We have welcomed a new member to Rapid's EV team in 2019. Jim Rugg has joined us as our EV Technical and Specifications Manager. Here is a quick Q&A to find out a little more about Jim and what he will be doing at Rapid.
Welcome to Rapid Jim. How did you get here?
JR: I have worked in the renewables and energy sector for ten years, specialising on EV charging within both technical and sales roles, as well as working in areas like solar PV, battery storage, renewable heating and energy management. I studied business at Canterbury Christ Church University and I am also a qualified Level 3 commercial energy assessor.
What will be your main duties in your new role?
JR: I will play a key part in developing Rapid's EV strategy in the UK and making the company a one-stop-shop for EV charging. This will include working closely with new and existing supply and installation partners, providing training, project specification and technical support. The EV team of Bill Lowther and myself will be working closely with product managers and other colleagues within Rapid to ensure we offer the best possible portfolio and service.
What attracted you to this position?
JR: It felt like a perfect fit really. For the past year Rapid has been developing a strong focus on the EV market, with Bill and our MD James Bates forming key strategic partnerships with Schneider Electric and EO Charging as well as building a network of installation partners. There is a huge willingness to invest and grow the EV business. I have been an EV driver myself for four years and have a real passion and expertise for the industry. It's also a really exciting time to be involved in this market.
What will you be looking to achieve in the short, medium and long term as Rapid’s EV Technical & Specifications Manager?
JR: In the short term it will be to support our existing customer base and building new relationships. I will be further developing my knowledge and expertise in this ever-evolving market (every day is an EV school day). We will also be installing an EV charging station at Rapid's head office and expanding our training opportunities.
In the medium term I will be looking to build our product portfolio to cover all aspects of EV (from switchgear to carports), strengthening our in-house training and developing a new dedicated EV website. In the long term I would like to see Rapid become the leading distributor of EV charging products and solutions in the UK, taking in other elements into the energy mix such as solar PV and battery storage.
Looking at the EV industry as a whole, what do you see as the biggest challenge the industry faces?
JR: It's really important that we open up the public charging network by removing the need for complex subscriptions and memberships. We will need to provide a solution to the increased demand and strain that battery charging will place on the National Grid. At the moment we are seeing manufacturers putting more emphasis on moving their stock of petrol and diesel vehicles rather than investing in EV.
Do you think the 2040 deadline for petrol & hybrid car sales in the UK is too challenging, or not challenging enough?
JR: I strongly believe that this deadline is not challenging enough. We are starting to see the investment in R&D from the major vehicle & charging manufacturers, resulting in bigger batteries, longer ranges and more competitive pricing. There is increasing public awareness of the negative impact of petrol and diesel engines on the environment and the long term cost benefits of the low emission alternative. The EV infrastructure is receiving significant investment from central and local government.
The next five years will be a turning point in e-mobility. Think about what happened with the smartphone revolution and how quickly that evolved!
What's the best piece of advice you've heard in your career, or quote that inspires you?
JR: I will have to give this to one of my favourite movie characters, Rocky Balboa. “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
It's not all work, work, work. What do you enjoy doing outside the office?
JR: I am a big sports fan and enjoy watching boxing, UFC and rugby. As well as being a keen runner (I did the Great North Run last year) I also play for a local football team and support West Ham United. I also consider myself a bit of an Internet of Things geek, and have smart lights and speakers all round the house. I also enjoy reading books on business leaders like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and Phil Knight.