Interview with Adrian Keen, CEO, InstaVolt
What role have you played in InstaVolt’s journey?
I joined InstaVolt as CFO in 2017 and was appointed CEO in August 2019. During my time with the business, our growth has rocketed, as we’ve secured high profile partnership deals with international brands including McDonald’s Restaurants, KFC and Costa Coffee. In the past five years InstaVolt has not only added 1,000 rapid and ultra-rapid electric vehicle chargers to the UK’s charging infrastructure, but we’ve been voted as the Nation’s favourite public charging network for 4 consecutive years, meaning we’re delivering on customer expectations, too.
We’re working relentlessly to ensure we’re installing as many chargers as possible to create robust and reliable infrastructure – in the right location with amenities to suit drivers – to ensure the country is equipped to meet the government’s 2030 target.
What does it take to become a major player in this market?
In my view, InstaVolt has been successful because of our focus on the consumer experience. From being the first in the UK to offer simple contactless payment, to upholding our reputation for best-in-class reliability, and partnering with brands such as those listed above which offer great facilities, every decision we’ve made has been to give consumers confidence in making the switch to electric.
What is your major focus in the market today?
Our core objective is to grow the network whilst staying true to our values with respect to the customer journey. We have set a target of 10,000 public rapid chargers by 2032 so there’s plenty to do!
With recent change of ownership what has changed in your business objectives?
EQT have been a brilliant partner to us, and they support our vision and share our ambition.
In this next phase of InstaVolt’s growth we’ll be exploring international opportunities, starting with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as accelerating our growth in the UK. EQT are 100% behind us in growing faster, thinking bigger and serving more drivers.
Your successes as they happened.
The first charger going into the ground in September 2017 was a moment to remember, and we’ve certainly grown since then!
There have been many highlights, but I’m particularly proud of our partnerships with our food and beverage partners including Costa Coffee and McDonald’s Restaurants, and our motorway hub on Junction 11 of the M40 near Banbury (recently expanded to 16 chargers!). Dominating the Zap-Map driver survey for the last four years is also something I’m incredibly proud of, as it shows our efforts are appreciated.
What benefits of certain arrangements from your past projects would you highlight?
Our Partner-Landlords love how we take care of everything- and they can focus on running their business. They’re benefiting from increased footfall as well as income from day 1.
They’re also pleased that we continue to offer customers the best experience. Delivering uptime in excess of 99% means disgruntled drivers aren’t going into the shops, restaurant or coffee shop on site and complaining to the staff. We just make it easy.
What are the biggest issues for electric vehicle charging in the UK today?
Confidence is the key to mass EV adoption, this includes confidence that the public charging infrastructure is reliable and capable as more people transition to electric vehicles.
Myths surrounding reliability, range anxiety and accessibility to EV charging points have been among the key barriers to entry for consumers when it comes to purchasing EVs, but with an influx of private investment, charging networks across the UK are significantly scaling up operations, improving functionality and increasing charge points throughout the country, combating such myths.
What else should we be discussing at the EV Charging Infrastructure AC, DC, V1G, V2G Focus Day and Ambassadors’ Day #EVCI2022 next month?
Consumers are getting behind the EV transition, but fleets still have a significant role to play too. It would be good to tackle some of their concerns and give them confidence that public charging isn’t the barrier that they perceive it to be.
Can industry collaboration help unlock these opportunities?
Of course, and there is a lot of that already. Everyone in the EV space is working to achieve the same goal, and partnerships and collaboration opportunities are plentiful. Just look at our recent partnership with Mina, which allows Mina’s fleet customers access to the InstaVolt network while charging their company EVs on the road.
How can we help electric vehicle infrastructure achieve its potential in the next 5 years?
While the rate of growth in infrastructure in the UK is encouraging, and institutional landowners and big brands are now seeing the benefits of having EV charging on their sites to drive footfall – there is still more to be done.
Both private landowners and Local Authorities can play a significant part in the roll-out by engaging with the private operators to make their land available for charging. Short stay car parks, roadside locations, even leisure centres all have a role to play in the provision of public charging so I would encourage those local authorities to seize the opportunity and engage with the market. It’s quite common for this deployment to be at no cost to the Local Authorities, so its good value for the public purse!
I also believe that education about EVs and infrastructure could be improved. As previously mentioned, there are still too many myths out there that simply aren’t true. The reality is that public charging is improving daily and will continue to do so. Many vehicles can easily travel over 200 miles on one charge. Most networks can be easily accessed by contactless payment card. And the total cost of ownership is favourable to conventional vehicles. Sadly we see too many articles and headlines that reach a negative conclusion and as an industry it is our job to educate drivers about the reality, not the perception.
What questions should we ask in your session about charging infrastructure?
Let’s talk about how easy it is to have InstaVolt chargers on your site!
InstaVolt is the leading owner-operated network of rapid electric vehicle chargers in the UK. With more than 750+ rapid charging stations live or in construction, and a growing number of high-profile corporate partners, including Costa Coffee, KFC, McDonald’s and The Bannatyne Group, the company is planning to install 10,000 installed chargers in the next ten years to support the shift to an electrified transport system.
The company’s fully funded model means landowners, local authorities and site operators can benefit from reliable rapid charging on their site at no up-front or ongoing operating costs, and generate a rental income as well as benefit from substantial additional footfall.
The network has an industry leading reputation for reliability and ease of use, delivering confidence to drivers to enable them to switch to EV. It is now diversifying its target market to support the electrification of corporate fleets needing a reliable public charging solution. Already a number of household names use the InstaVolt network to support their public charging needs.
The company has recently announced an expansion to one of its most popular charging hubs, in which it will double the number of chargers at Stroud Park, Banbury, in reaction to increasing uptake of electric vehicles and the subsequent need for more rapid charging options throughout the UK. This year the company launched new hardware capable of charging at up to 120kW to the network, and early next year will introduce 150kW chargers, enabling drivers to add 150 miles of range in less than 15 minutes. In another technological development, 160kW chargers will be deployed during 2022.
Adrian Keen, CEO is speaking on 14 June, Focus Day in:
12.30 – 13.15, Robust public charging networks to service consumers and fleets Partner panel
16.00 – 16.50, Destination Charging panel
The team from InstaVolt will be exhibiting on 14 and 15 June.
If you would like to meet with Adrian Keen and his colleagues please register here using our registration form here quoting IVOLT-EV1 to get 50% off: