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SCP E204 Summer Series: Convergence of Energy, Infrastructure and Transport, with Carola Jonas

Hi #smartcommunity friends! Welcome back to the Summer Series here on the Smart Community Podcast. As a reminder, we’re taking a little break from new content over The Australian summer holidays, and instead we are sharing the replays of a few of our all time favourite episodes. This week is my interview from 2018 with Carola Jonas, the CEO and Co-Founder of Everty, who build software for electric vehicle charging. This interview was Episode 65 when we were still called the Smart City Podcast so you’ll hear more references to Smart City than Smart Community. 

In this episode, Carola tells us about her background in logistics and freight and how her passion for clean tech has led her to the Smart City space, as well as the convergence of trends that make it so important. We talk about some of the impacts of energy infrastructure and transport coming together in a digital sense, and Carola then talks about some of the leading initiatives happening in Australia. She shares what Everty does and what they are doing in the Smart City Space, as well as some learnings from around the world, including how to increase uptake of EVs and getting the infrastructure ready. We have a little bit of a chat about demand on the energy grid, and finish talking about connected and automated vehicles integrating into our public infrastructure, and examples we can learn from in the adoption of EVs and other mobility options around the world.

I also have an update from Carola. She says she is doing well and has had an interesting year in 2020 as we all have. There isn’t too much that has changed since we recorded this episode, other than the Everty software getting better and better. We’ll be sure to get her back on the show in the future for a full update. But in the meantime, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Carola’s background in logistics and freight and how her passion for clean tech has led her to the Smart City space
  • What a Smart City is to Carola and the convergence of trends that make it so important
  • How Australia is embracing the Smart City concept and the electric vehicle space more specifically
  • What Everty does and how their work fits into the Smart City space
  • The key concepts and policies we need to get right to be ready for an increase in uptake of EVs
  • How Canberra is leading the way with electric car infrastructure planning
  • Challenges and opportunities for our energy grid management that we need to consider to service EV demand
  • How mobility and transport need to change going forward to reduce congestion and increase efficiency
  • Examples we can learn from in the adoption of EVs and other mobility options around the world

Quotes:

“I’ve always had a bit of a passion for doing something that benefits the planet, because if you look at the Great Barrier Reef or the fantastic Kimberley region, all this lovely nature that we have in Australia, I think it’s really important that we preserve that for future generations. Keeping our cities clean and the rest of the planet is a big passion of mine.”

“In the traditional Smart City space, there’s a lot of talk about connectivity and that we have intelligent systems that help us be more efficient…but also it’s about what we do in the city, how we can, as a society, create value for each other.”

“I think what we’re already seeing is a convergence of a couple of trends: energy and infrastructure and transportation is all coming together through the electrification of cars and other transport systems. We are also seeing a lot of digitalisation. All these systems need to connect and interact with each other to be really Smart and allow us to use them to their full potential.”

“If you look at the way mobility is going to change in the future, there’s a lot that cities are already doing and there’s a lot where cities can become more integral parts of how we are bringing people, energy and infrastructure together.”

“We all know that the future is electric and that [electric cars] will be coming to our cities sooner or later, but we haven’t yet sorted out the infrastructure that is needed.”

“We could benefit from better policy making on a Federal and state level [regarding electric vehicles] to really allow us to grow that sector. At the moment the car manufacturers don’t see Australia as the preferred market with a lot of demand, so they bring their cars to other markets first.”

“At the moment, EVs are still more expensive when you buy them. The initial purchase price is just higher than a normal petrol car. They do have a lot lower maintenance and operational costs. So what a lot of countries have done is they have incentivised or subsidised that people buy electric cars, because they see the long term benefit of these cars.”

“One thing that is probably not just a problem for transport or for electric vehicles in Australia, but sometimes there is a bit of playing ball between Federal and State Governments, and so no one really wants to take the leap. I think we could have more progressive policies and incentives for EVs. And the goal there would be to see incentives or see signals from the Federal Government to then trickle down to State.”

“The emerging trends that we need to actually act on and not just talk about is how mobility and transport will change. And that includes obviously Mobility and Transport as a Service, but also the integration of different transport solutions. And especially with the rise of autonomous cars.”

“[Electric vehicles] create less air pollution, less noise, and if we could also work on the congestion problem that we have in big cities, then we will definitely have a more liveable and more enjoyable city.”

“We’re building buildings that are meant to last at least 70 years, and in 70 years most cars will be electric. So why not put the right infrastructure in, rather than trying to wait and see if we can do it later? Because later is always more costly.”

“If we can improve the time that we commute but also the way we commute, more convenient…there’s so many things we can use our time more productively.”

Connect:

Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Carola via LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook or check out the Everty website everty.com.au

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community 

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.

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