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In the latest episode of Talking Net Zero, Sara chats with Emily Martin, Director, Sustainability & ESG Finance, and Merisa Lee Gimpel, Head of Working Capital Solution Development, at Lloyds Bank. During the episode, Sara, Emily and Merisa discuss the supply chain, the unknowns of embedded carbon, ring-fenced investing and how this affects SMEs transitioning to a more conscious, ESG-orientated supply chain.
In this week's episode, Sara talks to David Balensiefen - the CEO and Founder of gridX.  The pioneer of a business which is, at its heart, focused on the future, David works to build infrastructure for the growth of electrical vehicle usage across fleets and individual businesses - from the vehicles themselves to the number of charge points located in and around business buildings and structures.   During the episode, David tells Sara about his past experience, how he built gridX, and what inspired his drive to change our attitude to energy management - so that people who want to embrace electric vehicles, can. 
Describing himself as “an electrical mechanical engineer who was saved from a career in banking by the financial crisis,” Steven Meersman is a co-founder of Zenobē . He chats with Sara Sloman about how Zenobē is providing transport solutions to the energy grid and vice-versa,  In other words, batteries in bus depots that can store solar energy generated on site, then top up buses during the day, or sell the surplus back to the electricity company at times of peak demand. Not only does it save upgrades to the grid for running electric fleets, but it saves operators money too, typically from £60,000-£600,000 a year. They mull over whether the government’s existing system of ZEBRA electric bus grants is handled in the best way: Surprise, they’re not, creating a big ‘pause’ across the whole industry. He offers a simple solution to free up the log-jam the current funding models create. He also explains how, as a managed service, Zenobē takes away risk from the customer, acting as a new class of service provider, sitting between the vehicle operator and banks (which aren’t able to fund battery assets). We also learn some interesting trivia: What time do depot managers wake up? Finally, Steven explains why Zenobē is buying all the surplus EV batteries across Europe it can find, as it digs deep into using their second life ahead of a tsunami wave of second life batteries becoming available – which must not be recycled. He also hints at how this will be demonstrated at ITT Hub, where Zenobē is the charging partner for demonstrator EVs on site during 11-12 May 2022.
This week’s episode introduces our host to Lorna McAtear - an award-winning fleet manager from National Grid who has worked across and spearheaded the transition to EV for a range of vehicles and vehicle-led industries.   Lorna’s daily role is fleet management, taking the concepts, ideas, and innovation from all corners of the industry and transforming into groundwork and action. Her role sees her look after vehicles as they are moved to electric, covering a wide selection of commercial vehicles and cars for the National Grid organisation.  In this episode, she talks to host Sara about her day job, her motivations, and the way that she collaborates with other organisations and industries to create change - all while spearheading diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  Look out for the Talent Hub at this year’s ITT Hub, which is being led by Lorna and her team. 
This week’s episode introduces Vyntelligence's Ancel Boucher, who virtually met with Sara during the infamous Storm Eunice to discuss his role, the work of Vyntelligence, and how to collaborate in our mission to meet net zero. Vyntelligence is, for Ancel, a valuable opportunity that allows him to become part of a wider project to support the rollout of support videos - helping users on the ground share their issues, challenges, and solutions relating to electric chargers and vehicle use. Is the fear of electrical challenges holding UK consumers back from embracing EV 100%? Is a lack of chargers creating problems that impact the broader rollout of EV across a wider user base? In this podcast, Ancel and Sara answer these important questions.
In this week's Talking Net Zero podcast, host Sara talks to Jon Burdekin of JB Fleet Consulting - all about helping people get on board with and embrace the future of electric vehicles. Building an entire consultancy business on the question of "how do I go electric?", Jon works with individuals and companies across different levels to ensure that electric vehicle knowledge permeates every corner of the commercial vehicle sector. In this podcast, Sara and Jon discuss Jon's route into creating his own consultancy, share some top tips on embracing electric, and talk about the future of the business.
