By Melanie Lane, CEO of NewMotion | May 20, 2020
I recently started my new role as CEO at NewMotion amidst one of the most transformative times in our generation. To be leading this wonderful team and business at a moment like this is a great privilege and responsibility. We are living through uncertain times, but I believe this is only strengthening NewMotion’s purpose and unwavering commitment to helping pave the way to a smarter, cleaner energy future.
Navigating the post-COVID-19 environment will be challenging but I know we will collectively rise to the occasion. The e-mobility industry, like nearly every other sector of the economy, has been impacted from both a business and consumer perspective. While it may take time for the economy to rebound from this crisis, we will use this time to understand the path forward and lay the foundation for future growth.
We will face short-term challenges but overall, I feel a growing sense of optimism about the road ahead as the world heals.
This could accelerate changes in public policy and behaviour, garnering stronger momentum for the ongoing movement towards more sustainable forms of transport, with electric vehicles (EVs) firmly at the forefront. Mobility, an essential part of urban life, has almost completely ground to a halt with the COVID-19 outbreak. But as social distancing measures ease and people start being on the move again, how the world thinks about transportation may be very different than just a few months ago. Crisis can often be a catalyst for change and innovation, as COVID-19 has prompted cities around the world to plan for a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic in order to increase resilience and sustainability.
The COVID-19 lockdown has dramatically cut planet-warming carbon emissions, leading to a huge improvement in air quality and giving us a glimpse of what life could be like with much cleaner air. But this has come at a terrible cost and the lack of traffic on the roads now will only be temporary as people ease back into their old routines. If we truly want to preserve our cleaner air, the only way to realistically achieve this is by accelerating the shift to clean mobility. This is why many cities and governments are taking this into account as they plan for life after lockdown. Recently, the Mayor of London published new evidence on the city’s improved air quality, that will feed into the government’s post-pandemic response, emphatically stating: “Cleaner air should not just be temporary.” This has taken on a new sense of urgency and importance, as air pollution has been shown to exacerbate the effects of COVID-19, making people more vulnerable to the disease. Mobility solutions will need to support growing communities in a way that doesn’t spark a drastic increase in emissions, so EVs will be a critical motor for recovery.
At first glance, the current climate appears to bear only pessimistic news for the auto industry. But in these uniquely challenging times, there remains a positive outlook for e-mobility. For instance, as China recovers from the pandemic, it is reportedly ensuring its plans for EVs stay on track. Soon after signs that the outbreak was under control, the government announced stimulus policies aimed at automobiles, particularly new energy vehicles. Closer to home in Europe, vehicle makers and policymakers both view the crisis as an opportunity to shift the auto sector towards sustainability. Many are keeping an eye on proposed ‘green’ scrappage schemes in Germany to revive consumer demand - which may likely offer greater incentives for buyers of EVs. Initiatives like these will only take more combustion engine cars off the road and speed up the transition to e-mobility.
We need to be ready to embrace this opportunity to help build an e-mobility ecosystem that is smart, simple and scalable, as the case for e-mobility becomes even stronger. While transit might be the last thing on people’s minds these days, soon there will come a day when we will feel free to travel again - to our offices, schools, gyms and loved ones - and explore new places outside the confines of our homes. Once we do, you will find a large network of NewMotion’s public charge points, allowing you to embark on new journeys and travel further than ever before. Ultimately, we are looking ahead to a better post-pandemic world where a basic need like mobility can be fulfilled in a way that contributes to a smarter, cleaner energy future, for both people and the planet.