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To EV or to not EV (and how)?

Podcast transcript Episode 5


Music track starts

Guest (clip): If we recognise that decarbonisation is happening.

Guest (clip): You just have to start somewhere and see what’s practical and what’s feasible in terms of reductions.

Guest (clip): Directionally, we know that this is going to be a really big thing for businesses over the next ten years.

Guest (clip): It represents one of the fastest routes for us to decarbonise as a country.

Guest (clip): Potential cost benefit.

Guest (clip): It’s really powerful. It can mean we all move incrementally forward together before 2050.


Taylor: Welcome to the Net Zero Path for Business, a podcast delving into the process of transitioning to renewable energy and emissions reduction from the very beginning. It’s a show where we explore ways to not just survive, but thrive as a business along the way.

I’m your host, Taylor Hawkins, and I’ll be bringing together industry advisors, experts, and businesses as we explore things like switching to EVs and the practicalities of going solar.

Join me as I ask our guests to share their stories of transition and the strategies that have helped them on their way. We’re presented by AGL, inviting you to join the change

Taylor: As we dive into talking about our future ambitions for net zero, I would first like to acknowledge the leadership, knowledge and resilience of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have safeguarded the sacred lands and waters of this country, that we know as Australia, for thousands of years. May we strive to honour, learn from, and meaningfully partner with leaders of such calibre.


Taylor: Thanks for joining me again on the net zero path for business. This week we are asking the question: to EV or not to EV? Rising fuel costs and potential government legislation are making many of us consider switching to electric vehicles.

But from what I’ve found in my conversations with businesses is that some are still a little wary. Vehicles are not a small expense. So what does driving an electric vehicle look like in this country for a business?

Today we’re talking to the Head of E-Mobility at AGL, Mabelle Reyes. Mabelle has spent the last nine years in the world of business fleets in fleet management helping solve their problems and more recently, how to decarbonise those fleets.

We got to talk about when it’s worth it for businesses to switch to an EV fleet, some of the hurdles that might come up along the way, and the pros and cons of outright versus subscription, as well as getting some tips on how to make the transition as painless as possible.

Here we go.


Taylor: Today we’re discussing the world of electric vehicles and managing those fleets as a business with Mabelle Reyes.

Welcome, Mabelle.

Mabelle: Thank you.

Taylor: Now, before we dig in, can you tell us a bit about your background?

Mabelle: Recently joined AGL in the last year and prior to that, I spent nine years looking after business fleets and in the roles of both a business development manager, an account manager, and also owning a product that services mobility fleets specifically.

And so in that time, it was important for me to understand what sort of challenges there are for all sorts of different fleets. So fleets can come as a small Toyota Yaris or it can come as very, very large interstate freighters.

So mobility covers a lot and the tasks that they have to do are wide and varied.

So in my experience, there is quite a lot of problems that they face. Challenges in particular about keeping these vehicles on the road and operational, and being able to solve those problems is a continual challenge, particularly now as we seek decarbonisation solutions.


Taylor: Absolutely. Well, it’s clear that you’re definitely the right person to be speaking to about this. I’d love to know in your work, what have you found is, pardon the pun, driving businesses to transition to EV?

Mabelle: Well, it’s very interesting what drives businesses to go to EV, but of course, the main one is decarbonisation.

And so a lot of organisations, particularly if you’re ASX 100 listed, is that you have defined and very, very written goals that mark how you will get to net zero by either 2040, 2045, 2050. So those are good goalposts to have for smaller businesses.

They are driven by any number of other things. So, it could be how is your brand aligned to decarbonisation? What are your customers expectations around the green credentials of your products?

And probably a little less obvious is the work for a lot of these fleets is often driven by contract to larger businesses that have net zero obligations, and you need to comply with those obligations before you’re awarded the work.


So to a certain extent, it drives your ability to make profit win business and also ensure that you are actually driving towards those sustainability goals, whether or not they’re overt, like the larger businesses, or whether or not they’re less obvious for smaller operators.

Taylor: Now, I understand this is not an easy question, but when is the right time for a business to switch?

Mabelle: That’s not an easy question. And the right time for the business has got to be informed by a number of things. It’s got to be done with the environmental and social, governance and sustainability objectives of that company.

