events technology transport

The world’s leading festival of clean energy and EVs

Fully Charged is a Youtube channel about electric cars and green technologies, founded by the actor Robert Llewellyn. More recently they have branched into events, hosting a series of exhibitions that have grown in size each time. This year’s was held at Farnborough Airport, and it’s now the biggest event of its kind – the world’s number one festival of electric cars and green energy.

We went along to Fully Charged Live last sunday as a family. I was considering it a day out with the kids and wasn’t in work mode, but I am going to write about it in case others might find it useful.

The big draw is electric vehicles, and the show had one of every EV on the market in the UK, and some new ones. It’s a really useful opportunity to see them all in one place, sit in them, open the trunk – could we get our camping stuff in here? Most of the vehicles are available for test drives. If you’re considering getting an electric car, there’s no better place for making an informed decision. I test drove a Nissan Leaf myself, as we’re looking to replace our aging hybrid at some point.

As we all ought to know, electric cars are just one part of a bigger transition to sustainable transport, and other aspects are also on display. We found electric vans, buses, motorbikes, and the first electric coach in the country.

There’s also a whole section of the show given over to micro-transport, and a test track where you could try out e-bikes, scooters and electric monowheels. My wife tried out a few, including a Swytch Bike conversion kit that would electrify her much loved existing bike for a surprisingly low price.

Elsewhere in the exhibition space were companies dealing in solar power, storage batteries, or electric heating. Utility companies were there, and Octopus Energy were shamelessly buying the love with plush pink octopi and free snacks. There were also leasing companies, which make EVs cheaper than you might expect. Car enthusiasts were enjoying the avenue of classic EV conversions, from VW Beetles to a Jaguar E-type, all indistiguishable from the petrol originals on the outside, but electric on the inside.

There’s a programme of talks covering all aspects of all of this, from how to buy a secondhand EV to giving up meat, to possibilities for electric planes or the ethics of cobalt. I didn’t get to any of these, because I was in the kids zone instead, loosely supervising bouncy castle time. Fortunately there was a Lego tent and a collective project to build a Lego eco-town, with good sight-lines to the bouncy castle.

We really enjoyed the day. We shortlisted EVs that might work for us. My wife has already ordered her e-bike conversion kit. My kids got to see a Tesla Model X in dance mode, which blew their minds. Most of all I really liked the culture of it. It seemed to be a very positive and welcoming event, with a real sense of shared purpose.

The next Fully Charged Live event in the UK is next April. Exhibitions are also planned in Europe, the US and Australia. If you’re anywhere nearby and you’re interested in electric cars and considering the switch, it’ll be well worth your while.

2 comments

  1. I am still put off the idea of an electric car by the limited range and long charge times. I sometimes need to visit south Devon. I can now fill my petrol tank in Luton, then drive there and back, with other driving around while there, and still have fuel left after 500 miles. Electic cars will not ecome viable for many people until they can compare with that, and with charging time comparable with the time it takes to fil a petrol tank. They still seem to be a long way from that.

    1. Yes, long journeys are a problem, and that’s one of our concerns (along with boot space, since too many EV versions of petrol cars just cram the batteries in the back!) What that means though is that most of us are driving inefficient and polluting cars 95% of the time, in order to do that last 5% more conveniently. It feels like there’s a gap in the market for flexible leasing that allows you to swap in a different vehicle for trips. It would solve the problem for a lot of people.

      Depending on how much a household drives, the savings on running an EV might pay for a rental for longer journeys. And certainly every household I know that runs two cars could switch one of them to electric.

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