Melanie Lane – CEO of NewMotion
Since it was founded over 10 years ago, NewMotion has been a pioneer in electric vehicle movement, providing EV drivers with easy-to-use smart charging solutions, connected to the largest network of Europe. In 2017, Shell, a leading global energy company, acquired NewMotion in a deal that helps both companies accelerate the transition to low-carbon transport.
What is the ambition for your industry and organisation in relation to energy transition?
In step with society, Shell laid out its vision to be net zero by 2050, and e-mobility is at the core of that. As an organisation, Shell has deep experience in energy and energy management, supply chains, value chains, and also in mobility. As we move through the energy transition, this intersection of power and mobility is hugely important – it’s one of the early, and urgent, parts of the transition that must be addressed. NewMotion is bang in the middle of that. A need for the capabilities to tackle that part of the energy transition is part of the reason Shell acquired NewMotion and Greenlots in North America. Shell aims to be a key partner in the energy transition, playing its role in a wide ecosystem of stakeholders. My remit is to help build this ecosystem.
What role do consumer-owned devices play in the future electricity landscape?
It’s huge: we’re looking at 30 million electric vehicles being on the road in the next decade. We’re going to need three million public charge points to serve that, and around 260 million home chargers. On the back of that, there’ll be a massive increase in power demand. Meeting this demand with clean energy will require a lot of flexibility in the grid, as renewable energy sources are volatile. Accessing flexible power from consumer-owned devices, like electric vehicles, will play an important role in this balancing act, but to get there we need consumers and businesses to help us build a new ecosystem that can provide the flexibility and responsiveness we need.
“We need to build the right connectivity and software solutions for consumers to play their role in managing peak load. By working with the grid and aggregators, and building simple interfaces for consumers, you can start to bring everything together and make a difference. We develop product solutions in-house and through partnerships like Equigy.”
– MELANIE LANE, CEO OF NEWMOTION
How do you prepare your organisation for the required change?
Part of the preparation is to build organic scale rapidly by layering in the capabilities and the depth needed to meet demand. And part is about inorganic investing – for example, we had NewMotion and Greenlots early on, and now Shell has acquired ubitricity. There’s constant tension between these two requirements. We need to make the most of capability and innovation that’s already in the market, integrate that, and come together as a set of entities to deliver together.
How do you engage consumers in this change?
We run one of the largest driver surveys across Europe once a year, so that’s one part of it. From this we know there’s a high level of engagement around smart charging. The appetite is there, the need is real. These insights help to guide the charging solutions we develop, both in-house and through partnerships with organisations like Equigy. We need to build the right connectivity and software solutions for consumers to play their role in managing peak load. By working with the grid and aggregators, and building simple interfaces for consumers, you can start to bring everything together and make a difference.
What are the biggest challenges in relation to sector coupling?
Partnering is challenging; it’s complex for companies and sectors to collaborate as they seek ways to decarbonize. This is where we can play a role, by acting as a bridge to find solutions across all aspects of that ecosystem. I feel optimistic that cross-sector collaboration will grow. We still need a lot to change, in terms of regulations and incentives, but we’re heading in the right direction. We’re way past the tipping point.
“The ripples of the things we do far exceed the time we’re here.”
– MELANIE LANE, CEO OF NEWMOTION
What is the biggest change we will have accomplished by 2035?
Imagine living in a world with emission-free driving and emission-free sectors. I mean, that’s awesome! It took 100 years to build an energy system based on hydrocarbons, and now we’re using technology, innovation, and collaboration to create a new clean energy ecosystem in a fraction of that time. That’s historic, right? It’s really something to get out of bed for every day. If we’ve reached a space where we have integrated green power and the flexibility we need to properly integrate power and mobility, and if consumers and businesses really engage with and feel accountable for their consumption – that’s a huge change.
What does the energy transition mean to you?
It’s about legacy. The ripples of the things we do far exceed the time we’re here. I want to do something that’s at the heart of the way communities and people live and has impact for our amazing planet.
To increase a broader awareness of the changing energy and industry landscape in relation to the energy transition and use of distributed energy resources to provide services to the grid, we are engaging interviews with a series of frontrunners, visionaries, innovators, and thinkers from the various stakeholders’ roles who can help us visualise and reveal all the: Changing Perspectives
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