What do you know about the long term sustainability of the UK energy grid? Did you know that flexible energy literally fills the gaps which exist when energy supply and demand do not match? We kick off the 22nd Talking Net Zero podcast episode with a look at flexible energy, with host Sara chatting to Piclo’s CEO and Co-Founder James Johnston. The topic of trading energy flexibility online is one which will be new to many listeners - but luckily for you, we’ve done all the research for you so that you don’t have to.  Listen in as our host and special guest discuss what the energy flexibility market really does, and why it is so important to the electric vehicle industry - kicking off with a deep dive into the work of Piclo and what it means to operate on flexible energy. 
***Please note: As many of us are all too aware, remote meetings can sometimes run into technical difficulties. In this episode we encountered audio quality issues. A write-up of this episode will be available soon, but in the meantime, feel free to listen to this episode with that in mind.*** In this episode of Talking Net Zero, Sara welcomes Mike Strahlman to the studio. Mike’s current role of Director of EV at JustPark sees him working on the messaging and marketing surrounding EV charging and convenience for drivers and parking space hosts. He has been at JustPark since July 2021 but is already making big waves in the business and wider industry.  With collaboration, inspiration, and innovation the name of the game, this episode starts with Mike’s experiences in the energy industry - from chemicals to alternative and more sustainable energy solutions - before moving into his takeaways from COP26, what fleet drivers can do to join the EV revolution with JustPark, and how the app really works for its users.  JustPark is a platform which matches drivers with parking spaces, hosting both drivers and hosts in a business model which benefits both parties. 
In this special 20th episode of Talking Net Zero, Sara is joined by Effie Vraka, UK Country Director of Easee - a transport manufacturer in the electric vehicle sector.  With a background in Maths, Physics, and Engineering, Effie developed an early love of technology and quickly turned that passion into a career in telecommunications and innovative business solutions.  Discussing her experiences in a male-dominated industry, the complexities of coordinating with colleagues and customers across different sectors, and the challenges that she has faced during her career to date, this episode deals with the rise of EV use, charging solutions, and the ups and downs of life as a female in the technology industry. 
Chris Hazell Co-founder and MD at Zero EV chats with Sara Sloman about his unusual route into the electric vehicle industry and how electric-powered classic cars can suck people into EV who wouldn’t otherwise make the switch. He explains how his design and development of bolt-in conversion kits for vehicles to full electric power is changing perceptions, and why film producers now want EV conversions. Closing the skills gap is another big part of the Zero EV business, with a range of City & Guilds courses about EVs – such as high voltage systems – to bring through the next generation of EV engineers and he talks about the challenges of training.  @zeroevuk
The whole mix Seiki Payne is MD and (with Jamie Duffy) the co-founder Tronius, a company that’s in the ‘one to watch’ category. Seiki chats with Sara Sloman about how Tronius is on a mission to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. He explains how they use innovative products and solutions to “help business along that transition as quickly as possible.” And, how they’re using data “to make sure these decisions are as good as they can possibly be.” He also gives a sneak preview of Tronius’ portable EV charging hub.  Coinciding with COP26, it’s being launched in Dundee next month. Bringing EV chargers to areas where they doesn’t exist, the product proves the demand, then uses the data that results to determine the best solution.
Co-founder of AnnexusEV Jonny Duggan chats with Sara Sloman about how a David Attenborough documentary spurred Jonny and his father to create an energy-based business to serve fleet needs. While the younger generation are more ‘switched on’ about EVs, there are many myths that need to be busted, from range anxiety to the spread of charging infrastructure, he explains. He sets out why the talk about decarbonisation “needs to become more mainstream” and why we need to make EVs more accessible “for everybody in the UK.” And, they reveal their personal World EV Day pledges…
This week Sara Sloman is in conversation with Matt Allen, CEO, Pivot Power, which is building a nationwide network of energy super-hubs to enable rapid EV charging, powered by low-carbon energy sources. The first super-hub has already opened in Oxford, with Coventry the next, and many more to follow. Or, as Matt puts it: “It’s a big battery in a field, that’s unlocking small mobile batteries on the road. They are unrelated apart from sharing a connection point, but both are critical to getting to a net zero outcome.” He draws parallels with the last time, 100 years ago, when there was a massive conversion of transport (from horse to petrol power) and how it took place in only a decade despite the massive infrastructure requirements. They talk about the way people respond with an urgency in a crisis and why that makes the language we use important. The mull on what consumer pressure will do on the road to net zero and why ‘scare tactics’ are not the answer. “Avoiding a Climate Catastrophe is a participatory sport’ says Matt as he explains “why we all need to get on the pitch and score some goals.”
