Your take-home messages:
Participants see Flip the Fleet as an independent, and therefore credible, source of EV information and support. Funding could come from a variety of sources, so long as independence and scientific integrity remain firmly intact. Members feel any funding procured should be divided to mutually support organisation and analytics, tools and test equipment, and conferences and workshops, with much of the media presence able to be carried out at little or no cost to the project.
This month’s poll:
Our nineteenth 1-click survey began by asking participants whether Flip the Fleet will succeed in accelerating EV uptake in New Zealand (see https://flipthefleet.org/2018/1-click-survey-19/). Respondents were then asked to add comments and provide answers to six supplementary questions, including:
A. “Where should we get our funding from?”
(1) License our technology to commercial fleets
(2) Sell anonymised and aggregated data
(3) Ask for donations from participants
(4) Apply for grants from independent bodies
(5) Accept sponsorship and co-funding from industry
B. “How would you most like us to spend our funding?”
(1) Pay the main organisers and analysts some wages
(2) Developing new online tools or buying testing equipment
(3) Increase traditional media presence by buying airtime and print space
(4) Present at conferences and workshops
(5) Other (please comment below)
The poll was sent to 798 participants in Flip the Fleet on 25 May 2018. There were 428 responses by 4 June, 311 of which provided detailed comments and answers to 6 other questions, including the question analysed here. Respondents were invited to tick as many options as they wished and were prompted to specify details if they chose ‘Other’.
Participants were most supportive of obtaining funds from independent bodies (33% of all choices for this question; Fig. 1), but also comfortable with accepting sponsorship and co-funding from industry (21%) and charging license fees for Flip the Fleet’s technology and services (18%). Selling anonymised data (13%) and accepting donations (11%) received moderate support. Amongst the ‘Other’ sources (4%) was additional support for industry sponsorship, a call for government to help fund Flip the Fleet operations as part of their emission reduction scheme, and a query about the need to source funding for a citizen-led project.
Figure.1 Percent of 652 choices by 311 participants in a survey of where Flip the Fleet could get its funding, May-June 2018.
Participants were happy to use funds for paying organisers and analysts (34%; Fig. 2). Yaahhhh… that’s us! There is also considerable support for tool development (25%) and presenting results at conferences and workshops (25%). Commissioning media to promote EVs received moderate support (12%). Amongst the ‘Other’ sources (4%), the most frequent were “Unsure” and “No Comment”, with too little information about Flip the Fleet’s future plans to make informed choices. Others highlighted local gatherings and EV facilities as worthy investments and focal points for funding to be used wisely.
Figure.2 Percent of 638 choices by 311 participants in a survey of what Flip the Fleet could spend any funding on, May-June 2018.
The table below searched for correlations between expected success of Flip the Fleet to the answers they gave for acceptable funding sources and uses. Actually, opinion about where funding should come from and go to were a fairly evenly distributed across the participants expectation for project success. Those agreeing and strongly agreeing in Flip the Fleet’s ability to accelerate EV uptake seem to be more open to a licensing charge to Flip the Fleet. In view of the even responses, we have pooled all the comments in the analysis that follows.
Table 1: Responses to questions about sources and uses of funding differentiated between responses that “Strongly agree”, “Agree” or “Neither agree nor disagree” of ‘Disagree” that Flip the Fleet will accelerate EV uptake.
y Includes 5 choices by people who chose “disagree” with the main survey question.
What makes you click?
Bring the funding into the project
Here’s a word cloud of the comments you provided to the funding sources question, using the ‘Wordle’ package: the larger the font, the more times that word appeared in your testimony (Fig. 3).
Figure 3. A word cloud of the most frequent 100 words used in your responses to the funding sources question of the survey. The larger the word, the more often you mentioned it. Similar words were combined for this analysis to give a better indication of the language used and its intent. For example, “independence” encompasses independent and independant, “funding” is grouped with funds, fundraising, and fund, and “sell” includes selling. Common words such as “EV”, “Flip the Fleet”, “Leaf”, “like”, “obviously” and “please” were removed (not to take away from your politeness!).