And I think the important part is ensuring that a lot of people understand why those goals are in place, because without that, it’s very easy to then get distracted by the difficulty of actually transitioning your fleet from something that’s actually working quite well for them.

They know how to drive fleets on fossil fuel sources, but the reality is to switch over, it requires a certain amount of effort, it requires a reorganisation.


And so first and foremostly, the right time is when people understand that they have a time frame that they want to meet, a set of organisational goals towards net zero, and then to understand how difficult it is to actually transition and when they can start to do that.

Taylor: And I hope you don’t mind the quick follow up question, but you’ve said something really interesting there, which is it’s when people understand.

And so, what role do you think the sort of cultural and understanding element plays in that process?


Mabelle: It’s a really good question. And in some of the businesses we’ve talked to, one answer in one part of the business is often different from the other side of the business.

So, for example, the sustainability and environmental and social governance side of the business are often a lot more bullish and a lot more driven to move because they’re less accountable for the operating costs, whereas your operational teams, that are sometimes measured by their ability to drive efficiency in their business, can often see all the reasons why they shouldn’t do it yet.

So, in a lot of businesses, there is this tension between what we should do and what operationally the business can handle in terms of change, cost and complexity to their business.

Taylor: Absolutely. And on top of all of this, a lot of people worry about how they will keep their vehicles charged.

Do you think the infrastructure is there for Australia?

Mabelle: So, the infrastructure is growing and it’s developing.

One thing about particularly electricity vehicle charging is that a lot of it will happen on the business’s premises. A lot of it will happen at home.

And then there’s this part where it’s called public charging, which is typically very important for transport organisations that don’t necessarily get to go home after a number of hours.

So, for example, if they’re making a relatively large trip, say 600 km, they will need to stop, and they’ll need to stop as part of policy and regulation.


But being able to make sure that that stop has the recharging facilities is one major challenge that we’re seeing right now.

The other major challenge is that it’s not easy, necessarily to see the path to scale when your business grabs two electric vehicles and they get a couple of smart chargers on their premises, and it’s quite easy to use with the existing electricity infrastructure.

But expand that fleet to, say, 5, 10, 15, 20, you’re going to need a very different set of work instructions or work plans, because you’re going to need more chargers as you find the limits of your electricity capacity.

So often that could mean really expensive upgrades to your main switchboard and being able to engage really closely with the energy supply for your whole building.

Taylor: I understand there’s also lots of opportunities in that space with solar and higher performing batteries. Is there anything you can share on that?            


Mabelle: So the opportunity of solar, of course, is the ability to charge with the sun. So, when the sun is shining, we can generate a lot of electricity. You’ve seen this, I’m sure you’ve talked about it in your other podcasts, but when the sun is shining, a lot of energy is generated.

And in those times, we find that electricity is very, very cheap, and it makes a lot of sense to try and absorb as much of that as possible and use it productively.

One of those productive uses is to put it into your EV, and to be able then to charge your fleet on the sun is ideal.

Unfortunately, a lot of driving is done during the daytime, so it’s not always optimal for a business to think about charging during the day.

And sometimes it could be advantageous, for example, to have a battery at your premises while the sun is shining, to be able to pull that solar energy and then put it into your vehicles when they’re not being used.


And in terms of other opportunities, I think businesses will need to become more and more fluid in understanding load management. And what load management is, it allows you to charge your EV fleet in a more efficient way.

So, what it can do is determine the times of day that are most optimal for your fleet to charge, be that you taking advantage of off-peak tariffs, protecting your building circuits, and avoiding costly energy system upgrades.

So, the important thing to remember is an electric fleet is a big user of energy, but it is also not adversely impacted if those energy supplies fluctuate.

So, if you can use smart technology to be able to manage your load and charge your fleet in an intelligent way, you can actually find that you can get some real efficiencies in terms of operating your fleet.


Taylor: Well, it sounds like with some good strategic thinking and leveraging the great Australian sun, we can have some great opportunities there. I’m curious, how are the bigger businesses keeping their fleets charged right now?

Mabelle: So, some of the bigger businesses have invested in, yes, the actual wires, so the hardware, the wires going through the ground. The other technology that they’ve invested in is the load management systems that we’ve spoken about and then partnered with an energy supplier.

And it’s really important to make sure that while we can talk about smart charging and load management, a lot of this technology is still very nascent, and there’s a lot that we’re learning on the fly.