This week Robin Webb (Head of Mobility) and Sam Henegan (Associate) of national law firm Shoosmiths, join Sara Sloman to chat about their work in the transition to net zero. Working across the automotive, logistics, marine, aviation and rail sectors, they advise clients on the full range of legal issues they might need help with, especially on the road to net zero. Covering everything from e-scooters to drones and mobility as a service (MaaS), alongside some of the major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), they chat about companies’ net zero policies and future proofing for fleets.  They explain the impact of incentives, such as government grants and tax regimes, and set out why clarity around longer-term incentives is vital to enable fleets to properly plan ahead.  We discover that consumers and employees are now in the driving seat to drive change, and why electric company car fleets are viewed by employees as an incentive to join or stay with a company. In a lively conversation they discuss what issues are driving consumers, which in turn are driving OEMs. For example, consumers want to know the impact of their EV on issues such as deforestation. The impact of Britishvolt’s gigafactory, and how the Brexit deal means that batteries from China is not the ‘future for forever’ are mulled over, before taking a look at Battery as a Service (BaaS), or ‘battery swapping’. Not only does it reduce the cost of a new vehicle, but they reckon it’s a “a really neat offering that will take off in the medium term.”
Bridging the data gap How do we make consumers better educated about their choices, and what ways are there to create greener methods of transport without sacrificing the consumer interest? This is the thorny issue tackled by Sarah Banks, Global Lead for the F&L Industry at Accenture, a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security that employs half-a-million people. Chatting with Sara Sloman, she talks about greening of ‘last mile’ deliveries, how behaviour changes come from a ‘trigger’ and the shift in shareholder expectations. “More than 40 % of consumers care about the sustainability they have an impact on, but we lack the data to make that happen,” she tells Sara before setting out examples of how getting more access to data about consumers – and then using that data for good – will help to drive consumer choice about green transport. They talk about asset usage to get consumers making decisions about green transport, such as competitors sharing their delivery vehicles, how firms can compete and co-operate at the same time and how the regulatory environment can change this. They close with a fascinating exploration of carbon offsetting, and why it has to be more than just planting a tree. About Accenture The logistics industry has long been the steward of the supply chain, having leveraged both foresight and experience to enable and grow commerce globally. In this era of unprecedented change, the logistics industry has a profound opportunity to not only continue this history but to lead the transformation for a more digital, connected and sustainable future. Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, it offers Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services—all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centres. Its 506,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. It embraces the power of change to create value and shared success for its clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities.
Whipping up a conversation Alec Peachey runs Transport + Energy, designed to unite the two sectors that historically had no link. “There used to be a siloed mentality with transport and energy, which was understandable as they didn’t need to have a link,” he tells host Sara Sloman. “Now, they have to work together. While it’s about issues such as electricity grid capacity and EVs, there’s also other forms of energy that have new or stronger links with transport.” Sara chats with Alec about his “wonderful way of whipping up a conversation,” why local authorities are key in the chain and the importance of local councillors in driving change. Designed specifically to unite professionals across the sectors, Transport + Energy provides business-critical information and services to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport and energy.  About Transport + Energy The website – – features the latest news stories, features and projects from the sectors, diving into the myriad of challenges facing them with a focus on key topics including: electric vehicles energy roads infrastructure manufacturers hydrogen & biofuels The website brings together these two critical sectors and looks at how the various groups in the sectors need to work in unison.  Whether a vehicle manufacturer, fleet operator, energy network or energy solutions provider, EV charging point installer, local authority transport officer, sustainability or energy manager, if you are focused on the decarbonisation of transport and energy, this is the brand for you. To receive regular updates subscribe here:
Sara talks to Poppy Welch—Head Of Marketing at GRIDSERVE Poppy Welch of Gridserve is Sara Sloman's guest this week. Having just moved from Go Ultra Low - the government and industry initiative to provide 'everything you need to know' about EVs - she's now got a new challenge with the pioneering business.
