Interview with Carola Jonas
CEO of Everty, building a peer-to-peer electric vehicle charging network
Everty is a new peer-to-peer electric vehicle charging network. The biggest barrier to owning an EV is the lack of adequate access to charging infrastructure. Everty's web app opens up privately owned charging stations to all EV drivers. This allows the charger owner to monetise their charger and parking space while EV drivers have more choice finding convenient charging spots. Through their booking and payment system, Everty provides certainty to the EV drivers that the charger they reserved will be available when they need it and that charger owners will be adequately compensated. Everty plans to grow the network and provide additional services to the electric car community so that more people make the leap and buy an electric car. While the focus is on homeowners initially, businesses with parking spaces and charging facilities can also join the network.
Do you think it is possible to supply 100% of Australia's electricity with clean energy?

I think that its generally possible… definitely not possible right now, but I think that's where the world is heading and that's what we should be doing! Of course, we need to balance all the different problems that we have in the current energy market, which is the security, affordability, and the current levels of generation. But the quicker we can transfer or move towards renewables energy, the cheaper electricity will become at some stage and yes, 100% renewable will be achievable. The leading experts in renewable say it is possible so why not for Australia.
"The quicker we can transfer or move towards renewable energy, the cheaper electricity will become at some stage and yes, 100% renewable will be achievable."
What is currently the biggest challenge of clean energy development?

At the moment, I would say the biggest challenge is actually changing the existing market structure. It is not so much about generating or the generation of renewable energy or any electricity, whether its coal or gas… It's really more about making the market ready to deal with all the different sources of energy and also curbing and managing the demand. We always speak about … "oh we need to generate more… (we) need more renewables," But let's look at the demand side and see if we can reduce energy consumption and make our grids a lot smarter so we don't need to generate that much.

What are your ideas to overcome these challenges?

There are already a lot of start-ups and big companies working on these issues. Whether it's trading your energy, peer to peer, from solar households, battery storage, etc, there are so many ways to 'skin the cat'. It will be really interesting to watch the market, if you look at these virtual power plants, a lot of these initiatives are already happening … even Elon Musk saying "I'll put a very very big battery into the South Australian network just to prove that it can work." Yes, these are really exciting things.
"It is not so much about generating… It's really more about making the market ready to deal with all the different sources of energy and also curbing and managing the demand."
What is your favourite example of clean energy initiative?

I just hinted on that… I think that battery storage is a great idea and what I really loved about what happened earlier this year with Mike Cannon-Brooks and Elon Musk who are just industry pushing the government with a few tweets, starting something and then really following through… saying this is going to happen now! If we keep seeing a couple of these things happen every year, then I think we are on a very good way to scale up and speed up renewables.
CEO of Everty, Carola Jonas, charging an EV at EnergyLab
What is the current market for electric cars in Australia and where do you think it's heading?

The uptake of electric vehicles in Australia compared to other countries, like the US or European countries, is really really low which is a great concern. The official statistics are somewhere just above 5,000 electric cars being registered within Australia, which excludes Tesla because they don't share their sales figures…but let it be 7,000 electric cars. It is still nothing for a country like Australia, especially compared to Europe or the United States. I think it is very interesting to hear people say, "Australia is too big, we drive hundreds of kilometres, we can't have an electric car that only has 200km range," but most people live in cities and this statement is simply not true. The average person who lives in the city only drives 40km a day, but there's always this common perception that we need a very strong engine to drive long distances.
What is the next step for Everty?

For us it is really to help people get into electric vehicles and buy them. One of the big barriers to buying an electric car is actually the lack of charging infrastructure. Most people who buy an electric car today charge it at home, have a garage, where they can plug it in. The issue is, most people live in apartment buildings in the city or in suburbs where there is only on street parking. They can't simply plug in their car at night, they need other opportunities and other ways to charge their car. So we are hoping to build up electric car charging infrastructure and also help people use what is already there in existing homes. So if you already have a car charger in your home you can offer someone else to come to your place and charge there and they give a little bit of money for your electricity.
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