This week we talked to Asif Ghafoor, the CEO of Be.EV, about their expanding electric vehicle charging network and the importance of sustainability in business.
To get started, why don’t you tell us a bit about Be.EV and what you do?
Our mission is to build an electric vehicle charging network that offers fair and equal access for all.
Starting with Greater Manchester and expanding across the North, we want to promote an EV driving community so that nobody is ever far from a charger. Making the North a greener place at the same time.
Working with Transport for Greater Manchester and many public and private sectors, we have already made fantastic inroads in getting the network in place, but we are conscious that our network needs to be suitable for all needs – whether that’s more chargers, faster chargers or chargers with longer dwelling time – there’s a lot to consider!
You have some big goals for Be.EV, such as building a network of over 1000 vehicle chargers across the North of England. What has your progress been like so far?
We’re working with local authorities, NHS trusts, universities as well as private businesses. That means we have focused on local roll-outs, like in Trafford for example, where local people will be seeing lots of new charging hubs springing up within the next few months. But we also work with individual businesses and organisations – from our first charging destination in Yorkshire, Thornton Hall, to the new community mosque in Cheadle. We’re signing up – and looking for – new sites all the time and are putting in more banks or mini-hubs, rather than individual chargers.
Be.EV already does so much for the planet, why make your workforce climate positive with Play it Green?
We’re all passionate about sustainability. The electricity we feed to our chargers is green, and with our charging hub designs we will introduce trees, native plants and community spaces rather than replicating the petrol forecourt.
But it’s important to us not to rest on our green laurels. By partnering with Play It Green we hope to come up with even more cost-effective solutions to understand how lots of little changes can help us make an even bigger impact.
How do your staff find it? Have they been using the weekly tips?
Our whole team is keen to be part of a bigger movement to reduce our footprint and repair our planet, but we’ve got a lot to learn. The tips and advice from Play it Green, such as examples of what other businesses are doing and how we can improve things as individuals, definitely give us all more to think about and act on.
What would you say to businesses that haven’t yet any steps to be more sustainable?
Time is running out on the climate crisis; people want to see what businesses are doing to improve their carbon footprint. Becoming more sustainable is not only essential for future generations, but it can also have a positive impact on business from the bottom-line up: efficiency and cost saving, future-proofing, improved reputation, staff well-being and pride. And if that’s not reason enough, there is also an opportunity for businesses to increase their profit margins by making more sustainable choices.
If you want to take a look at EV charging as part of that, talk to us. We can help you do it well and avoid common mistakes.
Do you currently have anything planned to reduce your footprint further?
We plan to be the catalyst that turns the whole North (and beyond) green. By putting in a network that makes driving an EV more convenient, we are making sustainability more accessible for consumers.
That will help reduce not only our footprint, but the footprint of the whole transport system.
What does the future hold for Be.EV generally?
We want to change the North for the better and have some radical, but well-thought-through plans.
Not only does this mean changing our neighbourhoods and urban spaces for the better by expanding our network, but also working with future investors and consumers to build better, more sustainable infrastructure.
There is still a big educational job to be done around EV charging, to ensure everybody can rally around and make the switch to electric happen. Consumers and businesses need to feel comfortable abandoning their petrol cars. It’s up to us and our partners to engage anybody who can help – in the public or private sector – to create the sense that it’s safe to switch. No mean feat, but we like a challenge!
As a Play it Green business member, Be.EV is reducing their footprint with weekly tips and through our Net Zero Framework, planting trees to balance the carbon emissions of its entire workforce, and regiving 10% to their chosen charity, Shelter, to support those facing or experiencing homelessness.
You can visit the Be.EV Forest Garden here.
Find out how Play it Green can help your business