Choosing the right hardware and compatibilities is really important. So, load management can sometimes be attached to the chargers they purchase, which can limit then which chargers you choose in the future.

Some of the load management systems can sometimes also use APIs, so you can use cloud-based software, but that then also potentially has some issues in terms of connectivity.

So, you want to ensure that you have the flexibility in your investments to be able to bring in the new technology that is coming, and to educate yourself on really understanding what it means to scale.


Because two vehicles is great to start learning.

But ideally, once you start to get to five to ten, you need to be able to understand what charges work together, how your load management system can control your load, to optimise fleet charging, and then make sure that you’re working with an energy supplier that allows you take advantage of certain times of the day that works for you.

So, while there are a number of solutions that you could stitch together, it can also be very, very easy to not have the after-service help or the forward-looking path around how these technologies can be maximised.

Taylor: And what role do you think that potential partnerships play in this? Be that with charging stations or other entities to help with that scaling process?


Mabelle: Yes, certainly. So natural partnerships in the e-mobility space, I find, have got to do with the vehicle. And vehicle is really important. A lot of these fleet organisations spend a lot of time researching and understanding how to make the lifecycle of the vehicle more and more efficient.

And there’s a lot that doesn’t change. When you switch that technology to electric vehicles. There are certain differences that need to come into that. So total cost of ownership will change under the EV model. So, it’s not simply taken your internal combustion engine model and then apply it to electric vehicles.

Your total cost of ownership will change. And it’s worth knowing a lot about that. Infrastructure and charging is also really important.

Range, we spoke about range and capacity is really, really important to understand can the vehicle do the job?

And I think that’s where some of these opportunities to trial vehicles, either through a subscription or a lease, is optimal for businesses to understand whether or not they’ve got the right vehicle for their use, or whether they need to make anything.

So those operational considerations, how will that fit into existing workflows, particularly when you’ve got a hybrid of both internal combustion engines and electricity vehicle fleets, how does all of that work together?


And then, of course, there’s the regulatory and environmental compliance that they need to understand, so that the reporting reflects accurately what that fleet is doing when compared to their internal combustion engine fleet.

Taylor: That makes a lot of sense, and I think you’re doing a fantastic job on giving us a pretty even-handed evaluation.

But to continue with that, and in service of our wonderful listeners, we’d love to dive a bit deeper into what are some of the challenges that they can expect that might present when switching over a fleet.

Mabelle: Well, the human is always interesting.

I find that in a lot of cases, it’s very important to understand how the humans use the technology, and that’s true of many products but in particular with this one, where there is an expectation that a tank of fuel will get you to a certain distance and being able to then understand when to fuel.

Instead of just rocking up to a service station, that will guarantee you another 600, 700, 800k’s versus a charge which may not get you that far. Or if you’re carrying something a little heavier, your battery is suddenly drawn a little bit more.

So I think that’s one of the challenges, is simply the habit change of a human who is used to driving a vehicle that has a tank that indicates where it’s at, that you can fill up almost at any time.

An electric vehicle requires a little bit more thought. And while smart technology can help with that, there are some simple habits.

Like sometimes people just forget to plug it in, and then someone turns up the next day and realizes that it’s only at 25% charge and the entire run has been sabotaged. So, there are some of those behavioural things that we have to start to understand.

Being aware of impacts to energy loads and grid is also another part that I think while it’s exciting where we can go with it, you can also have some very costly mistakes if you charge at the wrong time.


And I can’t iterate this enough, electric vehicles will draw a lot of power, and this is important in two ways.

It’s important in understanding how this will impact the shape of electricity investment for their business. It will increase significantly, and ideally, the fossil fuel side, the cost equation, also decreases significantly.

However, it is important to understand that shape because it has impacts both on building infrastructure and operations.

The other part about it is it takes longer to charge an EV than it does a fuel vehicle. It can take hours, particularly if you’ve got the wrong charge, or that charger is not working very well. It can sometimes take 22 hours if you’re not watching it carefully.

So, there’s a lot of different measures that you’re looking at now that you weren’t looking at before. Before you would put it in for a service and you’d fill up the tank and you’d good to go, and that’s pretty much all you had to do.

