Mercedes Benz? No, my (electric) car is a Scottish Power

Written by Philip Armstrong, Account Director, Energy

The announcement by Scottish Power of the “UK’s first” end-to-end renewable powered electric vehicle (EV) service is the latest demonstration of the radical shifts and convergence underway between two sectors – energy and transport.

Scottish Power joins a growing number of energy suppliers in offering a range of EV services, from special tariffs to smart charging infrastructure and apps. Other suppliers include challenger brands such as Good Energy and Ecotricity up to more established players such as E.On.

However, the company is going beyond simply offering bespoke services for EVs. It is providing customers with the opportunity to purchase the EV itself (through a partnership with car retailer Arnold Clark). This innovative integrated combination of energy and transport, or mobility services, is a model that increasingly we will see across both sectors as companies – from start-ups to multinationals – seek to capture market share in a rapidly decarbonising economy.

From traditional energy companies offering EVs to car manufacturers offering battery storage, the lines between the two sectors are fast disappearing. The competition is fierce as they compete to offer customers the simplest, most comprehensive packages of products and services.

Active customer engagement is the key

Engaging active customers is the key here. Energy and mobility companies are banking on these integrated packages to build an engaged customer base and be able to sell a wider range of services, including beyond EVs.

This is especially true for energy companies looking to market domestic renewables, smart home or demand response services. A customer who has an EV, smart charger and app-controlled tariff is more likely to engage with services that could help better manage their energy, save costs or make money (such as vehicle-to-grid power).

The challenge to establish such integrated energy and mobility services is to communicate to customers – from domestic consumers to commercial businesses – in a way that encourages action.

Innovative services need innovative communication

Clear and compelling information with an emphasis on how simple it is for the customer is a crucial starting point. EVs require a degree of consumer action far greater than conventional cars and so it must be clear why they should act, how they will benefit and how little effort it requires.

On its own this will not be enough. Companies need to go beyond marketing through the business and consumer pages or on their website and reach out directly. What about publically accessible demonstration points, high-profile consumer champions, features in Top Gear magazine or discussions on mumsnet?

Creating the innovative services is great, but without active consumer engagement, the risk is that a plethora of different packages, services and tariffs results in the same consumer confusion and apathy seen in the market for switching energy suppliers.

If you are interested in Future Mobility and what it means for you and your organisation please drop us a line, we would be delighted to speak and see how we might be able to help tell your story.