effort across all market participants is needed to make a difference. This starts with the sourcing of raw materials, rebuilding of the supply chains, embedding new skills and tools in the required workforce, establishing new business models that scale while the desired policy outcomes are environmentally sound and sustainable. Everyone must play their part if we are to see 1 million electric vehicles on Irish Roads by 2030 or preferably earlier.

How do you think charging and infrastructure will advance over the next decade?

The EV market is still at a nascent stage. For sure the way we charge electric vehicles is going to change and it would be wrong to draw a foregone conclusion at a time where there are very few electric vehicles around. Scalability is key - how do we deliver the national vehicle miles driven every year in an efficient and affordable way where electric vehicles are not just moving people and goods from A to B but also form an integral part of the future energy system. Digital integration and bundling of services will rewrite how we think today about transport and energy and the technologies that will satisfy the needs and arising opportunities. Work is already well advanced to move towards a world of connected and autonomous vehicles. Fewer vehicles with higher utilisation may require quite a different approach towards the provisioning of EV charging solutions. It is important to think ahead so that investments we make today are future proof and deliver solutions that are fit for purpose in the longer term.

Dr. Joachim Brandt will be speaking at the Electric Vehicle Summit on Thursday 24th of October 2019 in Croke Park, Dublin.

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