In 2022, facilities specialists the Future Group are launching an independent plug-in vehicle consultancy service. Here’s why.
The future of transport is electric. With plug-in vehicle registrations up by almost 80% in 2021, we are all waking up to the fact that our next car or van may be electric. Responding to this growing market, in 2019 facilities specialists the Future Group launched a new company, Future Fuel, to deliver charging solutions to the block management sector.
Driving an electric vehicle means you need easy access to charging facilities and the speed of the charger roll-out to-date is proving a barrier to take-up. This is particularly true for residents in blocks of flats, where issues around lease covenants and access to parking spaces means that installing charge points is not always straightforward.
Future Fuel has worked hard to overcome these issues. The company has partnered with leading property law firm Property Management Legal Services Limited to help property managers unravel the complexities of their residents’ leases and find ways to gain permissions for charger installations from landlords.
Recognising a knowledge gap among property managers around EV charging, from the get-go Future Fuel director Jamie Willsdon started a conversation within the sector. He has published a whole range of explainer articles and pressing government to grasp and respond to the particular difficulties faced by leaseholders keen to go electric. Since launch, Future Fuel has made more than 40 presentations at live events – and given more than 100 online and Jamie has personally visited more than 50 property managers to set out the benefits of readying blocks for EV uptake.
Jamie is now recognised as a knowledge leader in this area and he is increasingly approached by property managers, not only to quote for charger installations via Future Fuel, but also to review solutions put forward by other providers. “Up until now I’ve often done this for free,” says Jamie. “It’s been a good way to promote Future’s specialist knowledge in this area”. But in 2022, he has taken the decision to formalise this expertise and is launching Future’s EV consultancy service.
What this will mean for clients is that Future Fuel will review their project and provide independent advice on charge point installations and payment solutions. The company will not promote particular manufacturers or payment software providers but will instead use its comprehensive knowledge of the market to recommend the best solution available for each individual project.
“All buildings and all leases are different so a one-size-fits-all solution is not viable,” Jamie explains. “By using our consultancy service, property managers can be confident that we will source the best possible solution for their block or portfolio.
“Future Fuel is completely independent. We are not product-led but are approved installers for all leading EV charging manufacturers. Our relationships with different billing and management platforms ensure we can create the right solution for each client, ensuring recovery of chargepoint payments in the most streamlined way possible.”
Here’s a typical project. At Riverside Plaza in Battersea Future has installed chargepoints in 136 bays. There are 20 active points and cabling to a further 92 bays, future-proofing them for use as EV take-up increases. The smart charger billing system sourced by Future Fuel gives residents peace of mind that they are only paying for what they use and not for their neighbours’ usage.
Future Fuel’s business has grown exponentially in the last 12 months. To date, the company has surveyed more than 300 sites and work is pending on 8000 further chargepoints. Jamie expects the company to be even busier this year as the newly positioned Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme goes live in April. This will fund the lion’s share of leaseholder’s installation costs and is expected to drive up interest in EVs even further.
As OZEV Approved installers, Future fuel also offers a handholding service, helping clients prepare documents to file with OZEV to secure potential funding. The company is well-versed in the process and familiar with the OZEV criteria, having applied for many successful grant applications during the last three years.
Jamie’s advice to property managers is to get the ball rolling now. “Get designs, proposals and scopes in place, so projects are agreed and you are positioned to file your application to the EVHS for approval on time.
“We will continue to update our clients on regulations, funding stages and new technology as its launched to the market,” he says.
Jamie firmly believes that every leaseholder with an electric vehicle should have access to an affordable, accessible and fully compliant chargepoint in their block, to facilitate their own journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Future Fuel’s new consultancy aims to make this a reality.
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