“Funding” topped the funding sources word cloud in terms of frequency and therefore size – unsurprising as this was the topic in question. But the key signal from the start is that “independence” concerns and “government” roles were front and centre of your feedback.
“Independence” was communicated as being paramount for Flip the Fleet to maintain credibility and scientific integrity. One of you poised it as a rhetorical question: “..would I trust you if you were sponsored by BMW?!” Another said: “As soon as you touch industry money, I believe all credibility would be lost”. In fairly accurate summary: “Any fundraising must not be allowed to compromise the credibility of Flip the Fleet”. It’s great to hear that you see Flip the Fleet as already having attained trust and a high level of credibility!
Some of you felt very strongly that we should not sell data, even if anonymised e.g. “Don’t sell any data ever. Doing so undermines your credibility which is currently beyond question”. Part of their concern relates to data security: “No amount of anonymising and aggregating works if hackers are determined to steal private data”. Others were comfortable about that aspect (see Fig. 1). e.g. “Sell data back to battery and EV manufacturers”.
There was reasonable support for licensing the Flip the Fleet technology for commercial fleet users (see Fig. 1). Some respondents even thought that licensing added credibility and trust in the data for the commercial users: “Licensing technology gives credibility to Flip the Fleet if used under the right conditions, i.e. it must not be exploited.”
The government was seen by the majority of you as the safest and most appropriate source for funding. With our current government communicating an agenda to up funding in the sustainability realm (in particular prioritising reduction in carbon emissions), funds coming from this source are more likely to avoid a conflict of interest. One participant explained: “..the Government should help out, so far promotion on a NZ wide scale is non-existent. They have set the timeline for carbon reduction” while another pointed out: “Surely the government can provide some monetary support, since they are pushing hard for EV uptake.” Another quite rightly mentioned “NZTA and other government organisations cite Flip the Fleet data.” Leading to the direction to “Ask them for support. Include it in license fee?” Government funding would allow for greater independence by side-stepping those with vested interests and highlighting a path that may offer greater sovereignty. Any independent grant awarding bodies were considered ideal (see Fig. 1), but in practice nearly all of these are provided by government funds in New Zealand.
The remaining large players in the word cloud were data, industry and sponsorship. Taken together these underpin the second most agreed upon funding source behind independent bodies. The comments reveal that industry funding was a split hot topic; with participants talking up industry involvement while others were firmly against it. It was made pretty clear by some that Flip the Fleet was not to “become beholden to EV suppliers. Ideally, don’t even give the impression that you *might* be beholden”. Others urged: “It is vital to be seen to be independent from all industry/commercial/self-interested sources”. “Please don’t get in bed with industry. You will lose significant credibility regardless of safeguards.” Others supported careful acceptance of sponsorships of the second level businesses, provided we excluded vehicle manufacturers or fuel suppliers. For some, electricity suppliers were examples of acceptable donors who had a direct interest in EV uptake but were not selling a particular product (beyond supply contract and price differentials) e.g. one respondent urged us to accept funds “especially [from] electricity companies who stand to benefit most in increased sales”.
Others were more relaxed about aligning with EV interests and thought that benefits of their funds would outweigh the risks of partnership. Flip the Fleet’s data is, after all, valuable to EV manufacturers and suppliers which creates funding leverage. For example, “Go for the lot. The more funds coming in the better the service for us all. He who pays the piper plays the tune – so if you take funds from vested interests make sure you have demonstrated independence and a right to publish everything”. Others could see no concern at all about approaching the car manufacturers and dealers: “After all you are promoting their business”.
Naturally, this poses questions around trust. Queue our most faithful comment: “You’ve already shown that you won’t let commercial sensitivity get in the way of good science.”
