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Space data accelerates transition to electric cars

09/09/2021 1618 views 14 likes
ESA / Space in Member States / United Kingdom

A free app that helps people explore the benefits of switching to an electric vehicle has launched.

Released by UK company EV8 Technologies, the EV8 Switch app uses space data to log motorists’ journeys and then displays how much money could be saved by swapping their conventional car for an electric one.

These estimates cover time frames selected by the driver and the app also provides information on the cost of buying or leasing an electric vehicle.  

The app was developed with the support of ESA’s Directorate of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications.

Motorists in the UK can also use the EV8 Switch app to get information on carbon dioxide reductions and improvements in air quality, as well as suggestions on which models of electric vehicle would be best suited to their needs, where the nearest charging points are, and how often they would need to top up.

Using navigation satellites and other space-based positioning services, EV8 Switch analyses two weeks of real-world data about people’s driving habits, their proximity to key electric vehicle infrastructure, and local traffic conditions.

This information enables it to generate personalised insights about the specific benefits that making the switch could provide, and well as advice about how well an electric vehicle would fit into the driver’s lifestyle.

EV8 Switch is free to download from the Apple App Store and the Android Store.

EV8 Switch provides a ‘switchability’ score
EV8 Switch provides a ‘switchability’ score

UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “As we get ready to host the major UN climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow later this year, the UK is leading the way in using space to help us build back greener. With innovative government-backed projects such as this harnessing of the power of space, making the switch to an electric vehicle will be easier than ever before, helping us take a giant leap towards our goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.”

Development of the app was supported by the ESA Business Applications Space Solutions programme as part of a project called Human Switch, an activity that uses space-technology to facilitate the uptake of electric vehicles.

The project was completed by a consortium led by consultancy partnership Kearney.

Richard Forrest, Chairman of EV8 Technologies and Senior Partner at Kearney, said: “As the climate crisis accelerates, many of us are making changes in our daily lives. Opting to drive an electric car reduces emissions substantially, but many individuals are put off due to factors like electric vehicle car prices, finding charging ports or batteries running out.

“This app helps drivers make an informed decision, based on their individual driving needs, helping address concerns and misconceptions. It’s become clear electric vehicles are our future and this app will help drivers to make the switch with confidence.”

The EV8 Switch app is backed by NatWest and supported by the UK Space Agency through ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems programme, which is part of the agency’s Directorate of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications.

James Close, Head of Climate Change at NatWest Group, said: "By supporting the work of EV8 Technologies, we are offering a solution to help people and businesses understand their opportunity of going green. We want to be the country’s leading bank in helping to address climate change and are determined to play an active role in the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy. Powerful partnerships will help to accelerate the speed of that transition, and we look forward to continued collaboration with EV8 Technologies in the roll-out of the EV8 Switch app.”

Elodie Viau, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, said: “We are proud to have supported the development of EV8 Switch, which is a great example of our commitment to enabling sustainable commercial innovation. By utilising space technology, the app helps people make informed decisions about switching to electric vehicles, supporting efforts to lower emissions and promoting a more sustainable future.”

Nick Appleyard, Head of ESA Space Solutions, said: “We all know we should make better choices in the climate emergency. But finding the time, the information and the motivation to change somehow stops us. The EV8 Switch app gives us the nudge we need.

“It gives us just enough information to see how we can save money, cut our pollution, and change to the better driving experience of an electric car. A triple benefit. At ESA we want to use space as a tool to help the green transition, so we are proud to have supported the development of this service.”