'Keeping it clean' with James Jean-Louis, COO of Zoom EV
The first of a blog series, which will feature interviews with a variety of experts within the world of sustainability, clean tech and future mobility.
I had the pleasure of chatting with James, the Chief Commercial Officer of Zoom EV, the UK’s first and only peer-to-peer car sharing platform for low emission vehicles.
James has 25 years experience in the automotive industry, with a focus on e-Mobility, having founded Charging Solutions Ltd, one of the first charging businesses in the UK in 2010 (acquired by Chargemaster in 2014). He went on to successfully build it into the UK’s leading EV chargepoint provider and charging network, which was acquired by BP to become BP Chargemaster in 2018. He is now instrumental in the launch of Zoom EV, a key player in future of eMobility.
James, you’ve had a fairly outstanding career, which has gone full circle from start-up to start-up via some larger companies through a series of acquisitions, what’s been your highlight?
Having spent over 25 years in the automotive sector, the past 10 years of which have been in the EV space, the highlight for me has to be when recently asked by an old colleague how he could invest in the EV space. This was the same person that 10 years ago told me that I shouldn’t back EVs as they would never take off.
What are some of the most interesting things happening in the world of EV right now?
In 2011 there were only 5 plug in cars on the market in the UK (and 3 of them were a version of the same car!) and now every car manufacturer that you can think of has an EV within their portfolio, and in some cases, an EV in most of their vehicle platforms.
What are the current changes in this space, both to people’s day to day lives and to the planet?
COVID-19 has made people realise two things when it comes to how they use their vehicles:
1/ Air quality has greatly improved due to the lack of CO2 emissions from diesel and petrol vehicles globally and will be a factor when choosing their next vehicle
2/ A realisation on how much their vehicle is being used and will be used post COVID-19 as we change the way we go about our daily work and personal lives. Before COVID-19 the average time that a vehicle sat idle was 95%!
Now the EV industry is past the ‘early adopter’ stage, what’s next?
I see a shift in attitude from ownership to usership of vehicles. It is a fact that the sharing economy is set for exponential growth and given the huge growth in EV registrations, the opportunity to share EV assets whether as an individual or organisation is set to be realised.
And since this is what Zoom EV is all about, please can you tell us a bit more about what they do?
Zoom EV is a Mobility as a Service provider, dedicated to providing the best services for EV drivers, with a leadership team that brings many years’ experience from the automotive, energy and finance sectors. We have three solutions that are designed to enable and easy transition to EV’s. We offer an Electric Vehicle Sharing Platform, an Electric Vehicle Driver Benefits Bundle and EV Insurance. Zoom EV is an EV Ecosystem that generates significant CO2 savings, enabling sharing of idle assets and providing money saving benefits across all key EV services from leading organisations.
What impact could Zoom EV have over the coming years?
The main impact that Zoom EV will have is to generate significant C02 savings. We will also make it easy to choose an EV for your next vehicle. As well as utilising individuals private EV’s, we have linked with major vehicle retailer groups in the UK, who are placing their idle demonstrator, fleet and used EV stock on the Zoom sharing platform.
If you could wave your magic wand, what changes would you make to the planet and to human behaviour?
I would love a huge increase in the focus on sustainability, particularly when it comes to energy and how we move around; zero emissions and even looking at whether we actually need a vehicle. In the ideal world we would be 100% renewable and sustainable.
This can only be realised with a drastic change in human thinking and human behaviour. Following this pandemic, the world as we know it will change, so this is the time to reflect on how we should be behaving and collectively work towards to a brighter future.