Survey participants quite rightly pointed out that sponsorship and co-funding options exist beyond the obvious. The suggestion to “definitely exclude sponsorship from vehicle related industry, but not extend this exclusion to trade or transport interests (e.g. AA, Road Transport Federation) and electrical companies” shows we may need to think outside the car body. “Could Mercury Energy afford a hundred thousand or so? What about Z? A stretch, maybe” or perhaps we could build “closer ties with the likes of Meridian”? We could even detach our focal point from the EVs themselves and “tailor the grants for educational funding, environmental funding, and business”.
There was a varied response to the prospect of seeking donations from the Flip the Fleet participants. Overall it seems participants are invested, but don’t want to be investors! Some liked the idea, but only if it didn’t put participants off: “Perhaps if we all paid an annual subscription of, say, $25 it would provide a meaningful boost, but I don’t know the numbers and if you pitch the sub too high people will walk away”. Another warned that even if it were voluntary it might put some people off: “Asking for donations from participants may reduce your contributors – if people don’t want to donate they may feel they shouldn’t participate”. It also pays to keep in mind that: “In an internet of free, asking for a fee is a challenge” and this may pose issues around forming and retaining a Flip the Fleet collective. We agree that Flip the Fleet databases wouldn’t exist without the unwavering support and data sharing from current participants. It was strongly pointed out that: “Participants are giving you information free and MUST NOT be asked to donate”. We hear you. There is risk here. One participant expressed that although they agreed with seeking donations: “this is the hard one – one wrong step, and you’re just another charity competing for donor funds …”.
Using the funds to best effect
We, naturally enough, were delighted that you generally seem happy that some of the funds received should be used to pay us organisers of Flip the Fleet (see Fig. 2). We managed a smile when someone said “You mean you work for nothing!!” and felt warm fuzzies after reading other comments e.g. “You guys work really hard! We appreciate it!”; “Wages may not be practical but you shouldn’t make a loss so expenses for the organisers etc. is fine”. For some it’s a matter of fairness: “People doing “good” are just as entitled to a fair salary as everyone else. Pay yourselves properly!”.
We appreciate the support in injecting funds here to make Flip the Fleet viable in the long-term. Although we happily put our all into accelerating EV uptake, we have to agree that: “It’s not sustainable if you don’t get paid” and “Presumably voluntary time is already getting near the maximum for a very small group, and clerical assistance will be needed if not already in place”. Halleluiah to that … we are struggling to maintain our day jobs despite some generous part-funding from the government’s Curious Minds and LEV Fund.
Hired guns to generate more income were suggested: “Perhaps pay someone to fill in funding applications so you can fund all those activities”, and “Pay people to research and write: Suggestions on how to make you battery last best, updates on battery replacement options, new fast charger locations planned and finished”. Both are great suggestions to spread some of the load and increase resource support for EVs and their owners.
“Battery” was another hot topic for funding uses. Along with “battery warranty advocacy” aimed at EV manufacturers, battery-related investment ideas included: “Lobbying for improved battery testing/upgrading/refurbishing/replacement services”, and working to “Engage with our university engineering schools to encourage research and students into battery technology”. One participant explained the focus on battery R&D as crucial, as the “uncertainty around battery degradation and the unmet need for replacement batteries is putting some potential purchasers off”. We all know what’s been referred to as “the 30kw battery saga” to be a significant source of apprehension, and if funding could improve battery life and performance then that would likely be money well spent.
“People” sit at the centre of what we’ve achieved so far, but some urged expenditure to make it easier for them to participate. There was considerable support for investing in equipment, e.g. to “buy a bulk supply of OBD2 Dongles and cables to supply at cost and encourage data gathering”. Paying for critical research was also an option e.g. “also pay for research, such as dyno tests to determine the relationship of SOH and range”. Both ideas hold merit – investing funds back into the people driving this project strengthens our ethos of being citizen-led, independent and data-backed, and could help us gain valuable traction.
