Making electrification a reality: our new partnership with Lotus

Carl Bayliss

By Carl Bayliss
Vice President, Mobility and HEM, Centrica

Making electrification a reality: our new partnership with Lotus

Earlier this month we announced an exciting new partnership to redesign electric vehicle ownership with British motor manufacturer, Lotus.

The partnership marks a break-through moment for the automotive and energy industry. Our two industries have been working together, side by side, for the last 10 years since EVs first came to the market. New electric product launches, such as the Lotus Evija, give us the opportunity to bring together these adjacent markets and create a single, integrated experience for customers looking to make the most of electric vehicles.  

For automotive companies, the EV challenge is two-fold. Firstly, you need to bring your vehicle to market, engaging with customers and their lifestyles to make the product relevant. Secondly, you need to provide an overall package that delivers a clever way of managing customers’ energy ecosystems, delivering a seamless and convenient EV experience.

That’s where Centrica comes in. Centrica Mobility Ventures has recently secured a series of new partnerships that support car manufacturers, including Lotus, and dealer networks by providing a bespoke EV enablement package. This typically includes everything from charging infrastructure to back office support and energy management solutions; we also provide consultative expertise.

Why do people choose to collaborate with us to make electrification a reality? Scale and expertise. We serve over 26 million customers globally through brands like British Gas and Hive and we therefore have an unparalleled insight into energy use in the home. As the worlds of mobility and the home continue to collide and integrate when it comes to energy, we can leverage our expertise as an international energy services and solutions company to inspire and innovate with car manufacturers.

Simply put, we get what customers want and how we can work with others to make it happen. Purchasing an EV isn’t just a decision about how people want to move around – it’s a key part of increasingly digital and decarbonised lifestyles. To make this workable, you need something we call ‘connected customer, connected car, connected home’. This is driven by cutting-edge technology and an open flow of data and information that is making intelligent decisions on behalf of the customer, behind the scenes.

This is one of four exciting work streams planned with Lotus. Alongside looking at the development of a seamless customer journey that unlocks the potential of what a connected customer, car and home could look like, we’ll also be looking at:

(a) Fulfilling an infrastructure and deployment plan. We will be assessing and future-proofing the EV charging infrastructure across Lotus’ dealer network. This will include integrating this network into any home charging propositions.

(b) Harnessing our respective brands and capabilities. We will be bringing together experts, senior leadership teams and board members to discuss areas of collaboration between organisations and showcase how we can drive forward our vision of a unique EV customer lifestyle.

(c) Supporting Lotus’ decarbonisation strategy by facilitating a sustainability programme that leverages innovative and low carbon technologies. This will look at how we can mitigate the environmental impact of everything from manufacturing through to sales, marketing and the day-to-day activities of Lotus employees – or as the team smartly refer to themselves, ‘Us Lot’.

Partnerships like these are key to supporting our overall goal: to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport, businesses and home. We know we can’t do it alone.

We also know that the decarbonisation of transport is only set to intensify, driven by geopolitics and changing customer priorities. With the likes of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion demanding more change at greater pace, we expect to see timeframes for the road to ‘net-zero’ shorten.

Organisations like Lotus are acutely aware of these macro shifts and recognise the seismic impact it is having on the automotive industry. Launching products like the Evija – the first all-electric British hypercar - marks a significant statement of intent and the beginning of a new chapter in Lotus’ story. And it’s not just a step-change for them. As Lotus cements its position as a world leader in high-performance, advanced technology automotive manufacturing, here at Centrica we are continuing our transition to a services and solutions organization.

The partnership will support the rollout of a new generation of electric vehicles and more broadly deliver a first-class, strategic programme of activity, delivering continued growth for our collective businesses – at the forefront of converging traditional industries.

But what excites me most about this partnership is the scale of the ambition between our two organisations. Every time we come together, we come up with new ideas about the art of the possible.

Collaborations with companies like Lotus are all about bringing these ideas to reality, and by combining our cutting-edge technology with compelling customer products, we’re delivering an electrification strategy that could define both our industries as we move into a new, greener reality.   

To find out more about how we are working with Lotus to redesign electric vehicle ownership watch this interview with Amanda Stretton, Sustainable Transport Editor at Centrica.