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Podcast S20E08

In conversation with… David Watson, Ohme

Silhouette of man inserting plug into the electric car charging socket

In this episode, Jon Slowe and Sandra Trittin are joined by David Watson, CEO of Ohme – the EV chargepoint manufacturer. They discuss Ohme’s rapid growth and scale-up, flexibility, and David’s other roles – as Chief Investment Officer of Temporis Capital, and owner of a cider-producing orchard.

Episode transcript

[00:00:04.490] - Jon Slowe

Welcome to Talking New Energy, a podcast from LCP Delta. I'm Jon Slowe.

 

[00:00:09.290] - Sandra Trittin

And I'm Sandra Trittin. And together we are exploring how the energy transition is unfolding across Europe through conversations with guests from the leading edge of the transition.

 

[00:00:18.930] - Jon Slowe

Hello, and welcome to the episode. Today I'm talking with Dave Watson, who's CEO at Ohme, an EV chargepoint manufacturer. Hello, Dave.

 

[00:00:28.370] - David Watson

Hi, Jon.

 

[00:00:28.960] - Jon Slowe

Thanks for having me, and welcome to the episode. Thanks for joining, Dave. Not everyone will know Ohme. Maybe in the not-too-distant future, most of our listeners will know Ohme. But for those that don't, can you give us an elevator pitch for Ohme?

 

[00:00:41.290] - David Watson

Ohme is a smart charging. It's an EV smart charging platform. And what does that mean? It means that we help EV drivers charge at the cheapest time so that we can make charging easy, cheap, and reliable for them. And we do that using a combination of our own hardware as well as proprietary software that we've developed.

 

[00:01:00.360] - Jon Slowe

Great. And an idea of scale. I mean, you're talking to us from Ireland, your home market, but how many markets are you active in? Can you give a listener feel for how far you've scaled up?

 

[00:01:11.140] - David Watson

Our main market is, main markets are the UK and Ireland, and we're also pretty advanced in Belgium and have just launched this year in France, Germany, Spain and Australia. To give you an idea, I guess that's a geographical scale.

 

[00:01:26.550] - Jon Slowe

You've been quite busy with new market launches then.

 

[00:01:28.830] - David Watson

Yes, this year. So, 2023 or late 2023 was the year of new market launches. And to give you then an idea of some of the partners that we have in the UK, to give you an idea of some of the scale in them, our biggest partner, which I guess many of your listeners wouldn't have heard of, it's called Motability. They manage or lease vehicles on behalf of disabled vehicles, disabled drivers. Here in the UK, they lease about 750,000 vehicles, and they're looking to move aggressively into electric vehicles, and their target is to have 130,000 electric drivers on the road in the next 18 months. And we're their exclusive charging partner.

 

[00:02:09.280] - Jon Slowe

So, you're scaling up pretty fast, then?

 

[00:02:11.400] - David Watson

Yeah, exactly.

 

[00:02:12.360] - Jon Slowe

I'm intrigued by how you described your company as software and hardware. Can you tell us a bit about what your original vision was for Ohme and that combination of balance between the hardware, the chargepoint, and then the software charging platform behind it?

 

[00:02:28.900] - David Watson

Yeah, no problem. I guess I can go all the way back into how we saw that I started or why I started. I think it was around 2018 when I started to look at large batteries, or containerized batteries as a way of balancing the grid, and as I looked closer at those, I could see the batteries were. Battery prices were decreasing pretty much around the same rate or something similar to what had happened in solar. So, to kind of put it in perspective, the battery of, let's say, a Tesla Model S would have been about 100,000 in 2012. It had already dropped to something that like 25, 2020, 5000 in 2018. And I guess I had just did the calcs and thought, well, actually that battery would be something by 22, 2023 would be closer to 7000, 8000. And so, at that price, I felt that EVs would be the mass form of transport much quicker than people realised. Also thought that cars are parked 95% of the time at work and home. And so, I thought, well, we could use that battery that existed in those EVs to balance the grid.

 

[00:03:32.090] - Jon Slowe

Why build other batteries when there's going to be batteries in EVs?

