room44 innovates

If you’ve read any of room44’s output you’ll know that we run a diversified business model across sectors that include eBike sales and service under the brand. Across the Fully Charged business and particularly Fully Charged Silverstone and the FC Mothership in London, we are committed to cutting carbon emissions. So, we run electric vans to deliver and collect eBikes.

In London, using a medium-sized van seems to work. Short trips, urban environment and ULEZ* costs make it a viable option.

Outside the city (or any city) – not so much.

Silverstone recently took delivery of a #Mercedes #eSprinter to move eBikes. Our rationale was that if we can move more bikes less often and also be able to carry the biggest bike we stock (an eCargo bike that simply won’t fit into a #VW Transporter), everybody wins.

So far, it has been a massive disappointment. Here’s why.


Mercedes claims a maximum range of 90 miles.

After a full 7.5 hour charge we have seen a maximum of 78 possible miles that drops to 66 miles as soon as the van is turned on.


It’s busted.

Attempting to drive 74 miles to collect a van full of eBikes means we would have needed to charge en-route. In theory, this isn’t a problem. In practice, it didn’t happen.

While researching the route prior to taking the trip, it was so uncertain that any of the charging points from any supplier were working, we just couldn’t take the risk – we defaulted to our diesel van. We were left feeling cheated and the benefits expected from making the investment into an eVan aren’t there yet.

The trip did give us the opportunity to stop at the possible charge locations. At the first motorway service station, of the three possible plug-ins (ignoring the unoccupied row of Tesla chargers), none were working. The poor Nissan Leaf hire car driver who was stuck there without a charging lead might still be there. The second service area had five working charging stations, but didn’t show this on their app so we couldn’t have planned to go there.


We are committed to the idea that electricity can power our vans for some of the trips we make and we’ll use them as often as possible.

But if you’re in the market for a greener delivery method, it looks as if eCargo bikes are the best, greenest, e-powered option for short trips. You just might need to find a way of joining up the dots to move stuff between towns.

That’s our current experience and as soon as the situation improves, we’ll be sure to tell you.

PS #BP Pulse

A number of companies provide charging points for cars in the UK. BP Pulse is one of them, but be warned. Trying to charge your vehicle through an app may result in standing for an hour while the helpline unsuccessfully attempts to release you from their post. If they can’t (and it happens) a helpful engineer may bring your cable to your house the next day by which time you’re somewhere else – without a cable.

Other things that have happened in month #1 of EV ownership:

  • The app ‘ICES’ and it’s necessary to call the helpline to start and end a charge – more than once.
  • The app starts charging the adjacent socket so your neighbour gets your charge but you can’t stop it and he can’t leave until the helpline eventually answers.
  • The helpline advice is to ‘get physical’ to release your cable from their post, but the front door of the unit comes off and the post is rendered ‘out of service’.
  • The helpline takes 40 minutes to answer.

It’s not just BP though. Other inadequate services and providers are available.

*To meet the ULEZ emissions standard, your vehicle must meet the required Euro emissions standard for your vehicle and emission type. For newer vehicles, the Euro emission standard may be listed in section D.2 of your V5C.

The ULEZ standards are:

  • Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
  • Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles

Lorries, vans and specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, and buses, minibuses and coaches weighing over 5 tonnes do not need to pay the ULEZ charge. They will need to pay the LEZ charge if they do not meet the LEZ emissions standard.”

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do.

In social media feeds, almost daily, someone is promoting the transition to electric vehicles. Some responses may be less enthusiastic, but it’s also possible that we’ve forgotten why the change is inevitable.

Reasons for not buying an EV today are usually centred around convenience and range:

“…the main thing stopping me from jumping on the electric car craze is a lack of supporting infrastructure like charging points. I don’t feel like I can go away for the week or a long weekend and ask the hotel/AirBnB host if they’d mind me just plugging in my car…”

The immediate preference to avoid extra cost or an increase in involvement in journey planning is understandable. It’s not something we’re used to and, for full transparency, I haven’t fully switched to an EV yet. I ride an eBike and leave my vehicle behind as often as I can.

Why are we doing this at all?

The focus of the EV conversation has become the individual cost to us as users. What we’ve mostly lost sight of is why we are making the change. Cognitive dissonance that has slipped between what we need to do and why we must do it.

It needs calling out – again and again.

  • This week, Sydney, Australia, recorded its highest ever night-time temperature at 25.4ºC.
  • Global wildfires hit a record number in 2019. 2020 has beaten that by 13% already.
  • Through melt water and expansion, sea levels are rising at the rate of 3.3mm a year. If you don’t understand why it matters, please make it your business to read around the subject. It does.

Listen and learn

The excellent podcast How to Save the Planet asks, how do we adapt to changes that are already inevitable? It’s a great question and it picks up on other madness, such as non-transport related planning policy allowing building development in flood plains, simply because the effect has not been felt yet.

How to Save the Planet cites a study showing that “Miami Beach could be mostly underwater within eighty years, but construction of new beachfront properties is booming.” Miami isn’t alone in this.