Looking outside our current conglomerate for like-minded collaborators might also help to step things up a gear. A participant had the idea of: “(co)developing a standard test at the point of sale or at an AA test point for example, that indicates the health of the EV. When buying now the LeafSpy or SOH comes with lots of excuses and error margins, it would be great if an industry standard test can be developed”. This is a prime example of the kind of EV tool development that you collectively have suggested (see Fig. 3) – EV initiatives using data from the people for the people.
Other EV resources, tools and equipment placed upon the table to help current users were better charging stations: “Encouraging plug-in outlets to have input for EACH plug-in variety”, and “legal advice/advocacy for owners with EV vehicle problems”. These are tangible, real scenarios where funding could make a fairly instant, positive difference to the current EV experience. As well as providing subsidies for EV purchase and maintenance, government could also come on-board with charging networks. By “suggesting to government where there are holes in the fast charger network e.g. you try and drive from Nelson to Christchurch in an old 24kWh Leaf”, funding could be allocated to aid any EV user in getting from place to place quicker and with less fuss.
Only 12% of survey participants wanted funding to go into media promotion, mainly because it seems we are succeeding in spreading the word without resorting to direct advertising! Recommended media channels ranged from free options such as: “Word of mouth and the internet” and “interviews on Radio NZ National”, to lower-cost ones like: “Have a logo on an EV or two that you or others drive around”, to a full blown EV campaign. One recommended to: “avoid paying extra for it unless you can very clearly measure the benefit”, while others pointed out that: “There is no need to buy airtime and print space if you can regularly provide the news media with stories or commentary. Case in point: today’s story on RNZ that has Turners Automotive CEO speculating that it will take 25 years to “Flip the Fleet”. It is an opportunity for an EV commentator to make a statement”. Perhaps a mix of traditional and modern is the order of the day, as: “traditional media includes a wider section of the community (papers are now available online), and people without computer access or who don’t do Facebook then have access”.
Not only do we need to consider the where, when and how of EV media presence – we must also cover “what” we choose to put out there! You urged for overwhelmingly positive story telling. Hot topics deemed “controversial like the Leaf 30kWh findings” may help with gaining media exposure, however it may pay to heed the advice to: “talk about the positives in the ads, not the negative 30kw saga”. Obviously we must take upmost care in how we present EV ownership. Pushing the positive seems a more productive and future-focused direction to take to avoid getting bogged down by previous speed bumps.
There is also the question of “who?”. In essence, awareness-raising, promotion and education surrounding EVs may very well remain a citizen-led activity. It has served up pretty darn well so far! So perhaps our funding is best spent empowering current advocates to be able to more easily inform and encourage others to join the EV movement? One opinion resonated with this idea quite nicely, suggesting we: “Make resources available to the wider EV community – so we can help share the information”. As they say, many hands…
A lone comment was shared about conferences and workshops Flip the Fleet could attend and organise, despite support for hosting such events from about 25% of survey completers: “I think there could be huge value in meet-ups combined with short, zappy presentation. Most people want to have more social engagement”.
More ideas welcomed! Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conclusions and recommendations:
Some of you wondered why we asked this question about funding at all. e.g. “Why is funding an issue? Does advocacy cost too much time for some people? If so then a grant for their time is readily obtainable.” The problem is burgeoning time commitment required to run a rapidly growing coalition of willing EV owners! We are immensely grateful for the grants received so far from the Government’s Curious Minds and Low Emission Vehicle Contestable Fund. We wouldn’t have survived without them. The problem is one of growing scale and enthusiasm. Having got the system rolling and hearing your passionate enthusiasm for the kaupapa, we are determined to improve the services we provide (see https://flipthefleet.org/2018/what-do-flip-the-fleet-participants-find-most-useful/), and not let you down. It’s about reciprocity: you give your data and knowledge, we in turn will give as many hours as we can to make the most of your gift for encouraging others to join the EV owners club. Grants are hard won. Five large grants applications have been turned down so far, and each takes more than a week to prepare. This is not a bleat, or just sour grapes – all the grant awarding bodies are oversubscribed by worthy applications and they clearly got better offers than we were able to muster. But somehow, we must find a steady and secure stream of income that doesn’t divert too much time from the real work of analysing your information and communicating its implications.
