Tuesday June 2, 2020

The challenge is changing the public attitude to electric cars

The general public don’t understand why they need or would want to change their current driving and refuelling habits

1st September, 2017
Josey Wardle, Infrastructure Manager, Zero Carbon Futures, UK

What's your name?

Josey Wardle

What’s your current job?

Infrastructure Manager at Zero Carbon Futures – we’re a consultancy that specialises in electric vehicle projects.

How long have you held the position?

Since 2010, when we first began to work in the sector.

Can you describe your daily work routine?

I wish I had such a thing as a structured work routine – I feel like I’m always spinning plates. Every day is different especially as I probably spend about 50% of my time out of the office meeting with clients, industry and Government. At the moment my second home is Milton Keynes but I am lucky that my work has taken me all over Europe – including many visits to Dublin, and even as far as California, Japan and Korea.

What is your professional background?

I’m a manufacturing engineer and have been for the last 25 years, working mainly within the automotive, aerospace, and consumer electronics sectors. I am a passionate advocate for any initiative which encourages more women to consider a career in engineering – sadly, even today, we are in the minority.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

I’m married and I have two sons who are into music, drama and gymnastics – so they keep me pretty busy. I am also working on a PhD looking into the future for electric vehicle at Newcastle University – I must be mad thinking I could fit everything in! To let off steam I sing in a choir and I was lucky enough to perform in the UK’s premier of the Defiant Requiem recently, which tells the story of courageous Jewish prisoners in the Teresienstadt concentration camp who learned Verdi’s Requiem Mass during WW2.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I used to sing solos in my younger years, but those days are gone now. Oh and I was head girl at school in the dim and distant past.

You are speaking at the forthcoming Electric Vehicle Summit in Dublin. What is the focus of your talk?

I’ll be talking about consumers’ perceptions of electric vehicles, and how to raise awareness and understanding in order to increase adoption. We’ve found that getting drivers behind the wheel of an EV is a good way to convert them to the benefits of electric driving, but there are still a lot of barriers to be tackled.

What do you see as the main challenges ahead for electric vehicle penetration?

The biggest challenge will definitely be changing the public attitude to electric cars. I think we often look at things through today’s lens rather than looking to the future and therefore our vision becomes limited by our own views and imagination. The general public still don’t understand why they need or would want to change their current driving and refuelling habits. The sector definitely has a big job to do on this.

What innovations do you envisage will be developed over the next 10 years for electric vehicles?

We need to find a realistic low carbon alternative for heavy duty vehicles such as buses, coaches and lorries where batteries aren’t viable over long distances because of weight and cost. I think innovations in battery technology are critical to car and light van uptake too, because consumers need to perceive electric vehicles as directly comparable or better than existing internal combustion engine performance in order to switch. So we need more power from lighter batteries at lower cost to overcome EV range and price concerns. Hydrogen technology and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure may also become more prominent in the next 10 years, but vehicle cost and fuel logistics remain a challenge for now. I really believe that we’ll need a mixture of low carbon transport solutions to meet the challenging emissions reduction targets.

Josey Wardle will be giving an address at the Electric Vehicle Summit 2017 on October 4 at Croke Park in Dublin. For more information and tickets for this event please visit: EVSummit.ie

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