 

[00:03:35.430] - David Watson

Exactly. And also, you look at a lot of people started to think about destination charging and you realise, actually most journeys are under 25 miles. And as I said, most cars spent most of the time parked. Now, that's not every use case and everybody doesn't have off street, but I just thought that seemed like a really great fit. So, we started, or I started to think about how we could build a business to effectively capitalise on that transition. So, first thing we did is we invented, I guess, the idea of a smart cable or a charging cable, where we had a 4G sim in a cable and that cable could connect to any car. And at that stage. Sorry, that cable could charge any car in any country as long as it had four g, and you could plug it in.

 

[00:04:16.130] - Jon Slowe

The connectivity then would be in the cable, not in the car, not in the chargepoint, but in the cable.

 

[00:04:20.920] - David Watson

And then as effective the initial transition, we thought, well, ultimately the connectivity could move to the car. So, we built some technology, or software technology to allow us to manage and control it from the car. And we thought, oh, well, it could ended up in the house and we built some software to control and manage other people's charges because we want. And so, we felt we had exactly a technology agnostic approach to the market, and we could push with what we believed was a piece of transitionary hardware, which was a scalable and a whole software platform that would allow us to control and manage the grid. And fortunately for us, we bumped into Greg at Octopus when they were quite small, and they started to bring out some interesting time of use tariffs. Go and agile in particular, and when energy prices went negative, drivers were paid to charge, and we moved quite a bit of load around. However, as we started to try to drive the software piece of the business, we ran into some difficulties because quality of a lot of the hardware out there was quite poor. So, trying to control and manage them and provide a reliable smart charging service with unreliable hardware wasn't really sustainable.

 

[00:05:27.020] - David Watson

And some of the larger hardware manufacturers are larger at that stage. They were larger, believed that they were going to build their own software. So, we as a business had to make the decision to start building and developing our own hardware as an ability to effectively build and drive our own connected platform. So that was effectively the transition or the pivot to a business that began to lead more with hardware. However, as we start, and I guess this will lead into your next question, Jon. As we started to manage that proposition and started to realise that when we started selling the hardware, we realised the software needs became more complicated. And that was when tariff started to evolve. And we can talk about the evolution of the energy markets, but also when we think about how do we provide software solutions to our route to market partners or our B2B partners, they needed other problems solved, which weren't just moving load around. So, I guess it's a combination of that hardware piece that gave us reliability in terms of performance and a route to market. But the software part of the business, which allows us to create a service overlay, whether that's on the grid side or even with B2B partners, I guess second string to our bow.

 

[00:06:37.330] - Jon Slowe

Okay, so in your company at the moment, then you're a mix of hardware, either manufacturing or assembling kit, and having to scale through manufacturing plant and also software engineers developing those software services you described.

 

[00:06:52.010] - David Watson

So yeah, I think about a quarter of our workforce is involved in the software development as well as engineering part. So, it's quite a large proportion of our business for something that on the face of it looks quite hardware focused.

 

[00:07:07.520] - Jon Slowe

Interesting. And what about scaling? I mean, as you're growing quickly, as you described the beginning, tell us a bit about the challenges in scaling both the hardware side and the software side, and then maybe any reflections on scaling the company as a whole in terms of the rate of growth of the EV market and the rate of growth that I'm sure you're looking to achieve in the next years.

 

[00:07:28.350] - David Watson

On the face of it, there's two quite different scaling models, the software, and the hardware business. The software scaling is relatively easy if one just thinks about the number of users you create. An event driven platform where your compute and all the processes you have scaled effectively, automatically with the number of users and drivers. So that means there's not large amounts of investment up front in it. So, you can just generally scale those processes quite easily and cheaply. The difficulty with the software part of the business is the complexity of the products that you want to build and need to build in order to remain competitive, end up being more and more complicated, and you have lots of complicated edge cases that you need to build around. So, when at the start of the business, you go, I barely adopted, they're happy with to manage the way through edge cases, you now have barely majority, and they have zero tolerance. They wanted to be like Netflix or Google. So ultimately, the software product you need to build has to be much more robust and work for larger sets of users. And then on the other side, the products that you need to build scales as well.

