Green.org sat down with Adrian Fielden-Gray Founder of Be.EV, to learn about his passion for creating a business that is a force for social good. Adrian founded Be.EV, the largest EV charging network across Greater Manchester, and is expanding at pace across the north of England in order to make charging simple, reliable and effortless.
Adrian, thank you for being here. Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I started my career in infrastructure finance, working in the PFI/PPP market. Then I moved to Sky Sports where I did acquisitions, syndication and business development. But I wanted to pursue my passion for sustainability. My dad has had his own business for 30 years, so entrepreneurship has always been in my DNA. Be.EV was the perfect venture to scratch both of my itches – to create a business that’s a force for social good, and to build something from the ground up that I can look back on and be proud of. During the 2020 lockdown, Asif (Ghafoor, now Be.EV’s CEO) and I set up Iduna – a development company that uses data and technology to deliver socially balanced and sustainable UK infrastructure. Whilst the world was on pause, we worked hard to build our business. Then we won the contract for EV charging and Be.EV was born 18 months ago. Since then, the business has been flying. We’ve been fundraising, collaborating and growing our EV charging network – it’s an exciting time!
What is a fun fact about you?
This summer, to stress test Europe’s public EV charging infrastructure, I went on a 2500km round trip to the south of France in my EV, with my wife and our seven-month-old baby. I wanted to show how a trip like that could be done without flying and the pollution that entails.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
Compared to even five years ago, there’s been a huge shift in awareness of how we’re impacting the planet. Climate change and sustainability live in our collective consciousness now. We’re all familiar with the vocabulary to discuss it. It impacts the choices we make about where we shop, how we travel and the jobs we apply for. We have a responsibility to do something positive for the next generation. Global conversations at events like COP27 and large corporations making big sustainability commitments are encouraging. However, there’s also an urgent need for change in people’s behaviours, but they can only do that if you give them the tools. One of those tools is a vast EV charging network that empowers people to transition to EVs. That’s our mission at Be.EV!
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
In 10 years’ time, there will be a huge network of public EV charging across the country. Today, the EV charging space is in its infancy. Only 2% of the vehicles on the road are EVs. But that number is increasing constantly. We need to make decisions today so we can build an EV charging network that meets future demand. When the industry matures and the infrastructure is in place, it’ll be exciting to explore how we further improve the customer experience. Tech and data analytics already play a key role in understanding customer behaviour and optimising the service we provide – with more and more drivers using an ever-bigger network, this will become even more powerful.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Bring us your sites! Everyone can take an active role in the EV charging revolution. Right now, it’s a chicken and egg situation: people won’t use EVs until they’re confident in the charging infrastructure, but new EV charging sites are only built when there’s demand. Buying an EV isn’t possible for everyone. But everyone can propose new sites. For Be.EV members, we run competitions where people can suggest new site locations. This helps us prepare for the future, making more people comfortable with switching to EVs.
Adrian, thank you for sharing your passion for creating a business that is a force for social good.
Dylan Welch is the CEO and Host of Going Green, a podcast, website, and social media brand that highlights renewable energy, cleantech, and sustainable news.