In this case, there’s a lot more to be aware of. And it’s not to say that it’s impossible, but it is an education, and it’s worth finding out some information around it.


It’s worth partnering with people who are willing to share their insights and learnings with you.

This is a very new technology. We’re all learning how to do it both in the home, in the business, in public charging spaces.

And as we do that, we’re able to change things very rapidly. If you’re not across those changes, you could be missing out on a really big opportunity.

Taylor: Certainly, a lot of moving pieces. And as an EV driver myself, I can attest to the human error element that can play out in that transition process.

But I think you’ve done a great job at highlighting some of those challenges.  How do you think we can mitigate these pain points?

Mabelle: How we can mitigate the pain points is around being able to educate yourself.

So, access experts.

The important part is make sure that you keep yourself informed. Build a close relationship with your energy supplier, because they are going to be very well connected in terms of how they want to optimise the electricity.

Energy suppliers are very cognisant of how the grid behaves, and as a result of that, their optimal outcome is to ensure that the grid is stable and it works really well.


And as a result of that, a lot of their advice will help drive the right power and cost outcomes for the business.

Chargers and charging technology is also really important to understand what the charger can do.

So, for example, there are chargers that are very basic, and you plug it in and it will charge your car.

Some chargers can then also sync up to your solar system, which is really important. And the other ones is in the future, there will be a stage where chargers will enable bidirectional charging, so you can use your vehicle, for example, as a way of charging the building.

That’s something on the horizon for five to ten years’ time.

So, it’s important to stay abreast of what’s occurring and be curious about what each model of vehicle does that’s appropriate for your business, particularly in the light commercial space and then in the heavy vehicle space as well.

How are the technological progressions changing and improving the experience of charging?


Taylor: Wow, bidirectional charging. That sounds fantastic. And let’s say someone is really enthralled by all these opportunities and they decide to go ahead.

How do you suggest they choose the vehicle that will work for them? And what are the pros and cons of subscription versus buying outright?

Mabelle: So, choosing the right vehicle has got to do with what the freight task is. So importantly, can it carry what you’re trying to carry, be it people, be it medical shipments, be it groceries. Can it actually do what your current task is doing?

And then talking to engine manufacturers, whoever it is that your business has a relationship with right now, it’s important to understand and have these conversations around where they’re going with electric vehicle technology and what their vehicles require to optimally charge.

So, I think the first port of call is really understanding and making sure you’ve got the right vehicle. The second one then is understanding what that vehicle needs to do its best. So, what type of charging is needed and what type of charging is not going to help it do very well at all.

So, the important part is ensuring that you’ve got that relationship with the OEM. For that advice, your charger, and preferably the car companies or the vehicle companies are aware of what chargers you’re going to be using on that fleet.

Particularly because if they have to honour warranties, then they need to make sure that your charging of those fleets is compatible with what they’ve designed that vehicle to be charged by. And what sort of public network can it be charged by.

So that’s an important piece of understanding the vehicle requirements. And then there’s the usual other requirements around.

If there is, for example, an emissions standard that your freight task needs to meet, need to understand that. And again, that comes from the engine manufacturer. So, one of the strongest relationships you’re going to have is that business or that person who is selling the vehicles to your business.


Taylor: Absolutely. And I’m going to double click on part of my question because I know our listeners will be curious.

So, outright versus subscription, what are the potential advantages of buying outright? If any?

Mabelle: Purchasing it outright means you have control to customise the vehicle. And even though that may create some instances in which you void your warranty, sometimes businesses need to be able to customise their vehicle.

So being able to understand, again, have that conversation with your vehicle supplier, what kind of customisations will not void the warranty and what kind of customisations will.

So, it’s really good to understand that usually under the bonnet changes will void the warranty panel at the back or the box at the back. Often that’s okay.

But it’s very important that before you do that, you check with the engine manufacturer and you’re able to do that.

So that’s the advantage of owning your vehicle outright. You can do whatever you want with it.

The flip side of a subscription is that you’re able to flexibly check what the vehicle can do. So, vehicles are fantastic to really dip your toe in the water of charging.

How do you charge? Where will you charge? Will your parking lot actually fit the number of charges that you’re looking for?

So, it’s really a space where you can explore what an electric vehicle fleet looks like.


So the advantage of you finding a vehicle that doesn’t meet your needs is that you can then give it back after six to twelve months, after you’ve given it a good run, and say, that’s not actually the vehicle we’re looking for.

It achieves certain things. It gives your business really valuable knowledge around what you’re looking for, simply by the trying.

And it gives the engine manufacturer also valuable knowledge that it’s not necessarily meeting the mark for particular markets that they’re trying to serve.

Taylor: That’s really important information to have up front. I can imagine. So, definitely pros and cons on both sides.

Now, as we start to round out our conversation, I think we’ve done a great job at touching on many of the challenges that might arise and the barriers, which I think is super important for the listeners.

But would love to open up the opportunity for us to discuss some of the other benefits of switching to EV that you wish people knew.


Mabelle: The advantages for business in switching to EV is, it is, I’m going to use the word gateway product to understanding how decarbonisation looks and feels in your organisation.

So, we’ve gone through the transition from plastic bags to paper bags to plastic containers to paper containers.

Suddenly, your business is trying to run things with an electric vehicle, using pure electricity and not necessarily burning fossil fuels while they’re doing it.

So, I think the advantage is that people can start to really see and feel what a transition looks like, and it opens their minds to what else can be done with electricity. So that’s point number one.

Another advantage is we talked about a subscription model before. A subscription model can work for the vehicle for the reasons we’ve discussed before. The other one is the opportunity to novate the lease.


So AGL offer a novated subscription service. And what that does is enables people to be able to subscribe to an EV, test it, see how it fits in their lifestyle and use their pretax dollars to pay for it.

And currently the Australian Government also offers a fringe benefit tax benefit in being able to novate an electric vehicle. So, there’s those advantages.

The other advantage is really how it connects to the rest of what we call the electrification journey.

So, electrification means, at least in AGL, is the ability to be able to switch to the appliances that allow us to move to almost a fully electric lifestyle.

So that includes, instead of having gas heaters, you have a reverse cycle air conditioner, you’ve got induction cooking instead of gas, and of course EVs and EV chargers and solar panels.

So that’s what we call electrification and that’s the real opportunity is to be able to switch this appliance use so that we can start to understand what it really means to move away from fossil fuel alternatives into a fully electrified space.


And then what that then flows onto is as our grid becomes more and more renewable friendly, as opposed to how it’s currently being fired, is that it represents one of the fastest routes for us to decarbonise as a country.

Because we can control the assets that flow into the grid in a much more communal sense than individuals switching and trying various different opportunities that are out there.

Taylor: You certainly did. I think you have positioned it accurately so as a really appealing gateway to this positive transition and being able to dip your toe into the experience of going greener.

So, I think also your points about the human element and the value of partners and the need for a thoughtful strategy really lays out some of the incredible opportunities there are for businesses to explore.

So, thank you so much for speaking with us today, Mabelle

Mabelle: Thank you so much. It was great to be here.


Taylor: Now, we have already discussed the current state of Australian EV charging with Mabelle, but as a little bonus segment for this episode, I thought it might be interesting to hear about what the future might look like here.

This is Simon Lonsdale from BP over in the US on what we can expect and some new technologies that should make their way here soon.


Simon: Hi, my name is Simon Lonsdale. I’m the Commercial Director at BP Pulse in the Americas.

The rollout of EVs in the US, probably a little bit ahead of the Australian market, but a little bit behind the European market now and actually a long way behind the China market.

Personally, I’ve been involved in the rollout of EVs and electric vehicle charging since 2011.

So, coming on for my 13 years in the industry doing this, and it’s been very interesting to see that, first of all, light duty electric cars came in through consumers buying them, seeing the benefits and the environmental benefits and the convenience benefits of driving electric.


And then more recently, we’ve seen fleets start to move into light duty vehicles. But also, we’ve seen cities and industries looking to reduce their carbon footprint, get towards net zero.

And moving their transportation fleet of medium and heavy duties has also started to take off in the US markets.

So, if I look at the US market versus the Australian market, I think where the US market benefits is by having very clear incentives and also in some states mandates to move to zero emission.

This is really helping to motivate the market to get scale in the market.

And then having Tesla as our kind of first and largest electric vehicle manufacturer, based now in Texas, originally in California, has really helped to progress the market, I think.

And when I look at the Australian market, number one, not having a local industry of electric vehicles and having imports coming in, I think has slowed down the market.

