For the past few months, we've been working with E.ON and their customers on a creative collaboration to design the next generation of energy saving products and services.
We're running a series of challenges on different themes. Members of the collaboration community can submit and discuss ideas, and vote on those they think are best. The winning ideas are taken into further research and development at E.ON. And those who submit them can also win some great prizes.
The first challenge was to find ways of making electric vehicles easier to buy and use. We recently wrapped this up and awarded the prizes. First prize was a 3 month loan of a Mitsubishi i-MiEV car, and installation of a home charging point. John Quinn was the lucky winner, and Clare Gilby from E.ON, who worked with us on the project, travelled up to see him have his car delivered, and the charging point fitted.
You can see a video below:
We asked Clare to tell us about the experience, and how it felt seeing one of our challenges through to fruition. Over to you, Clare!
As I drove my (sadly non-EV) car through some beautiful parts of the Peak District with music blaring and the heating on, on a dull autumnal Thursday, I suppose it was natural to both be excited about meeting John, and seeing the car and charging point, but also curious about how John would get on with the EV in this undulating part of the country.
I suppose it was daft of me, but when it started to drizzle, I was worried if the external electrical work that was needed to put the charging point on the wall would be able to go ahead. I shouldn’t have worried, as this had no effect whatsoever, except for me needing to get my brolly out.
It was fantastic to see the end point of the E.ON Customer Innovation, as we quite often get so immersed in planning and organising a challenge like this — and totally immersed when they’re going on — to actually be there at the end when the winner gets the prize really brought the process to life, especially when the prize is so relevant to the competition. We had wanted to understand what an ideal in-home charging solution from E.ON would look like for your new electric vehicle, and here we were installing an in-home charging solution and delivering a new electric vehicle, albeit for three months. Perfect!
Through the morning, the charging point was expertly installed on the wall, and looked very professional, I really liked the look of the wavy white box. We then waited impatiently for the car to come. It was delivered in a container, so it was like Christmas when it was unwrapped from its box. It looked really stylish when it emerged with its matt black wrap of the car speckled with rain drops. The car is very quiet, but does have a slight murmur to it when first starting to reverse or drive. I can understand why people have dubbed it the Darth MiEV — as well as looking like Darth Vader’s helmet, it even sounds like a car from Star Wars!
John got to have a test drive whilst we were there (no pressure at all), in front of us and the neighbours that had showed an interest in proceedings, and I must admit to being a little gutted not to have had a little go myself! I would love to have the i-MiEV as my car, as it looks so good, and would be interested to see if it would fit into my lifestyle with a young family and a slight commute into work each day, although at least working for E.ON I’d be able to charge it up at work!
I can’t wait to see how John gets on over the next three months and — seeing how close the insight that our customers gave us on the challenge was to reality, reinforcing that innovating with our customers is the right thing to do! — I wonder what challenge we’ll look at next...
John is also blogging about his experiences with the car, and we'll be checking back with him over the next 3 months to see how it goes.