In this episode of our CleanTech Talk podcast interview series, Zachary Shahan, Director and CEO of CleanTechnica, and Roger Atkins, founder of Electric Vehicles Outlook Ltd., sit down to talk about the future of electric vehicles, wireless charging, and EV supply chains.
You can listen to the full conversation in the embedded player below. Below that embedded SoundCloud player is a brief summary of the topics covered, but tune into the podcast to follow the full discussion.
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Zach describes Roger as “that guy who’s always filling up your LinkedIn,” a leader on that platform for conversations around electric vehicles. The two met in Amsterdam at the first rEVolution conference.
These days, Roger has been focusing all of his attention on each end of the electric vehicle transition, from mining and gigafactories to electric vehicle charging and battery swapping. Roger is particularly fascinated with a Gridserve project in the UK, a service station for EVs that also serves as a showroom for EVs and as an experience center featuring EV-related talks and educational events. Both EV owners and non-EV owners are welcome, and Roger believes this initiative could convince non-EV owners to warm up to the EV transition. Both Zach and Roger explore what this project could mean for the broader EV transition.
Zach and Roger launch a discussion on wireless charging and the latest technological improvements that have shown the technology’s potential for widespread adoption. Roger believes that adopting wireless charging is particularly relevant to vehicles with specific duty cycles, like public transit buses on closed loop cycles. In these situations, the vehicles are easier to monitor and manage, he notes, and adding wireless charging stations into that routine could prove valuable in range extension of those vehicles.
Over and above convenience, Roger says that wireless charging and EV adoption comes down to economics and operating costs. He wants to see transit companies investing in charging structures and stations that could then be used by other companies when not filled by the transit companies themselves. While one of the criticisms for wireless charging has been that it is less effective than charging with a cable, Zach says better technology and increased efficiency is beginning to show wireless charging’s viability.
Roger explains that this is a challenging scenario in which we are transitioning from the extraction of oil and gas to mining for lithium and cobalt, which poses a number of environmental and ethical challenges as well. He believes that there must be a focus on an accelerated ethical mining plan, something that people are already having to consider due to stricter regulation on these processes.
Zach and Roger explore the various challenges that this EV transition poses to energy security and natural resource access. Roger also argues that gigafactories must only be supported by ethical and robust supply chains.
To hear more on these topics, as well as Roger’s conversation with Elon Musk some years ago, listen to the show!