How can we use energy more efficiently? That’s one of the big questions that David Gibbin is charged with delivering answers to.  As Energy Flexibly Manager at Severn Trent, the water and sewage treatment company, he is delivering on the firm’s ‘triple carbon pledge’. This will see the Midlands-based company achieve net-zero emissions, 100% energy from renewable sources, and a 100% electric vehicle fleet by 2030, well ahead of the Government's 2050 target.  It has also become one of the first UK companies to ask shareholders to endorse its plans. The transport challenge is a big one for Severn Trent, explains David, as although its fleet isn’t large, it’s very varied. “This is not just a challenge for the transport department, but the whole company,” he tells Sara Sloman. And, these are no empty promises. Already, says David, Severn Trent has exceeded its target of using 50% of all its electricity from renewables by 2020. While converting the car and small van fleet to electric is straightforward, it’s also seen the company move from an outright ownership model for vehicles, to leasing, and David explains why. Trickier are larger vehicles – which go up to 44-tonne tankers and refrigerated vehicles. “There’s less choice at present, and we’re not involved in trunking – going on motorways – as our trucks travel in rural areas.” As a result, he explains why Severn Trent is now talking with vehicle manufacturers about the types of zero-emission trucks it wants to buy, but are not currently available. “The greenest mile, is the mile you don’t travel,” he adds, asking “do we actually need to do all the miles?” The result is some surprising and easy solutions (that don’t involve home working) to reduce engineers’ van use. Meanwhile, a programme to install 352 charging points ahead of its self-imposed deadline is now well underway, he adds into this insight in the role of utilities on the road to net-zero.
Why COP26 is fascinating and Britain is leading the way Duncan Burt is the Director for COP26 at National Grid, leading the gas and electricity distributor's engagement with the worldwide summit in Glasgow this November. Electricity is one of the most exciting places to work right now, he says. “There are people right across the sector creating things for the very first time, it’s real innovation, not copying something else.” He answers the oft-asked question - will there be enough power, and enough time to sort it all out? We discover that he doesn’t has much time for armchair engineers, and what the general public really know about the grid, net-zero or COP26. He talks about why National Green has launched its Green Light Signal, that tells you when the electricity in your home is coming from clean and green energy sources. Sara chats with Duncan about the ‘Greta Thunberg’ effect and Extinction Rebellion, and how the UK is fastest de-carbonising economy in the G20. After discussing the big switch that’s China’s made, he answers the big questions: What do we need to do get de-carbonisation momentum and what the biggest single carbon reduction measure you can take?  He also explains what the changes to our lifestyle will mean, why they won’t make us miserable and why it’s not all about flygskam.
At the cutting edge of energy transition Having spent more than a decade at Exeter-based Regen – an independent not-for-profit body that works with all sectors to revolutionise the way we generate, supply and use energy – Associate Director Rachel Hayes has just started a secondment to the government’s Cabinet Office for COP26. She explains what her new role, as a Senior Strategy Advisor for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in Glasgow in November, entails. Setting out why COP26 is important, as a significant test of the Paris agreement – which was the first truly global climate change agreement – Rachel talks with Sara Sloman about the big opportunities to engage the public and businesses on climate change.  They talk about the “real challenge of making things relatable to the public” when talking about climate change” and the major changes people need to make in their lifestyles. The conversation also covers the amazing success of ReWiRE, now renamed Women in Renewables, the place for professionals to join together, network and share ideas.  Rachel discusses the importance of strong mentoring, and the radical new approach to it, by Women in Renewables. She sheds light on how powerful this often-neglected aspect of career development really is.
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