Meet the Sustainability Leader: Rising Star, Charlie Jardine
With entries now open for edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2019 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our Rising Sustainability Star award, Charlie Jardine.
Charlie Jardine founded electric vehicle (EV) charging manufacturer EO Charging in 2015 and has grown the business from a small start-up operating out of a pig shed on his grandfather’s farm, to a company with a global footprint, present in more than 25 countries around the world.
Now managing a team of more than 20 employees and an international distribution network that includes partners in Norway, Thailand and Australia, Charlie is pushing towards a company vision of helping individuals to remove dependency on the grid through integration with renewable energy generation and storage devices. Despite the firm’s infancy, EO Charging has already secured contracts with huge UK-based logistics firms and global blue chips such as Uber, Addison Lee and Google.
For Charlie, who was 28 years old at the time of his entry submission, EV charging is the first piece of the puzzle in the company’s renewable energy vision. EO Charing was conceived from Charlie’s vision of ‘Electricity Online’, where chargers act not just solely as a plug, but also a gateway to a revolutionised grid system that integrates e-mobility into the ongoing low-carbon transition.
At a personal level, Charlie is spearheading innovation in the sector by leading a ‘Low Emission Freight Trial’ with Gnewt Cargo and ‘V2GO’ – an Oxford-based consortium of eight businesses developing a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charger that enables bidirectional charging.
Both the projects are supported by Innovate UK, but it is the Low Emission Freight Trial – aimed at demonstrating commercial benefits of EVs for final-mile delivery in London– where EO Charging and Charlie have been able to compile compelling evidence that supports the firm’s EV vision. Driven by Charlie’s leadership skills and passion for the sector, the trial has uncovered notable environmental and economic findings that have helped to build the business case for e-mobility.
The trial found that one large diesel van consumes the same amount of equivalent fuel as six electric vans, while one diesel LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) is 45% more expensive to operate per km than an electric equivalent. The trial has also suggested that a London-based EV revolution could provide up to a £60m benefit to the environment, and a total cost reduction of £1.7bn to LGV operators.
However, Charlie views EV charging as a piece of a wider low-carbon transition and is currently focusing on integrating third-party software into EO’s cloud platform – including fleet telematics providers. These integrations will enable businesses to clearly see the financial and environmental benefits of electrification, similar to those highlighted as part of the trial.
Moreover, EV chargers are just the first step for EO Charging. The company is planning to move into producing an integrate renewable energy ecosystem that includes solar PV, battery storage and emerging technologies that all interact and support each other as part of a low-carbon future. As with any start-up, EO Charging has faced numerous hurdles in developing products and generating revenue. But driven by Charlie’s leadership, the company has successfully established itself as an innovative mainstay in a fast-paced and constantly evolving sector.
Charlie has big plans for EO Charging to roll out its technologies and future innovations to all 25 of its global markets. In fact, he has global aspirations for the business and plans to begin manufacturing and distributing proprietary hardware in a number of other countries. Global aspirations will likely be supported by the number of large contracts that firm has secured to date, including assisting the likes of Uber, Ikea, Ocado, DHL and Hampshire Police Force switch their fleets to electric.
Charlie’s dedication to the EV market doesn’t stop with his clients. Almost all of his employees have been given access to or drive an EV, including access to free-to-use chargers installed outside of Charlie’s office – a facility which he is currently working to make more sustainable. The company is exploring ways to utilise more recycled product packaging and increasing recycling within the office and is also examining the viability of switching to green energy providers to power the office in the near future.
Despite managing this team of more than 20 people, Charlie still regularly meets with installers and sustainability professionals to answer any questions or discuss the latest developments in the industry. In fact, Charlie is still the first port of call for all clients that have installed large EO Charging infrastructure. Charlie wants to become a leader of tomorrow, across the automotive, renewable and energy sectors. His success to date with EO Charging demonstrates the trajectory in which he has set for personal, business and leadership growth.
“I’m very proud of [this award], which is not just about me, but about EO Charging, and what we’ve done in the past five years," Charlie told edie. “I’m pleased to take this for the company – not for myself.”
What the judges said: “Charlie is what this new award is all about, changing an industry and cutting carbon emissions in an extraordinarily short space of time. Charlie’s bravery, determination and innovation should be an inspiration to anyone in the sector.”
edie’s 2020 Sustainability Leaders Awards
Now entering their 13th year for 2020, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards are sure to be one of the biggest nights of the year in the sustainability and energy space, with some exciting new categories added to recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business.
The 2020 Sustainability Leaders are now OPEN for entries. The entry deadline is Friday 27 September 2019. The Awards will then take place on the night of 5 February 2020 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster.