The Automotive Revolution – The Accelerated Rise in New Technology

white car charging
Photo by Rathaphon Nanthapreecha on Pexels.com

Senior SEO manager at heycar, Charlie Howes, spoke to Green.Org about the future of the automotive industry.

Hi Charlie, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’ve always advocated systems thinking, intending to be efficient and effective at scale. That’s the common thread between everything I’ve been part of or focused on in the past, whether playing in a sports team at school, studying climate change at university, or currently working as an SEO. They all rely on individual components working effectively together within larger systems.

I studied climate science at university but finished at the height of the UK financial crisis when, unfortunately, most entry-level sustainability roles disappeared! At the time, Spain was also going through heavy austerity measures.

I joined a renewable energy software solutions company called Isotrol in Sevilla through a funding programme focused on providing graduates with the opportunity to get relevant experience. I eventually found a niche & passion for search engine optimisation. Isotrol designated me as their website manager; this is where my foundational knowledge on working with websites started.

Since then, I’ve built, managed and optimised over 30 websites in-house and for clients. Now I work for a multi-national online car marketplace called heycar.co.uk when the automotive industry is going through a seismic shift from combustion engines to electric cars.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?

I also run and co-own an events business with my sisters’ called Nude Life, specialising in life drawing classes.

Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?

It worries me that we still ask this question! I was being asked this question at university in 2008 when then I was still shocked that there were large proportions of the world that didn’t face the facts. The reasons why it is an important topic are endless; I don’t even know where to begin. The warmest seven years in history have all been since 2015; the top three are 2016, 2019 and 2020. Climate change is affecting every country on every continent now, and the impacts will only worsen. It disrupts national economies and affects millions of lives, likely to be billions in the future. The consequences will only worsen, even if we meet our climate goals.

What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?

The automotive sector is on the path to experiencing a revolution. This is being driven by the introduction of global and local sustainability policies, the accelerated rise in new technologies, including electrification and autonomous driving, and changing consumer preferences around ownership. In addition, leading car manufacturers are starting to invest heavily in new, sustainable technologies. Volkswagen announced a €75bn investment in electric cars, software-based vehicle operating systems and self-driving technologies and has plans to roll out 75 completely new electric models and 60 hybrid vehicles. Electric cars are finally becoming viable and competitive, although the speed of adoption will vary at the local level. The industry is also grappling with numerous global supply issues, such as a worldwide semi-conductor crisis and the recent impact of the devastating war in Ukraine. Economic factors, such as inflation, will also slow adoption and increase car prices for consumers over the coming years.

What can the average person do to make a difference?

Consume less. I think we’re all guilty of consuming more than we need. Conserving resources is good for everybody, especially the planet. Reduce water usage. Use less electricity. Eat less meat.

Thanks Charlie for sharing your vision on the future of the automotive industry.

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Charlie Bingham
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