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Broadcaster, writer and adventurer Ben Fogle joins the Go Ultra Low campaign – Discover EV finds out more in an exclusive interview

The aim of Go Ultra Low, a joint government and industry campaign, is to promote the uptake of electric vehicles, and with Ben Fogle as their ambassador it’s hoping to really accelerate the drive towards to a greener future. Discover EV talks to Ben to find out more.

What made you decide to take up the role of ambassador for Go Ultra Low?

The nature of my work means I have a higher carbon footprint than many, mainly on account of my air travel. I have little alternative so we have tried to reduce our family impact elsewhere, such as tree planting and attempting to be a non-single use plastic household. Our motoring choice was obvious. A busy house and two businesses meant that we needed two cars and we opted for a full electric and a plug in hybrid with the goal of eventually switching to electric entirely. 

According to research by Go Ultra Low people expect EVs to be the norm in just over a decade. However according to SMMT’s November can registrations data total BEV, PHEV and HEV sales for 2019 to date only take up 7.2 per cent of the UK market share (just BEV sales are 1.5). What factors to you see key to mass adoption?

People are worried about battery life and charging options. The grid is there but some people feel insecure about adopting electric. We all know it is where the motor industry is heading and I think, like us, people just need to take the leap of faith. 

You’ve just launched a Hero to Zero Emissions Miles Challenge for Schools in England and Wales to sign up to, which counts the number of zero emission miles pupils travel over the course of a week. For those who can’t afford an electric car how can they lower their emissions?

There are so many great ways: walking, skipping, running, scootering, cycling, taking a bus or train, car sharing. Be creative. Maybe you could come by hot air balloon. 

“Education, education, education” – that was your verdict on how to solve the crisis facing global nature as US Patron of the Wilderness. What education needs to be done in terms of people making the switch from an internally combustion engine car to an EV.

I really believe that education is the key to so many of the world’s ills. Can you imagine the untapped intellect and skills throughout the lesser developed world, where many struggle to access education? When it comes to electric cars I think people need to understand how simple it is, and realise that in many cases the cars are better, smarter, faster and more robust. It took us getting an electric car to convert my wife Marina who was a cynic. Now she wouldn’t drive anything else around the city. 

A selfie of Ben up Mt Everest
Ben climbing Mt Everest

To anyone who doesn’t see the point of owning an EV what would you say to them?

We need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels. A tremendous amount of our power grid now comes from renewables which means EVs are not only greener for the immediate environment but also for the world.



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Comments (1)

Graham

17th Dec 2019 14:05

2020 should be an interesting year for EVs as there will be significantly more EV models available and that will effect prices. In 2019 there were 3 buyers for every available EV. More good news is the growing on-street charging infrastructure being committed to by UK Councils, addressing residents justified concern about pollution, who now realise that 2 or 3 Rapid Chargers in a public or supermarket car park is useful for emergencies but not an infrastructure. In the US, at recent Thanksgiving weekend, Teslas were queuing for 4 hours to get to a charge point. Range Anxiety is being replaced by Queuing Anxiety. Have a look at connectedkerb.com for a smart solution.


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