Our Automotive Sector group hosted a fantastic event – “Future Opportunities with the Electric Vehicle Revolution” - in conjunction with London Tech Week. The firm’s first hybrid event took place in the London office on 23 September 2021.
Our Automotive Sector group hosted a fantastic event — “Future Opportunities with the Electric Vehicle Revolution” — in conjunction with London Tech Week. The firm’s first hybrid event took place in the London office on 23 September 2021. A panel of leading industry figures joined the team to discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by the growing electric vehicle (EV) market.
Our panel of expert automotive speakers included:
The discussion ranged from covering innovative technology and driving a sustainable and green future, to the challenges of the current infrastructure and the need for Government intervention.
The UK is set to ban the sale of new combustion engine vehicles in 2030, fuelling the transition to electric transport. This is considered to be an ambitious goal, but progress is underway. The electric revolution is an exciting switch to a sustainable and net zero future and one that is being widely embraced. Jordan Brompton, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of myenergi commented that, “The level of growth that we have seen has proven that the conscious shift has happened in the masses”. We are seeing an abundance of opportunities arise from the move to electric, which is undoubtedly facilitating that growth.
“This is the biggest transition we are going to see on our roads, in a generation, in a lifetime”. Fiona Howarth — CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles
Fiona Howarth, a leading force in the EV revolution talked about the opportunities arising from the switch, including innovative home-charging technology, commenting that “70% of us drivers can charge at home, just like your mobile phone”. Fiona explored the opportunities around pre-booking charging points, battery passports to help with residual value, and the opportunities around power sourcing and the grid. For Fiona, the switch to electric is an opportunity to ensure we still have great manufacturing capability here in the UK, saying: “all of this innovation, we can develop here, now”.
“We are optimising the driving experience based on the advantages an electric vehicle can give you” - Mark Stringer, Director of Strategic Planning and Partnerships at Lotus Cars
Mark Stringer shared his views on the acceleration of EVs and how manufacturers like Lotus are now thinking about how this translates to a sports car. For Mark, “as soon as you drive an electric car, you just get this ease of driveability. The customer experience is wonderful. For sports cars, it can be a bit different because people have that emotional connection with the engine”. Mark sees the electric revolution as an opportunity which Lotus and other manufacturers are embracing. He commented on the value of power delivery with all the sustainable benefits.
“I have a lot of frustrations” — Darren Wilson — Associate Director of Linehaul and Transport at DPD
The switch to an electric future does not come without its challenges. Darren Wilson talked about his frustrations with the current state of play. Darren confirmed “we [DPD] made a commitment this year to never buy a diesel van again” but Darren’s frustrations lie with the higher cost of buying into the electric market, the lack of UK-based manufacturers, and the speed of deployment. A renowned expert in the EV market, Dr Andy Palmer, CEO of Switch Mobility and former CEO of Aston Martin, talked about the higher cost of the EV being associated with the battery, commenting: “40 or 50% of the cost of the vehicle is in the battery”. However, production costs are set to reduce, with EVs projected to be cheaper to produce than fossil fuel vehicles by 2027, according to BloombergNEF.
The panel also discussed the challenges around the infrastructure and, in particular, the need for more chargers and gigafactories here in the UK. Dr Andy Palmer and Darren Wilson talked about the lack of chargers in the north of the UK compared to the south and the need to level up. However, Fiona Howarth shed light on the progress that the UK has made, making the point that the number of public charge points doubled in recent years.
Commenting on the only gigafactory in the UK, Dr Andy Palmer talked about the threat of car manufacturing moving overseas if we fail to invest in the industry more, suggesting the UK needs six factories before 2030. Talking numbers, Dr Andy Palmer seemed sceptical: “300/350 million euros per factory, we have got five to build, do the math. We are not even a drop in the ocean”. For Mark Stringer, “if you have got the gigafactories, you keep the car factories you have got around us, and maybe you grow some more as well.”
The current challenge for Jordan Brompton is the global chip shortage, which is estimated to go on until 2023. myenergi manufactures renewable energy products here in the UK and has had to redesign its products so that they work with a new type of chip. This demonstrates that despite the challenges, manufacturers are simply being more innovative and strategic during this transition to electric.
“If you are going to show leadership, buy the cars” — Dr Andy Palmer, CEO of Switch Mobility and former CEO of Aston Martin
The panel discussed what the Government needs to do in tackling the present challenges. The consensus among the panel was that the UK needs to invest in and support new innovative technology; invest in people and skills; offer greater incentives; improve the infrastructure by increasing the number of charging points; and build more gigafactories.
Dr Andy Palmer commented that it is for Government to “set very clear targets but let the scientists engineer and innovate around how they solve those targets”. The UK needs to be at the forefront of banning carbon-burning technologies.