Many of you were happy to go with our best “professional judgement”, about how to gather and allocate funding: “Any way you like” and to: “do with it whatever you want, as I have no idea of your true goals or motivations”. Another stated “thanks for asking” but also pointed out that they could not reliably comment because they did not have “enough info on the organisation/business plan/direction.” First of all, thanks for putting your trust in us! But perhaps more importantly, this feedback shows greater clarity on future directions might be necessary for participants to feel able to join in the decision-making process. This is a tricky one – it’s tough to predict where Flip the Fleet is headed without more certainty in the funding realm to know what’s feasible and achievable.
It is crystal clear that we need to be extremely careful in choosing funders if we are to retain the independence and trust that are keys to Flip the Fleet being effective advocates of EVs. You urged communication of good and positive stories, but most of you also acknowledged that bad news must come out as well. This survey was conducted during extensive coverage of the 30 kWh battery health uncertainty, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that batteries and the attendant issues of trust and integrity were so prominent. Despite some strongly held divergent opinions, sufficient consensus emerged to formulate the following conclusions and recommendations about where we should get funding from and how we might best spend it:
- Maintain Flip the Fleet’s independence! It is vital if we are to remain a credible, citizen-led project with solid scientific integrity. This is what EV owners are looking for, and what many of you believe is needed to convert potential buyers to every day users.
- Although industry funding seems most obvious and we know they value our data, there is scepticism around how independent Flip the Fleet can be amidst vested interests. If we proceed, we must do so with extreme caution.
- Keep Flip the Fleet as a community-based platform that informs and inspires, not a charity. Participants already give free data, and that’s more than enough.
- Licencing may be a fundraising option that retains our independence, but it likely wouldn’t raise sufficient funds to keep Flip the Fleet
- Government funding seems viable and almost expected with the current political agenda. This should be a funding focal point, and could begin with outreach to EECA and MFE.
- Think of the wider EV impact to reach new funding pools, such as electrical companies, NZTA, AA, Road Transport Federation, climate research, as well as education and business-related EV opportunities.
- Pay, or at least compensate organisers and analysts for the time and effort put into Flip the Fleet
- Tools, test equipment, research, and development should focus on extending battery life, increasing access to and availability of viable charging stations, and presenting comprehensive SOH information to potential EV buyers
- Let word of mouth and lower-cost media options drive the majority of EV promotion, with a focus on the positive aspects of vehicle ownership
- Where possible, invest in developing resources that make it easier for EV owners to spread the word about the benefits of “going EV”
- Develop a transparent business plan to secure the sustainability of this valuable project. Then share it and your motives with the participants.
Your comments in detail:
Below is a lightly edited and re-arranged selection of many of the comments received.
