In early March we found ourselves at the races and on a lovely day as well. In a first for the EBN we were invited to co host an EBN Live show with some businesses in the sustainability space and the selected venue was the Marriott hotel, on site at Lingfield racecourse in Surrey.

The reason for that was that Keith Murray, CEO of Ryan Asset Management, a vehicle sales and leasing business, has formed an exciting business club the Ryan Canter Club which uses a day at the races to connect clients and contacts together.

So, with an audience of some 50 business people, and with Roger in full compere mode, we got stuck into the hefty debates of the day that hinged around the EV market, the charging infrastructure system in the UK to support the EV sector and a wider look at the energy and utilities space. Roger was joined by Keith Murray, Dean Hedger from Vital EV and Mark Chipol from Eden Utilities to explore the state of the market, warts and all.

As you would expect there was a lot of positive conversations about how the EV market is developing, with Keith commenting that the rise in importation of lightweight EV vans from China is disrupting and changing the business market, whilst Dean shared his optimism about the future of the charging infrastructure market. It wasn’t all plain sailing though as the panel encountered some tough questions from the audience, with no little amount of scepticism as well as a balanced amount of support. Dean pointed out that the growth in charging points has been spectacular, as has since been vindicated by a report in EDIE which states that a record 6,000 publicly available electric vehicle (EV) charging points have been installed in the UK since the start of the year, with the nation now on track to host 100,000 by summer 2025, according to new data from charging point map Zap Map and the UK Government’s Department for Transport (DfT).

Whilst the UK now hosts double the numbers of chargers available in the UK compared to 2022, Dean did acknowledge that they are tiny when contrasted with the estimated 8,353 petrol stations we use. When you consider they have an average of 8 pumps each, then EV has some way to go.

As the conversation swung towards energy in general, Mark was inundated with questions about how easy (or not) it is for SMEs to change their energy supplier and how they would know that renewable claims are genuine. He was quick to point out that the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) system is a pretty good one for businesses to measure against and this seemed to generate a lot of head nodding.

After the formal bit we enjoyed a superb lunch courtesy of the Marriott and a number of us stayed on to watch the racing, but, as ever, Roger walked away having enjoyed helping the bookies plan their next holiday.

The EBN is keen to co-host similar events with members and partners so if you think that we could add value and a different angle to your next corporate event we are available for hire.