Not having mandates and goals set in place from earlier governments has slowed that.


But I think now it feels like Australia is on the right path. And we’re starting to see adoption of EVs, we’re starting to see a supply of vehicles coming in and we’re starting to see charging come in place.

In the US, electric vehicle charging is really being held up at the moment, 2023, 2024, as the hurdle.

It’s not really now the supply of the electric vehicles that’s slowing up the adaption of EVs. It’s been seen as the lack of charging everywhere people need to charge and then the poor quality of the charging that’s out there.

A recent survey in California came back that only 74% of the public charging was working. And that’s just a terrible number.

You can’t have an electric vehicle and live a normal life if you’re forever worried that a) the charging is not where you need it, and b) that it may not be working when you get there.

So, there are a couple of areas that we all have to fix.

And it’s part of the reason actually coming back to who I am and what I do, that BP Pulse is investing heavily into electric vehicle charging in public that we sometimes call ‘On the go’.

Making it convenient, fast, efficient, safe, and cost effective for people to charge up.


Simon: And the good news is we’re doing this, we’re entering the US market, and we’ve also entered the Australian market as BP Pulse to do that.

It is fairly new in both the US and the UK markets. Our initial markets where we kind of cut our teeth and learnt were in the UK and in China.

And then since then, we’ve added in India, Germany, France, other European countries where we have a charging presence as well.

And so, we’re able to learn from all of these markets and apply the best principles into the US and the Australian market as we launch there.

So, you’ll see what I expect to be a much faster growth in these markets than you might expect, because we’re building on the back of our learnings from all of these other countries where we already have total in the world.

Now we’re at 27,000 fast chargers deployed in public. So, we have small numbers in the US and Australia today, but we’re going to grow fast on our goal to get to 100,000 fast chargers deployed by 2030.


Simon: As you look at it from a business point of view, you have company car fleets, so you have cars owned by the company that are for the use of employees.

Out of that, you have people who are just casual drivers, but they get a company car benefit. You have others that drive all day, every day.

Then you also have commercial vehicles that are in their fleet. They may be light duty, medium duty, heavy duty, trucks, buses, everything in that range that businesses use.

So, what we’re starting to see is that companies are very conscious of their footprint. And many companies, including BP, are on a path to net zero.

Now, for BP, we now call ourselves an integrated energy company. The days of being an oil company are long gone. And as an integrated energy company, electric vehicle charging is one of our growth engines that we’re looking to grow.

Because as a business, for us to get to net zero, we have to look across all of our factors.


And for every electron of electric vehicle charging that we sell or we put out into electric vehicle fleets, we ensure that it comes from renewable sources.

So, we ensure that all of the energy in our business, our Pulse Business, is net zero.

That’s kind of a great starting point on the path for us as a business. And the same applies to all of these other enterprises as they look to get to net zero whether it’s 2040, 2050, in those time frames.

Then transportation normally makes up about a third of their contributions to carbon. And so, it’s something now that we can look at bringing down year over year in a steady path by electrifying.

And the nervousness, to get over the nervousness, you need to have a) reliable vehicles that are cost effective and cost parity, and then b) you have to have fuelling for them.

So electric vehicle charging and a lot of people are lucky enough to be able to charge at home or at work, but some aren’t.

And even if you can charge at home and at work, you still want to travel, get out and about, go to the beach, go to the mountains, go to the cities, travel.

And so, you want to be able to charge wherever you need to.


Simon: And kind of hand in hand with the move to electric vehicles has been this digitalisation of fuelling and of travel and of navigation.

And so now with electric cars, it’s easier than ever to fit in your fuelling as you’re driving to kind of stop.

It takes 20 to 30 minutes normally if you’re doing fast charging on the go to recharge, and that’s just time to get a coffee or take a quick break and then get on and drive again.

So that’s the confidence that we need to bring about. We’re seeing that take shape in Germany in particular. We’ve made sure now that we’re deploying very reliable fast chargers.

It took us definitely some learnings to get to the right brand and the right kind and to apply our services level and our quality on top of that.

But now we’re seeing that consumers in Germany rank as the BP Pulse Network, as number one in the country.


And again, we’re bringing that learning to Australia and the US as to how to give confidence and reliable charging whence it’s deployed. So, we’re starting with our own fleet as well.