It would be possible to accept funding from vested interests but only with extreme care
“All of the above are possible in some form, although great care would have to be taken with ensuring independence if accepting sponsorship and co-funding” ● “Be careful that any sponsorship does not get in the way of independent analysis” ● “Like the Consumer Institute, I believe we should only accept ‘no strings attached’ funding – all info should be available without advertising” ● “Make sure there are no fish-hooks in industry sponsorship” ● “Non-evasive advertising” ● “Be careful of industry sponsorship … they will soon tell (or influence) you as to what to say” ● “Licensing technology gives credibility to Flip the Fleet if used under the right conditions, i.e. it must not be exploited” ● “Selling advertising is good – could offer owners chance to brand their cars but Flip the Fleet gets lion’s share…? Strict conditions would apply, e.g. keeping car clean”
Fuel suppliers may be safer partners than vehicle manufacturers
“Independence from vehicle manufacturers is important, but you could ask the fuel suppliers for a bit of support (Mercury, Meridian etc)” ● “More support from power supply companies, after all they benefit from selling the power” ● “Electricity companies? No fossil fuel/related companies, obviously…” ● “Industry . . . especially electricity companies who stand to benefit most in increased sales” ● “Could Mercury Energy afford a hundred thousand or so? What about Z? A stretch, maybe” ● “Closer ties with the likes of Meridian”
Never accept funding from vested interests
“Please don’t get in bed with industry. You will lose significant credibility regardless of safeguards” ● “I strongly suggest that you do not accept industry sponsorship as it just creates a potential conflict of interest.” ● “Ideally remain agnostic, would I trust you if you were sponsored by BMW!!” ● “Would like to see you maintain independence from vested interests.” ● “I appreciate the fact Flip-the-fleet is non-profit, independent and ‘community based’ – I would become wary if it was collecting and selling my data, or becoming a mouth piece for industry” ● “Grants and sponsorship would make me extremely suspicious about the independence of Flip the Fleet in the future” ● “Please don’t “sell out” – you will lose your valuable credibility” ● “It would be wrong to ‘sell out’ to a supplier or group as your independence would be compromised” ● “As soon as you touch industry money I believe all credibility would be lost” ● “It is important to maintain the integrity of the data and protect the privacy of users”
Protect our independence at all costs!
“Please don’t become beholden to EV suppliers. Ideally, don’t even give the impression that you *might* be beholden” ● “Stay impartial” ● “Stay true” ● “Better to stay independent of industry” ● “Stay independent!” ● “It is vital to be seen to be independent from all industry/commercial/self-interested sources” ● “Above all – keep our independence. Be seen to be non-biased!” ● “Would be uncomfortable about any industry sponsorship as important to keep independent” ● “I think the independence of Flip the Fleet is important so collaboration/funding from an industry stakeholder could affect people’s perception of results as impartial”
Funding through data sharing – a double-edged sword?
“Getting money for research is doubly valuable because it pays for improved data coming in at the same time as getting the most out of the numbers to understand what we have to do to get more EVs in New Zealand” ● “Sell data back to battery and EV manufacturers” ● “Do not sell data” ● “Please don’t sell the data, even anonymised/aggregated” ● “Don’t sell any data ever. Doing so undermines your credibility which is currently beyond question. No amount of anonymising and aggregating works if hackers are determined to steal private data” ● “Selling data implies that you will restrict access to the information, yet you need to be free to spread the information widely for greatest impact” ● “I’d like to say accept sponsorship and co-funding but worried that might appear to compromise your scientific integrity”
Creative funding sources warrant more thought
“Through vehicle licensing” ● “Provide a service e.g. converting dashboards to English” ● “Definitely exclude sponsorship from vehicle related industry, but not extend this exclusion to e.g. trade or transport interests (e.g. AA, Road Transport Federation)” ● “Sell Flip the Fleet survey information to overseas agencies” ● “Callaghan Innovation?” ● “NZTA and other government organisations cite Flip the Fleet data. Ask them for support. Include in license fee?” ● “Tailor the grants for educational funding, environmental funding, business”
Don’t just maintain independence, reinforce it with our choice of funders