“20 years from now I would expect to see what is sometimes is dubbed a ‘flying car’” — Dr Andy Palmer
When asked to comment on what the automotive sector looks like in 20 years, the panellists see a future featuring the likes of “robotaxies”, “flying cars” and “super-Ubers”.
Fiona predicts zero emission and autonomous vehicles with potentially “a lot more parking tickets”.
From an energy perspective, Jordan Brompton would love to see more renewable energy in homes. She sees the energy space changing in an exciting way where people can get clever at charging.
For Dr Andy Palmer, one of the key solutions “is the ability to live almost anywhere in the country and be able to commute autonomously quite quickly”. Sharing his predictions, Andy expects to see robo-taxis in 4 years’ time, moving to solid state batteries and level 4 autonomy in ten years’ time and, tantalisingly, flying cars in 20 years’ time…
In this session, we examined the legal framework around grant funded collaborations and discussed the key risks to be aware of, including IP ownership and compliance with grant terms.
Below are some of the questions we are regularly asked by startups, covering a range of topic areas.
UK law firm Browne Jacobson, which opened its first overseas office in Dublin in September, has outlined its strategic plans to grow its legal team over the next four years.
Bishopsgate Corporate Finance and law firm Browne Jacobson have jointly advised on the acquisition of award-winning tech solutions business, Custard Technical Services by US managers services and cyber security provider, Thrive.
In the ongoing complex litigation between Optis Cellular Technology LLC and Apple Inc., the Court of Appeal ( EWCA Civ 1411) has upheld the High Court’s findings that implementers of standard-essential patents (SEPs) cannot refuse to accept a FRAND license and continue activities in the meantime which constitute infringement: that party must commit to accept a court-determined license if it wishes to avoid an injunction.
The war on plastic is being taken to a new level, and businesses that don’t consider sourcing recycled packaging materials could face costly implications.
Earlier in the year a number of fashion retailers, boldly announced the introduction of a charging fee for returning any product purchased via their online store. Yet, despite this commercial, and perhaps somewhat controversial decision, at least one major fashion giant that adopted this approach has recorded ‘historic highs’ in its September profits. Browne Jacobson partner, Cat Driscoll who heads up the firm’s commercial team in Manchester and is also head of its Fashion & Beauty sector discusses whether this change has put the average consumer off and whether the days of free returns are long gone.
Logistics company Eddie Stobart has been fined £133,000, after a series of failures which took place whilst excavation work was carried out, exposing its staff to asbestos.
A deepfake of Bruce Willis is advertising Russian mobile phones. Many great artistic and metaphysical questions are raised by this performance. However, this article is going to look at the intellectual property law implications, from a UK perspective.
The Digital Services Act (the “DSA”) has today (27 October) been given the go-ahead by the EU Council and will enter into force by early 2024.
The fashion industry has a mountain to climb when it comes to sustainability. More than 8% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the apparel and footwear industries, and approaching three-fifths of all clothing ends up in incinerators or landfill within a year of being made.
Created at the end of the Brexit transition period, Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law that consists of EU-derived legislation retained in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was never intended to be a permanent arrangement as parliament promised to deal with retained EU law through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”).
Browne Jacobson’s corporate technology dealmakers have advised Agilico, a workplace technology business, on its acquisition of Capital Document Solutions Limited for an undisclosed amount.
The increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionising the way businesses operate and is having a disruptive impact in sectors that have traditionally been slow to modernise.
The Chancellor’s recent mini-budget provided a significant announcement for business as it was confirmed that the off-payroll working rules (known as “IR35”) put in place for public and private sector businesses from 2017 and 2021 will be scrapped from April 2023.
It was reported in May 2022 that the BMW-owned manufacturer had been forced to put a temporary stop on the production of all manual transmission vehicles due to the global semi-conductor shortage and the war in Ukraine. Mini stated that the move was made in order to "ensure production stability".
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has published a consultation on proposals to require Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) administering authorities (AAs) in England and Wales to assess, manage and report on climate change risks.
Browne Jacobson’s specialist cleantech lawyers have advised AIM listed Clean Power Hydrogen Group Limited (CPH2) on its licence agreement with Bentec GmbH, a member of the Kenera business of the KCA Deutag Group. Kenera will manufacture CPH2’s unique membrane-free electrolysers from its facility in Bad Bentheim, Germany.
Browne Jacobson’s corporate finance lawyers have advised leading mid-market private equity firm, LDC and management on the sale of specialist managed IT services provider, Littlefish to Bowmark Capital.
The Digital Markets Act (the “DMA”) joins the dots between competition law and data protection law and actively targets data-driven platforms. It is also a comprehensive regulation to take note of, with familiar GDPR-style fines tied to turnover.