Thursday October 29, 2020

I think Ireland can be one of the top EV markets in Europe

‘A crisis is a unique opportunity to assess what is working well and what is not in society’ says Colin McKerracher, Head of Advanced Transport at BloombergNEF

5th October, 2020

What's your name?

Colin McKerracher

What position do you hold?

Head of Advanced Transport at BloombergNEF

How long have you held the position?

6 years

What are your day to day responsibilities?

I manage a global team of analysts and data researchers advising the world’s leading automakers, oil and gas companies, utilities, governments, and financial sector players. We provide tools, data and analysis on the technology, policy and economic factors shaping the transport and automotive sectors. This includes electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, batteries, shared mobility, autonomous driving and other new vehicle technologies.

What is your professional background?

I started my career working on next-gen biofuels in the mid-2000s. I then spent several years building a tech startup called Neurio with friends in Vancouver, working on home energy management and analytics tools. That company was later acquired by Generac out of the U.S. Up until that point, I had been on the strategy and business development side of the business. But an opportunity came up to join BloombergNEF in London in 2011, doing deep industry analysis on the move to a low carbon economy. That was almost 10 years ago and it has been quite a journey as this topic becomes ever more important.

You are speaking at the forthcoming virtual Electric Vehicle Summit. What do you think of the speaker line-up and conference focus?

Looks like a great group and a great program, looking forward to contributing

What opportunities and challenges do you see in the EV market during these challenging times?

I see two big opportunities and two big challenges:

Opportunities

- Rising climate ambition. A crisis is a unique opportunity to assess what is working well and what is not in society. We’re already seeing much more ambitious announcements on climate targets from governments around the world in this period, and I think that will continue. EVs are going to benefit, because they’re one of the things we can do today to reduce emissions.

- A potential inflection point. Several countries are crossing over the point where EVs represent 10% or more of new vehicle sales. This is the point where broader awareness starts to rise quickly and adoption picks up speed. Part of this is simply driven by regulations, but there is real consumer demand at play too. While the uncertainly from the pandemic makes all predictions difficult, none of the fundamental drivers pushing the EV market forward have gone away: batteries continue to get better and cheaper, governments are pushing for more decarbonisation efforts, and urban air quality is a growing concern around the world.

Challenges

The full economic impacts are still uncertain. As the pandemic drags on, the economic impact does too. So far, EV sales have been relatively immune here in Europe, but that’s mostly because of supporting regulations and stimulus programs. If the economic fallout is severe and long lasting, it will slow down the transition.

-Some issues are still not solved. The optimal business models for charging infrastructure for example are still a thorny issue. In general, we at BNEF think that there are fewer public charging stations needed than many expect, but government support may be needed for some segments and locations for quite some time.

Where would you like to see the Electric Vehicles market in Ireland in 5 years time?

I think Ireland can be one of the top EV markets in Europe and can showcase how variable renewables can pair nicely with a growing amount of electrified road transport.

Colin will be speaking at the virtual EV Summit on October 15th 2020.

For more information see www.evsummit.ie

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