Pure Planet’s Head of New Products and Services answers Community questions about our new bp partnership, apps and EVs

  • 28 May 2021
  • 6 replies
  • 221 views
Pure Planet’s Head of New Products and Services answers Community questions about our new bp partnership, apps and EVs
  • Community Manager
  • 5493 replies

Hi everyone

A big thank you to everyone who got involved in a Pure Planet Community Q&A with our Head of New Products and Services. :blush:

Will Heinzelmann has been busy drafting his replies to your questions on the back of our announcement of a new technology partnership with bp.

Pure Planet’s Head of New Products and Services, Will Heinzelmann

This news will bring:

  • Personalised insights into energy consumption at home and on the move

  • EV drivers will see real-time data on their energy usage, car battery status and cost per mile

  • Ability to link any car (petrol & diesel) to the app to see and estimate of how much CO2 it emits and compare it with an electric vehicle

  • Recommendations for other sustainable solutions to help them save even more, such as smart thermostats and EV home charging points

On the back of our announcement a few weeks ago we persuaded the lovely - but rather busy! - Will to answer any questions you may have.

Cheers to everyone who took the time to get involved. Here’s your replies:

 

Question from @G4RHL Will the new app monitor devices as they are switched on such that they can be named in the app and in time the app can record the usage of all devices in the home?

 

Hi @G4RHL  Great question! It sounds like you are referring to what’s known as disaggregation, where energy consumption data is analysed to estimate what devices you have in your household and how much power they are consuming. This is definitely something we want to look at for a future release. One of the challenges with disaggregation is that you need a separate monitoring device in the home that can record energy consumption at a high frequency (every few seconds) – a smart meter on its own isn’t good enough for this as it records consumption every half hour. We recently ran a trial with Community Members to test a device that connects to your smart meter’s in-home display and records electricity consumption every couple of seconds - this could be used for disaggregation (and disaggregation was actually the ‘insight’ our trialists most requested) so watch this space!


 

Question from @LUCKY JO Anything that will help consumers monitor and reduce their energy usage has got to be good for our precious planet. 

Agree! It’s the best thing to be energy efficient! 


 

Question from @Bev I’d like to ask you your views on driverless cars, especially re your personal opinion (and knowledge) on how realistically far away are we, from seeing 100% driverless vehicles being the norm on our roads here in the U.K. with the focus mainly on electric cars, do you see the whole driverless thing, being way way way more in the future than we truly believe?

 

Hi @Bev . Blimey, that’s a tricky one! I’m amazed by some of the ‘self-driving’ technology that exists today in cars (have you seen Tesla’s Smart Summon feature?) so at times it can feel like we are not too far away from it.
Having said that, there is a part of me that thinks about the human factors, particularly when driven and driverless vehicles mix. Can driverless cars exist alongside normal cars or is it the case that we would need to all have driverless cars or all have normal cars?

If there is some sort of incident on a motorway that causes a driverless car to brake suddenly then what if the car behind it is not driverless? What if it has been driving too close to the driverless vehicle in front or the human driver simply doesn’t have the reaction times to brake sufficiently?

Can a subsequent crash only be avoided if every car in the lane is driverless? With this sort of question in mind, I think it will probably be some time before we see fully autonomous vehicles on UK roads.



 

Questions from @Strutt G  Where was that picture taken? What car do you drive? 

When will we be driving hydrogen vehicles? Is that t-shirt made of bamboo?

Love all the questions @Strutt G  The picture is in Cat Ba - an island in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam (an amazing place and an amazing country!).

I’m afraid to say I drive a diesel Nissan Micra. I live in a Victorian terrace with on-street parking. I’m very interested to see what sort of solutions will develop for people in my situation. I don’t think public rapid chargers are the answer (that feels like too much of an inconvenience) so my bet would be a combination of curbside charging and driveway sharing.  

Hydrogen vehicles are an interesting one, but I’m not really convinced we will be driving them, in small cars at least. The first issue is that I think hydrogen has to be ‘green’ (created from renewable electricity and electrolysis) not ‘blue’ (created from fossil gas and carbon capture and storage).

The challenge is that creating green hydrogen and using it in a hydrogen car is not particularly efficient when compared to an electric vehicle (an EV is about 80% efficient versus a hydrogen car at 38%). EVs are also a lot cheaper than hydrogen cars (although perhaps that’s an unfair comparison as far more EVs have been made than hydrogen cars).

I also think EVs are more convenient and most people will like not having to visit a petrol (or hydrogen) station to fill up and charge up at home instead. I think we could see Hydrogen vehicles used in certain circumstances such as in heavy freight or shipping but I struggle to see how hydrogen would be better than an EV for normal drivers.

The t-shirt is just normal cotton I’m afraid :sweat_smile:


 

Questions from @25 quid : Do you think people will trust technology and abdicate control of their on/off switch(es) to the cloud? Given the number of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, what are you doing to persuade people digital power is secure?

