Bigger, better, faster, more challenging: reflections on LCV2016

There are events where the attendees and organisers involuntarily conspire to ‘talk a good show’ whilst the reality is more subdued. LCV2016 was not one of those events. Blazing sunshine, record attendance and a wide array of display vehicles contributed to an upbeat atmosphere for the UK’s main low carbon vehicles event. Other positive factors were only slightly less visible – a new (and apparently very supportive) Minister for Climate Change & Industry, the alignment between funding agencies and policy bodies (they shared a large stand), greater clarity on long term policy targets, and a significant presence of non UK delegates.

Prototypes jostled with production vehicles, combustion engines with electric. The ride and drive was oversubscribed and queues formed for the ‘dream cars’ (electric mainly). It was interesting to note the rising profile of fuel cells and hydrogen amongst the exhibits and even the LowCVP Champions winners.  It is a shame we could only attend a handful of talks – too many people to talk to and things to see – but the papers will be on the website soon, so the challenge will be to find time to mine them for nuggets.

E4tech played its part too. The Advanced Propulsion Centre ‘went large’ on the recently launched UK Capabilities Report which – in our view – comes at a perfect time with the creation of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. E4tech worked on many areas of this report, alongside Ricardo, and we facilitated two workshops at the show on the way forward. Separately Adam Chase presented on vehicle to grid economics in a standing-room-only session that brought together people from many sectors. In the exhibition it was personally satisfying to see a client’s stand materials featuring quotes from a strategy assignment we conducted for them earlier this year, and to hear them say how it shapes their whole business approach now.

Not everything is rosy of course. Brexit still looms over the sector. Skilled staff shortages are a big constraint. The lack of UK Tier 1 players is a hurdle. SMEs still struggle to get to critical mass. Where were the fuel companies? Overall, we have a long way to go to realise emissions goals in vehicles. This requires a systems approach with energy, vehicle and policy actors working together….which is exactly where E4tech fits.

We’ll be back next year and in the meantime we’ll continue to work on all of the challenges and opportunities that the show revealed. Do get in touch to discuss how we can help.

Cenex-LCV-room

Image courtesy of Cenex
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