“Try to tap sources that maintain/reinforce the independence of FTF and therefore its credibility” ● “It is an important set of data that should be independent and use grants!” ● “Other sources of income carry some degree of risks of conflict of interest” ● “Other funding sources all raise potential conflicts of interest and questions about independence, bias etc” ● “Obviously need to be careful if accepting sponsorship that the data remains independent” ● “Any fundraising must not be allowed to compromise credibility of Flip the Fleet” ● “Very important that FTF is an independent voice, so I’d rule out sponsorship from industry, but almost any other source would be good”
View Flip the Fleet participants as invested, not investors
“Asking for donations from participants may reduce your contributors – if people don’t want to donate they may feel they shouldn’t participate” ● “Participants are giving you information free and MUST NOT be asked to donate” ● “Basically all of the above except donations – that would make it look like a charity” ● “This is the hard one – one wrong step, and you’re just another charity competing for donor funds …..” ● “In an internet of free, asking for a fee is a challenge” ● “Perhaps if we all paid an annual subscription of say $25, it would provide a meaningful boost, but I don’t know the numbers and if you pitch the sub too high people will walk away”
Take the money with safeguards because the money is needed to improve our evidence
“Go for the lot. The more funds coming in the better the service for us all. He who pays the piper plays the tune – so if you take funds from vested interests make sure you have demonstrated independence and a right to publish everything” ● “Sponsorship is probably ok, but reduces your independence” ● “Should be the car manufacturers and dealers. After all you are promoting their business”
Use FtF data to inform and drive government policies, with compensation in return
“I think the Government should help out, so far promotion on a NZ wide scale is non-existent. They have set the timeline for carbon reduction” ● “EECA?” ● “Government should allocate funding which is then subsidised from selling data (so long as it was anonymous)” ● “Government incentives, e.g. from fuel tax. Sell carbon credits in some way (or provide data to support carbon credits), maybe.” ● “Your data and research based analysis ought to be a valuable resource to underpin the Government’s efforts to increase the EV fleet. You could work in collaboration with or directly supporting a Government funded promotional campaign.” ● “Government should partially fund activities like this” ● “Government support taken from Carbon emitters” ● “Surely the government can provide some monetary support, since they are pushing hard for EV uptake.” ● “Government funding to allow information to perhaps include data on government websites” ● “Solicit Government grants” ● ““Also ask for grants from contestable government funds, like EECA” ● “I thought the Government had an EV fund that could be applied to?” ● “Government” ● “How about the Minister’s Initiative Fund from MFE? You guys are doing the research that could drive government policy and so far you’re doing it for virtually nothing. You have a good case for ongoing funding” ● “Apply for government funding” ● “The current government is looking towards “Carbon (fossil) free 2050”, perhaps a well-funded source” ● “From the government, promoting environmental and financial benefits”
Regardless of funding source, let actions remain true to the FtF ethos
“You’ve already shown that you won’t let commercial sensitivity get in the way of good science” ● “The 30 kWh battery scare shows the value of our independence. As long as people see any money flow as fair and used to accelerate EV uptake, the members will be happy about doing their bit”
Be content with the status quo
“Acknowledging that it takes time and effort for the organisers, perhaps the goal should be not to grow for growth’s sake but to keep doing what it does well”
“Found it hard to answer these because I don’t know what capabilities FTF have and how it’s currently funded” • “I’m not sufficiently close to the industry to give useful comment on this” • “Why is funding an issue? Does advocacy cost too much time for some people? If so then a grant for their time is readily obtainable”
Spread the word! Launch a full-blown EV campaign
“Produce campaign style outputs?” • “Not sure, but maybe some targeted, cost effective advertising – near people who are thinking about EVs. Ask Cambridge Analytica to help (!!)”• “But talk about the positives in the ads not the negative 30kw saga” • “Have a logo on an EV or two that you or others drive around (or maybe you already do this?)” • “I think it’s time to swing the focus from data to using the information collected to get the message out there. Obviously don’t want to drop the ball on the data side though, or the provision of useful new tools for users like me to use to spread the message” • “One would hope that the media will come to you once it goes viral and/or demand increases” • “I think there could be huge value in meet-ups combined with short, zappy presentation. Most people want to have more social engagement” • “Maybe devote a portion to an incentivised fundraiser?” • “I think it is important to spread the word that Flip the Fleet exists and support is there. It has many similarities to car marque clubs” • “Make resources available to the wider EV community – so we can help share the information” • “..the rest should go into spreading the word” • “Traditional media includes a wider section of the community as papers are now available online and people without computer access or who don’t do Facebook, like me, have access”