Again, it’s part of that net zero path that we have to look at how across all of our businesses, we do this.

And what’s interesting about that location in the Permian basin area of Texas is that the oil work is all powered by electricity as well.

So, it’s a site which is almost net zero already. It’s kind of a pilot site, but making sure that the transport coming to and from it was net zero as part of your scope one, scope two and scope three emissions here in the US that you have to look after.

So, yeah, we’re starting with our own fleet as well.


I came into BP through the acquisition of a startup that I was a co-founder of, it’s called Ampi Power.

And our whole premise was to do two things, to simplify fleet charging by making it cost effective and to introduce charging as a service.

So that just like in the solar world, some people buy solar, but some people rent it by the kilowatt hours generated. In the US, we call that a PPA, a Power Purchase Agreement.

Think of charging as a service as that same concept in the charging space. So, we would fund the charging infrastructure, but we would charge the customer the fleet.

This mostly applied to fleets that were electric buses or electric trucks. So, they can then pay that off over five or ten years or even 15 years, and there’s a return in it for the company doing that. But to do that, you’re transferring the risk.

So, you have to make sure, a) that you have a reliable infrastructure that you know how to service it, but b) that you can put the energy in at the cheapest times.


Simon: And so, BP Pulse has a set of software called Omega that we provide as part of that package. Or if we’re offering fleet charging to a fleet for behind the fence for their own use.

But that will look ahead and think about how much power do I need every 15 minutes for the next 24 hours to make sure that all the vehicles are charged up and ready to go when they leave?

That could be we just set a timer. It has to be ready by 06:00 a.m. Or it could be that we’re integrated to their routing and scheduling. So, what time each vehicle leaves, when it’s on schedule.

So, we can take those inputs and we work backwards and say, okay, to do that we have to charge this much.

Because with power in the US, you pay for the energy, the kilowatt hours, but you also pay for the power, the kilowatts. And so, if you can keep that power down, you pay less for the same energy.


And so, you want to spread out all of those vehicles charging during the time that they’re parked.

Think of it, if it’s simply overnight, if they all plug in at 06:00 p.m. Then you don’t want to start them all charging at the same time because it will spike your power and you’ll pay more than if you spread that power out over the night.

And so that load management is part of what the Omega software offers. It’s monitoring all the time and rescheduling to allow those companies to save money.

In the US, we generally save 30% to 40% of the customer’s energy bill. And it’s something we show them at the end of each month.

We show them kind of a retroactive, “Look, this is what you paid as many thousand dollars for your electricity. And if you hadn’t had this and it had started charging when you plugged in, this is what it would have cost.”

If I’m talking to your business customers and they’re looking at how to electrify, then if they have a company car fleet, it’s going to help put in some workplace charging.

It’s a great way to move into the space and show a commitment at a relatively low cost.


Simon: The second part is to just look on a map at where the charging is. You’d be surprised. It’s very easy to find where public charging is.

So, you can see that in areas like Melbourne, Sydney, there’s already quite a lot of charging. People are surprised how much public charging is out there.

And then the third is to take a look at their plan for net zero because there’s often an environmental budget out there to help fund this migration, to even help fund the study to do that work.

Definitely it’s the time to get started. They’ll be really surprised. Fleet drivers love driving electric. They just don’t go back.

Whether it’s a bus driver, a school bus driver, a delivery driver, they’re just really enjoying it.

School bus is my most interesting, by the way. We did a study that was funded by the state of New York and a) the school bus drivers love driving electric, but b) the children were calmer on the bus.

This was amazing because it’s not juddering and shaking. Their children were actually calmer and quieter.

The background noise of the vehicle is quieter, but the kids were actually calmer. And so, there’s some really unanticipated benefits of moving to electric in your transportation as well.


Taylor: I don’t know about you, but I think it’s so exciting to look to these other countries who are ahead of us and the leaps they’re making. I can’t wait for what’s on the horizon for us.

There are still some hurdles to consider, but Mabelle had some great ideas on how to mitigate those worries, like finding quality brands and reputable providers and taking advantage of those subscription models so you’re not stuck in your choice of vehicle too.

If after hearing what she had to say, you think it might be time for you to start transitioning, there’s always more info on the podcast website.

Catch you next time.

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