We all make our choices based on what’s important to us on that day. COVID has taught us that things change, and quickly. 2020 has given us new versions of normal literally overnight. Suggestions that a return to mass attended events can be looked forward to next year now send a shudder through most of us who look at a concert crowd and wonder how we’ll feel like going to that kind of event again.

Borrowed from the same podcast, and included as an essay on the subject of climate change and the Miami construction paradox, Heaven or High Water, by Sarah Miller, contains the line, “I’m afraid of dying, sure, but so far it hasn’t been an issue.” Cognitive dissonance in all its glory.

Back to you and your next car

Like selling a future scenario that means a company must change how it operates, selling a thus far unexperienced event isn’t easy. As a consultancy, room44 faces this all the time.

The reason we’re heading down a road that will see lives lived differently, very soon, is not because it’s good for our pocket. It’s because we must all make an individual effort to reduce our own impact on the environment, to slow down the rate at which the world is warming.

Buying an EV is a bit like changing your unhealthy diet to a better one. If you don’t do it, you just have to live in hope that nothing bad happens.

The switch away from internal combustion engines is inevitable. And if it’s inevitable in 2030, it’s necessary now. Like a lot of things in life, we are all good at putting off what we know needs to happen in favour of a short-term convenience.

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do.





#howtosavetheplanet #allwecansave #sarahmiller #alexblumberg #ayanaelizabethjohnson #trends #environment #climatechange #electricvehicles #ecargobikes

Ask most people when they expect to be taken to work by an autonomous car and the answer’s likely to be, ‘not in my lifetime.’ That’s the consumer condition today. The established context is so firmly in place that radical change is beyond comprehension. The siren songs of what we know are familiar, safe, tangible. New music is harder to get into, and it takes some effort.

In the background, though, things are shifting. New business models are being put into place and new inventions are becoming innovations. The emerging forces in personal mobility have begun to collaborate in new and interesting ways. Now that communication and ambition are shared across competitors, this makes sense

Mobility principles

One such example is SHARED MOBILITY PRINCIPLES FOR LIVABLE CITIES. Robin Chase, of Zipcar fame, created this concept with some like-minded people, and have developed ten shared mobility principles. Briefly, they are:

  1. We plan cities and mobility together
  2. We prioritise people over vehicles
  3. We support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, lanes, curbs, and land
  4. We engage with stakeholders
  5. We promote equity
  6. We lead the transition towards a zero-emission future and renewable energy
  7. We support fair user fees across all modes
  8. We aim for public benefits via open data
  9. We work towards integration and seamless connectivity
  10. We support autonomous vehicles in dense urban areas operating only in shared fleets

Now, have a look at this page, (and image below) then ask the average driver how many of the service providers signed up to this pledge they’ve heard of. Chances are they won’t be able to tell you what most of the 33 brands here do.

Logos. autonomous vehicle logos

But there they are: working at building a business based around new mobility models, adopting technology as it becomes available, and selling to the market now. Selling, in fact, to early adopters who are already on the street, and converting more users simply by being there.

For more evidence that the shift is well underway, data from Crunchbase tell us that the biggest players in the ride-sharing economy are performing well:


  • H1’18 revenue: $5.4 billion.
  • H1’18 revenue growth from H1’17: 66.6 percent.
  • H1’18 net loss: $1.375 billion.
  • Net margin: -25.5 percent.


  • H1’18 revenue: $909 million.
  • H1’18 revenue growth from H1’17: 120.6 percent.
  • H1’18 net loss: $373 million.
  • Net margin: -41.4 percent.

This business isn’t being conjured out of fresh air: somebody is using the services. Break it down – $5.4bn is a lot of $10 rides.

Back to our average driver. The idea of sharing a ride is only alien to the people who don’t ride-share yet. And the idea of autonomous ride-sharing is only alien because…? You’ve got it. It might not be here yet, but it’s coming, and it will be adopted and grow and expand and eventually come to a high street/bus stop/car park/street corner in your town.

With the change in available modes of transport, the way that consumers buy everything else will shift too. Not owning a car won’t be the physical barrier to market access that it is today. Look down the timeline a couple of years, and these issues will have gone away, and not simply to be replaced by the virtual alternative of online shopping.

Personal mobility, community and relationships go hand-in-hand. The connection between how we move around, and how accessible the ability to move around is, has real impact on our society.

Electrification of vehicles

Electrification of vehicles is a done deal at the conceptual level. The thinking has been done and the logistics of production is the next step. Then comes autonomy. We’re still at the thinking stage of this transformation but, when the brains switch their attention from EVs to AVs, the pace will pick up. When it does and as we’ve seen here, the market infrastructure to distribute the autonomous technology is already in place, and the juggernaut is ready to roll.

Happily, if you’re in its way, it’ll know and will steer around you. But it won’t stop, and you may be left behind.

If your business is in ‘not in my lifetime’ mode, you have time to rethink. But not much.

Seeing it differently. Future-proofing. It’s what we do.

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