 

[00:08:31.990] - David Watson

So, you need different teams doing different things. And then, sorry, the last complexity is technical debt. So, you make some decisions early day when you don't know exactly what you're going to build, and then you realise that with the benefit of hindsight, you might have built them differently. So, they're kind of different challenges on a software build business. I mean, they're kind of reasonably well known. And then on the hardware side, the challenges are quite different in a different way, because actually, for each installation, if a business triples in a year and then triples year after, that's effectively ten times growth in two years, and that results in ten times more stuff happening in the real world. So, ten times more boxes built, ten boxes moved, ten times more installations to complete. So, there's ten times more of everything in the physical world, which when you need to get labour and bodies and move, and the logistics of that, and the capital requirements of actually doing that are quite different to a software business. So, all the aspects of the business have different complexities and different things to manage.

 

[00:09:26.640] - Jon Slowe

Anything that you look back in the last couple of years and you're most proud about, or anything that you look back and you thought, oh, that was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be.

 

[00:09:35.590] - David Watson

I think everything is harder than you think.

 

[00:09:38.070] - Jon Slowe

Nothing's easier, is it?

 

[00:09:39.220] - David Watson

I think that's one of the things that I get. To be entrepreneurial, you have to be reasonably optimistic that things are easier, and then you get stuck into it, and actually you finish, and you enjoy it. I think that optimism is helpful. So, things are generally harder. However, when things do start to change, and you get some momentum I guess sometimes you get positive feedback loops that then make other aspects easier. So, I think starting is always difficult. Getting the momentum is quite difficult, and getting people to understand that solutions are better than existing solutions is quite tricky. Anything, I guess I'm most proud of, or coming back to, is realising that actually solving problems for other big B2B partners and helping make their life easier is a way to provide solutions to larger number of customers. So it's actually really focusing on those partners and figuring out what problems they really do, I think is the thing, and trying to help solve them is the thing that I guess we're most proud of.

 

[00:10:33.230] - Jon Slowe

Yeah. Okay. And you've got your partnership, you mentioned, with Motability, with Volkswagen, with others. Has that taken time to, I guess, form part of your team's culture that's solving problems for your partners? It's clearly something that you're doing well. You've got good partner roots to market. Is that part of your DNA and your culture, or has it taken a lot of work to achieve that or?

 

[00:10:53.650] - David Watson

As most start-ups, I guess it was a bit of trial and error. You build a product, and you think everybody should love it, and you start pitching and you try to persuade them that your product's better. And actually, after a while you begin to think it's actually better to learn and listen to them. So, a lot of start-ups, they keep getting knocked backs and they think, if I just build another feature or I just keep flowing on, it works. And what we started to do was listen and try and figure out what problems did our partners have today? Because we were kind of, I guess if you turn it around, we were trying to sell benefits that didn't really exist or benefits that might exist in the future. Yet most of our partners had problems with the transition today, things they needed help with. So, when we started to listen to what they needed and respond to their needs as opposed to what we were selling, I think that was the fundamental shift in mindset of the business. And I think culture is a funny thing. If you learn that when you're reasonably small and a small group of people, then everybody new who comes into the group, see, that's how you do, and how you approach your customers, approach situations to now it kind of, I guess, happens organically within the business, and people go and talk to our customers or, and partners and listen to them and see how they solve their problems. No, that doesn't mean, I guess we solve all the problems perfectly today.

 

[00:12:09.480] - Jon Slowe

Yeah.

 

[00:12:10.090] - David Watson

When you find out resources and there's always people unhappy that we're not moving fast enough, we're solving as many problems for them. So, what we try to do is at this stage, is try and solve as many as we can and as quickly as we can, and then move on to the next. So for any drivers or anybody who's sitting there and saying we're not solving their problems today, you can't solve them all at once. We'll do our best to get to them.

 

[00:12:32.620] - Jon Slowe

And you talked about the problem that starting Ohme, that need for grid flexibility and looking at big batteries originally, and then, well, we'll have all these batteries on wheels that are plugged in most of the time. When I look at markets for flexibility, they're opening up more and more. They're still taking time. So, we still can't get the full value from flexibility from electric vehicles or other forms of residential flexibility in terms of the timing of when that will come. And thinking about what you just said, of focusing on the problems your customers have today, how quickly are your customers interested in and asking about and thirsty for those smart charging solutions?

 

[00:13:10.210] - David Watson

Well, I guess I'd answer, rather than answering the last question, I'll answer another question first. I think the regulated markets around flexibility and the ones designed by the DNOs and the TSOs are ultimately taking their time because they have, but on the supplier side, the purchase of the commodity piece. So buying energy at the cheapest price is you know when you've gone from small numbers of EVs, that doesn't have a big impact, but larger numbers and EVs, it makes a big difference that EVs are charging at the right period of time.

 

[00:13:41.580] - Jon Slowe

Yeah.

 

[00:13:42.090] - David Watson

And then also the important part is to understand how much they're charging so the quantities to help the suppliers effectively manage their imbalance decision. So, by helping to solve those two problems, which is timing and imbalance on a more dynamic basis, what you're doing is creating an ability to effectively pass on the cheapest energy to the customers before you get to those regulated parts that you're saying. So what does that really mean? You go from a go to an agile to something now like intelligent, and intelligent is in that intelligent octopus or even overdrive anytime are in that category, that in order to access the cheapest energy, the supplier has to benefit from being able to buy the energy on a cheaper basis, on a more dynamic basis.

 

[00:14:25.340] - David Watson

So rather than just once a day, but more frequently, and then be able to manage their imbalance position, so that then is in a position where now lots of drivers can. And because of that, the difference between those types of tariffs, and standard, variable, or even day and night is much bigger. So that makes the first stage of the journey, which is, I guess, the non-regulated piece easier, because you can start to then talk to customers, and not just early customers, all customers, about how they can access cheaper energy through these tariffs. But these tariffs are the first form of real flexibility. Go and agile really aren't. They're just responsive to price, whereas intelligent anytime. And some of the newer ones that come out are the first version of flexibility. So, by taking customers on that journey, they have to engage with energy, they have to engage in terms of use, so they have to place the control of the charger to us or the supplier, or both via that structure. And then they move to the first form of flexible energy, the second form, which is more supplier and DNO led, which is slower stuff.

 

[00:15:31.130] - David Watson

But we are currently working on quite a large. We have a large trial, sorry, the TSO driven trial with Octopus, ESO and a few of the DNOs. It's called CrowdFlex. And the whole purpose of that is to run a series of at scale tests to give the system operator confidence that actually the services that they will draw on are reliable. They want to understand the size of it but understand the reliability of it. Why is reliability and competence in dispatch important for them? Because if they look for that flexibility, either turn up and turn down and it's not there, then ultimately the system isn't balanced. And the impact of that not happening, or, sorry, not being balanced is quite catastrophic. They're cautious, as you said, they want to be sure that they can rely on that service. So I think we're in the middle of the first phase, which is, I think, where there's large benefits for our customers in the first phase, and the second one, which will unlock the next phase of benefits to drivers and end customers, is a bit slower.

 

[00:16:26.510] - Jon Slowe

Yeah, and we're certainly seeing the number of dynamic tariffs or type of use tariffs really starting to grow quickly in some markets. So, for customers, there's such an obvious use case to charge smartly using those tariffs. I think what we'll see going forward is some customers will want to be on dynamic tariffs, other customers won't like the risk of it and will prefer a flat tariff. But then the energy retailer can move load about and share some of that benefit with a customer through the structure of the flat tariff. I think in the next years, my view is it will vary slightly, country-to-country, depending on the regulations and market structure. But if you don't harness the flexibility of electric vehicles. As an energy retailer, you'll be out the market because you won't be able to compete.

 

[00:17:13.190] - David Watson

That's definitely the case in the UK. You can see that already between the octopus and a few more definitely led the way in that and all the other suppliers are actually having to respond, or they will, as you said, be out of the market. We are seeing early signs of more dynamic tariffs in the Benelux region, and that's driven by price volatility there and the opportunity to manage that. And the companies in the UK again, like Octopus, Nova, are expanding into Europe and expanding quite quickly, and that's driving change as well as, I think, the proliferation of rooftop solar. There's been massive growth in 2023 across Europe and the same 2024. So that will create more effectively supply demand volatility, which will ultimately lead in the benefit, which increases the benefit of moving load around and the value in time of use or type of use tariffs. So I agree 100% with you, Jon.

 

[00:18:07.390] - Jon Slowe

And to do that, you'll need to be able to communicate and you'll need good enough stable technology to manage that, or you need that combination of software and hardware, in your case, packaged in one company to be able to do that. David, you've got a couple of other hats that you wear. You're chief investment officer of an investment business, I think. And also, they've got a completely different hat with an orchard and producing cider in your home in Ireland. I wanted to ask you briefly, what's it like wearing three hats, and do they actually complement each other? So, are you, from your different experiences, does that help you in your business running Ohme?

 

[00:18:45.690] - David Watson

So, the investment hat is, while I was running that business effectively gave me the insights to come up with. I guess the idea for Ohme and then the connectivity that I had generated within the energy ecosystem was very helpful. Then when we launched our very first version of technology, we already knew some of the energy players and the people in the energy ecosystem. So that was very much, very much complementary on the early days. Now, looking at larger grid connected assets and strategies around that and understanding the energy plate kind of gives some insights into where energy may go on the distributed side. And then some of the things and the disruption that's happening on the distributed side informs how the investment business approaches some of the infrastructure projects. Because if you can see distributed assets may disrupt the energy markets, then you need to be thinking about that when you're making longer term infrastructure investments. So, there's some synergies over and back onboard. So, for me, they look different, but they actually provide just two different viewpoints of something that's very similar. The whole energy market is ultimately connected. It's getting distributed, but they're connected, and they're all energy flows.

 

[00:19:58.550] - David Watson

And the different types of assets provide different but similar services to the grid, and they impact each other. So, I think both those are extremely complementary. I mean, the cider business is a little bit more tenuous. That grew out of a passion for growing trees, and I've always loved growing trees. I mean, mostly planted local oak woods, tens of thousands of trees at this stage. And when I bought some land in Ireland, I just wanted to start growing some apple trees or cider apple trees with my dad, and then started making cider with my family, my dad, my cousin. And that kind of grew a life of its own. Now, from a personal base, it's a great relaxer. I just go out and spend all the time with my family and friends, and we get involved and do that. From a business perspective, that was the first insight I had on a consumer business. So, trying to figure out how you increase your profile and do that, because in the investment business, it's all B2B and large scale, so it's relatively low key.

 

[00:20:50.900] - Jon Slowe

Yeah okay.

 

[00:20:52.960] - David Watson

And you don't get to know it. So, we had to build a brand with a relatively meagre budget for the drinks business or cider business. And so, kind of figured out about social media and influencers and some trial and error, and that taught me how to, I guess, make the most of relatively limited marketing resources. So in the very early days with Ohme, we got to know some of the people who were very much interested in new tech and had already had large numbers of followers and stuff, and really engaged them, and they helped to elevate Ohme's brand and awareness on the early days. So, I guess that's how I could say that some of the things that I'd learned, our drinks business helped on the Ohme side, I'm not sure how Ohme or timbores are helping. My wife and cousin would argue that Ohme is taking all my focus, so it's not helpful anymore. It's a great family thing, and it's where loads of my passion is.

 

[00:21:54.710] - Jon Slowe

It's interesting you're hearing you talk about the B2C and the B2B part, because I think in the energy sector, there's lots of people who might look at the problems in balancing the grid, big batteries, batteries on wheels, and how the energy system can become more dense, decentralised more customer-centric. But I'm finding it's less common for people to bring real customer-centric thinking, entrepreneurialism, passion around customers to the energy transition, seeing it more and more. But that blend you have of, I guess, a small scale, your side of business, and having to think entrepreneurially about how you reach customers, brand what you're doing at Ohme, actually is a really good compliment.

 

[00:22:35.190] - David Watson

I hadn't really thought about it like that, but actually it makes a lot of sense. I mean, for me, I think that was one of the arguments or discussions I used to have with people from the energy industry at the start, they always thought that they always viewed customers as smaller versions of the existing assets they already had and thought that the flexibility was something theoretical that you turn on and off. And I always felt that actually, flexibility is a thing you get after you have made sure the customers get exactly what they want. And what they want is they want to be sure that the car is charged in the morning when they go out there. And two is they want the cheapest energy as convenient as possible. So, you have to solve those first three problems first, before you get flexibility. Because if you don't solve those problems, then you lose trust, you lose customers trust and their trust in the system. And if you do that, then there is no flexibility. It doesn't exist, because they would rather pay more to be sure that things happen.

 

[00:23:31.160] - Jon Slowe

To get what they want.

 

[00:23:32.720] - David Watson

So ultimately, in order to get what the grid wants, they need trust. And the other thing that I did is, I thought, believed, is if a customer plugs in once a week and gets all the charge, that's not much flexibility. What you want to do is encourage a customer to plug-in every day. So why would they do that? Well, they'll only do it if they realise it's beneficial and it trusts them. So, I guess there were beliefs that I had at the first end of the things that we, and I guess if you look around, the biggest brands and the biggest companies in the world, and all the newest biggest companies are all driven by companies that have a customer obsession with.

 

[00:24:05.300] - Jon Slowe

Exactly.

 

[00:24:05.680] - David Watson

Trying to make sure customer outcomes. And then the rest of the business seemed to look after itself. So I noticed that and then did more and more digging and then realised actually the through way, or it was my belief that if you become customer obsessed in every level, whether they're individual customers or B2B customer, that was ultimately the formula to build the biggest business and not be obsessed about the product, not be obsessed I mean, you have to be product obsessed. Second, and not just obsessed about the outcome you deliver, which is, oh yes, we get to balance the grid. It's not great. It starts first at the customer and say, how do we just make their life better and easier? And everything else flows from that.

 

[00:24:42.490] - Jon Slowe

Exactly. Everything has to be built around that customer experience, because if you don't get that right and you don't build that trust and that empathy, then it's very difficult to get anything else from that.

 

[00:24:52.970] - David Watson

That was the belief, and that's what we're trying to do. I think we don't get it right all the time, but we're doing our best to try and be better and better at it every day. And it's an iterative thing. And I think that helps because we are in the beginning of a transition, and it is going to continue to change. The services are going to change, what people want are going to change, the technology is going to change. And I think it's that mindset of customer obsession and continuous improvement, I think is what is required in order to actually unlock the potential that exists, which is a distributed connected grid at the end state. And the concept of what it can create and do is absolutely phenomenal. It is unlocking the value of the billions and billions of infrastructures that's already down in the ground. Just to unlock that. It's money for nothing for a system. If you work like that, then energy, your solar and wind provide the cheapest energy in the world, but they're not predictable and non-dispatchable. So that connected and that flexibility, if you can capture it, also unlocks that.

 

[00:25:57.200] - David Watson

And you put a bit of distributed batteries into the system and all of a sudden, we have an amazing system, but it has to start with making it easy and reliable for the customer.

 

[00:26:05.940] - Jon Slowe

Dave let's bring up the talking new energy crystal ball now. And I'm going to set the dial this week to 2030. And I think it might only be six years away, but let's hope in many markets, electric vehicles will be the norm amongst new car sales. And we'll have moved very much from the innovators and early adopters into the mass market. Can you tell us a bit about your vision? And I'll let you choose either for Ohme or EV charging at home in 2030, and just give us a little view from the future in 2030 of either EV charging at home or Ohme in that year.

 

[00:26:42.050] - David Watson

Well, I guess I'll talk a bit more about EV charging at home. I think it's easier as to what that looks like. And I'll break that down into, I guess, whether you're the mass market or early adopters, I think for the mass market, I can see a much more engaged customer that is going to be charging for very cheap, if not free and negative, at large numbers of periods of time. That's even before we get to V2G (Vehicle 2 Grid), even with simple, smart charging. And the reason is they will be able to, by providing their flexibility, they will be able to, one, unlock the cheapest energy, which is an extension of where we are now, but even bigger, provide reliable flexibility to the grid operators, and that will unlock another pool of benefit to the customers to unlock that at scale, while it doesn't seem like at home, it doesn't seem like much changes, but it'll actually fundamentally change at the design of the energy system and the money available to customers. So cheap, reliable charging, where the control is implicitly passed, the control of the devices based on trust is passed over to somebody else. I think we'll be pretty ubiquitous at that, because we'll already have very many millions of connected vehicles, and if we can get all those connected vehicles engaged, that is a huge amount of flexibility and value to the system.

 

[00:27:55.180] - David Watson

So that's at home for some of the more, I would say, early adopters of cutting-edge guys. They're going to be running the very early stages of a fully, I guess, connected prosumer, where we have elements of V2G, whether that's quite likely be ac that's at the beginning of that, plus home battery, solar, and really connected, and will be actually positively, in a meaningfully way, get positive returns for themselves to do it. So they really are a prosumer into the new energy system.

 

[00:28:25.080] - Jon Slowe

So they're not just getting charging for very low cost or zero, they're getting more than that because of...

 

[00:28:31.320] - David Watson

They're generating money from their assets, which ultimately are their car battery and solar panels, and the whole thing is connected and they're much more dynamic. But I don't believe by 2030 that they will exist in huge numbers, because actually there's lots of regulatory and behavioural and software barriers to pass through to make that happen at scale. But you'll have reasonably decent numbers of those customers or those types of people, I guess, paving the way for the larger number of people to follow afterwards. So that's kind of what 2030 looks like.

 

[00:29:02.360] - Jon Slowe

Maybe those early adopters, what you described there, that's a wave that we'll see in the 2030s. Then, as that starts to move to the more mainstream markets.

 

[00:29:11.210] - David Watson

I think it'll happen quite quickly, but just in four years’ time....

 

[00:29:14.880] - Jon Slowe

It's not long to go, is it?

 

[00:29:16.480] - David Watson

Not long to go. And the reality is, for a lot of the stuff that I talked about, there's regulatory changes need to happen for that to happen at scale. So, the regulatory changes that are required for what I talked about, the real connected mass market, people participating in flexibility and unlocking that first tranche of value to make super cheap, charging a thing for pretty much everyone who has got, who can charge at home. I think that can be done in four years, but I don't know if prosumer is the right word, but the real connected person that's generating huge amounts of money from their assets needs. There needs to be hardware development, software development, regulatory development, and market development.

 

[00:30:02.230] - Jon Slowe

Quite a few things to get right, isn't it?

 

[00:30:03.920] - David Watson

Yeah. Across multiple brands and multiple things. There's lots of things for that to be a scale. So there will be people probably listening to this and always already saying, I'm doing a version of that now because I'm using my home assistant and locking, connecting up a number of different apps and pieces of hardware in order to maximise their own return. But to turn it into a real mass market consumer proposition where average, everyday people who are not technologically engaged can actually participate in that will take a little bit longer. But the first step, the simple one, the mass adoption of people engaged with the current dynamic tariffs and indirectly participating in flex will unlock. It's going to be a game changer for the system that even if we do get. I think getting there by 2030 is something most people wouldn't have imagined was possible. It was certainly the energy system wouldn't have imagined was possible four or five years ago.

 

[00:30:54.470] - Jon Slowe

Well, there's some great quotes about the rate inflexion points or the hockey stick moment in a curve. It always takes longer to get to that hockey stick moment than people thought. But when it happens, it always happens more quickly than people thought it would happen. And I think we're right in that hockey stick moment of V2G.

 

[00:31:11.350] - David Watson

Anyway, to my mind, we're definitely on it and we're on the kink. So the change each year is phenomenal and it's accelerating, I think. Exciting.

 

[00:31:19.250] - Jon Slowe

Well, an exciting place for you and Ohme to be. Dave, thanks very much for your time and sharing your thoughts and experiences with us today. Really enjoyed the conversation and best of luck in the next years as you continue to scale and grow. Thanks to everyone for listening. We hope you enjoyed the episode and look forward to welcoming you back next week. Thanks, and goodbye.

 

[00:31:40.100] - Sandra Trittin

Thanks for tuning in. We are excited to bring you captivating conversations from the leading edge of Europe's energy transition. If you've got suggestions for topics or guests for future episodes, please let us know.

 

[00:31:51.890] - Jon Slowe

And if you're enjoying the podcast, then please do rate it and share it with colleagues. For show notes, transcripts, and more, please visit lcpdelta.com.

 

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