Good question! I don’t think everyone will, no. But I do hope that in the future, technology and service providers will have earnt sufficient trust such that most people will feel OK with their energy devices being optimised by a third-party or in the cloud. I think this will be a really important part of us achieving our future net zero targets in the most efficient way possible. A third party optimising thousands of devices (a virtual power plant) will be able to deliver lower-cost, lower-carbon energy than each of those devices operating independently.

We’re very serious about ‘cybersecurity’ and we need to retain the trust of our Members by making sure that your data is always safe. 

The energy industry in general is very security minded. 

And in the UK there’s been a lot of thought given to this. For example, the smart meters network was developed with GCHQ.



Question from @Strutt G  The new Macs with the M1 Chips allows for apps to be downloaded as would be for the ipad/iphones with little difficulty. Are there any developments at your end regarding this? 

Interesting question. I’m not a developer but my understanding is that Apple is ‘porting’ iOS apps to also work on Macs. But don’t forget that all Pure Planet Members can access their account in a web browser as well as our app. It’s important to keep that supported too, as not everyone is a Mac user. There’s still a few Windows people out there!

 


 

Question from @Bev Do you think, in your role with PP, looking at future products and services for the energy provider, that things may take a backwards step, and perhaps embrace the wider demographic, rather than one particular tech savvy sector, ensuring nobody gets left behind, or too reliant on others having to take control of their accounts for them for example?

 

When working with bp on our new app features we’ve been very conscious about being as inclusive as possible, and not developing things that only a small number of people can use because, as you say, they are very tech-savvy or can afford an expensive piece of technology.

I think it’s really important that we do develop new, cutting-edge  features but we have also given lots of thought to how we can help everyone take the first step on a journey. Hopefully, you’ll see this in some of the EV features in the first release, for example – you won’t need an EV to use them. And if you have a petrol or diesel car, or no car at all, you’ll still be able to participate in the services we’re soon to launch. 

More generally, I think this is often the way that things end up being developed.  While it can feel a bit exclusive at first, I think ultimately these early innovations go on to benefit society as a whole - think of ABS in cars for example – it’s origins are essentially in aviation.

It’s the early adopters who are willing to spend a bit more or take a bit of a risk that can get many amazing innovations from startup companies off the ground – with the money, demand and feedback these pioneers bring, companies can focus on producing more accessible, affordable products that mean we can all benefit from amazing new technology. Again, I would point to Tesla which started with an expensive, performance vehicle (the Model S) and moved on to the more affordable Model 3 (I know the Model 3 is still very expensive but it’s heading in the right direction!).


 

Question from @Phil113 Does this mean that EV owners will get a discount at BP Pulse charging stations?

Hi @Phil113 . Hold that thought! We’re talking to bp about all sorts of ways our soon-to-launch app services will be able to benefit Pure Planet Members.

We’re exploring lots of other opportunities too, such as Pure Planet's existing partnership with EO to get an EV charger installed at home.

And for anyone thinking about getting their first EV, we've also got a great deal with Elmo which means you can lease one of their latest models. A sort of try before you buy ;-)

There’ll be more to share soon!


 

Question from @tag1 Isn't Pure Planet just greenwashing BP?

Hi @tag1 . No. bp is a long-standing partner and shareholder of Pure Planet. It supports our mission to offer 100% renewable electricity to our Members and, until we can decarbonise heat, that we offer fully offset, carbon neutral gas. bp is changing and has committed to net zero. Change isn’t instant. It takes time. The new digital, low-carbon app features we’re working on with bp is part of that transition. 

 


 

Thanks again everyone for taking part!

If you’d like to see more community Q&As please do post in the replies.

We’ve run similar community Q&As before. Check out one from last summer with our co-founder and CEO Andrew Ralston, one from January 2020 when co-founder Steven Day took questions about smart meters, carbon-offsetting and more.

And in February 2019 co-founder Chris Alliot carried out a community Q&A about how we buy your energy.

 


6 replies

Userlevel 7
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Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule, Will, to provide such informative answers. Very much appreciated 👍👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

Userlevel 7
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Cheers Will and thanks for the poke about windows users...you’re right!

Good luck for the future

Userlevel 6
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An EV is definitely on my radar to replace my 2013 Skoda Octavia ICE car, maybe at the end of the year.

Where can I find out more about the Elmo/PurePlanet tie-in?

Hi @Antski you can find out more about the Elmo/Pure Planet tie-in here.  

What model of EV have you got your eye on?

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Hi @Mads since it would be just to try out the practicalities of EV ownership it would probably be at the runabout end of the spectrum. The Zöe seems like a solid choice, with a pretty decent range too. Otherwise I'd love to try a Skoda Enyaq iV 60 or Cupra Born.

Yes the Zoe is a good all rounder for sure @Antski! The Cupra Born looks very impressive, with a good range, plusthe augmented reality head-up display is quite a feature - seems as though it would make driving almost effortless. Incredible! 

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