Fiona Howarth, CEO at Octopus Electric Vehicles, explains what the company is up to, how its services can benefit EV drivers and what’s in store for our electric future.
Attracting 30,000 new customers a month, Octopus Energy is fast becoming a major player in electricity provision, providing its 450,000+ customers with an enticing blend of planet-friendly power at affordable prices – and it’s only been in business since 2016.
That’s around double the customer count of Ecotricity, which was founded in 1996 and offers a similar proposition to its customer base.
So what makes Octopus so alluring? The name offers a hint: the company has a multi-faceted approach that includes a variety of enticing options from cars to energy. The parent company has been around a little longer than its fledgling arms, having kept a low profile as Octopus Investments that began trading in 2000 and has steadily become the largest solar investor in the UK. The first ‘tentacle’ to follow was Octopus Energy, and with the global transition to electrified transport, Octopus Electric Vehicles was introduced.
The latter is headed by former BMW engineer Fiona Howarth, who is acting CEO for the firm. Fiona is no stranger to the forefront of vehicle technology having worked on the development of hydrogen-powered cars. However, while hydrogen may be a possible future fuel, Fiona saw battery-powered electric vehicles as a more realistic and exciting proposition for today. Not just another leasing firm Octopus Electric Vehicles offers several intriguing services. There’s the more apparent side of the company, which is to lease electric vehicles, while less obvious is the willingness to educate people on future powertrains, for example by holding free events showcasing the latest crop of electric cars and offering test drives. However, beyond these, there’s a close link with other Octopus ventures provided by both Octopus Energy and Octopus Investments. These include vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and infrastructure investment.
V2G is seen as an important factor in the mass adoption of electric vehicles, as it has the potential to provide network level grid balancing using cars rather than static batteries or costly grid upgrades.
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