Subsidise EV users and incentivise future ownership with government support
“Gain better government subsidies for EV users” • “Advocate to government” • “..suggesting to government where there are holes in the fast charger network e.g. you try and drive from Nelson to Christchurch in an old 24kWh Leaf”
Pay or recompense organisers and analysts
“Obviously a lot of time is going in by key players – it’s fair that they get some recompense, especially if it frees up time from other work to help Flip the Fleet grow quicker” • “The volunteers at Flip the Fleet are to be commended for what they are doing. Maybe it is time that some money is made available for compensation of their time” • “They deserve some recompense for their time and effort” • “They deserve some recompense for their time and effort” • “You mean you work for nothing!!” • “It’s not sustainable if you don’t get paid” • “All of the above, and definitely wages. Presumably voluntary time is already getting near the maximum for a very small group and clerical assistance will be needed if not already in place” • “The people behind it should receive some monetary reward (or a regular salary) for their time” • “People doing “good” are just as entitled to a fair salary as everyone else. Pay yourselves properly!” • “You guys work really hard! We appreciate it!” • “Perhaps pay someone to fill in funding applications so you can fund all those activities” • “I think you guys put a lot of time into this, so would be happy to see you get some financial return” • “Wages may not be practical but you shouldn’t make a loss so expenses for the organisers etc. is fine”
Sprinkle funds far and wide and see what (it) takes
“We are just learning to walk, it would be nice to do all of the above” • “All of the above”
Promote and educate through low-cost media channels
“Word of mouth and the internet are the best forms of advertising, avoid paying extra for it unless you can very clearly measure the benefit” • “Would also have said media presence, but think it is possible to get this for free – e.g. interviews on RNZ National” • “There is no need to buy airtime and print space if you can regularly provide the news media with stories or commentary. Case in point: today’s story on RNZ that has Turners Automotive CEO speculating that it will take 25 years to “Flip the Fleet“. It is an opportunity for an EV commentator to make a statement” • “Traditional media presence would be very expensive to buy. Press releases about new and interesting findings are likely to be much more cost-effective, especially if controversial like the Leaf 30kWh findings”
Invest in us; EV support, maintenance, research and development
“Encouraging plug-in outlets to have input for EACH plug-in variety” • “Lobbying for improved battery testing/upgrading/refurbishing/replacement services. Uncertainty around battery degradation and the unmet need for replacement batteries is putting some potential purchasers off” • “Buy a bulk supply of OBD2 dongles and cables to supply at cost and encourage data gathering. Also to pay for research, such as dyno tests to determine the relationship of SOH and range” • “ (co)developing a standard test at point of sale or at AA test point for example, that indicates the health of the EV (when buying now the leaf spy or SOH comes with lots of excuses and error margins, would be great if an industry standard test can be developed)” • “Paying people to research and write: Suggestions on how to make you battery last best, updates on battery replacement options, new fast charger locations planned, finished” • “Advocacy to increase access to charging in public spaces” • “legal advice/advocacy for owners with EV vehicle problems” • “Advocacy for facilities and for others to also buy EVs” • “Engage with our university engineering schools to encourage research and students into battery technology” • “Look at gaining more warranty support from the car manufacturers e.g. Nissan who don’t recognise early Nissan Leafs in NZ” • “battery warranty advocacy”
Put it to the organisers to decide
“Do with it whatever you want as I have no idea of your true goals or motivations” • “Anyway you like” • “I am not competent to answer these questions. I am happy for you to use you professional judgement”
“Unsure” • “No comment” • “Again hard to answer helpfully” • “No comment – not enough info on the organisation/business plan/direction. But thanks for asking” • “I don’t know whether staff are paid enough or not”
Hannah Gentle and Henrik Moller
19 June 2018