We sat down with Autumn Binns, Sales and Marketing Executive for the public charge point operator Believ, to discuss how the Electric Vehicle (EV) charging landscape is changing, advice for newcomers to the industry and the collective responsibility to ensure the EV charging industry is as diverse and representative as the people who will one day rely on it.
How long have you been working in EV infrastructure?
I’ve been working at Believ for seven months. I started in a temporary position but have enjoyed it so much that I am now staying on in a permanent role as a Sales and marketing executive.
Do you have a background in EV’s and if not, where did your career begin?
I’ve always wanted to work for an organisation with a clear moral and ethical purpose. Previously I’ve worked in charities like the RNIB, Marie Curie and Centre Point and have developed a passion for roles that contribute to making a real-world impact on people’s lives as well as the well-being of our planet. And although this is my first role in the EV charging industry, I feel the same drive and focus that comes with having a collective purpose.
As someone who is new to the industry do you feel optimistic about the future/where the industry is going?
Being new to this industry can help provide a fresh perspective – one that is divorced from outdated values. To me, it’s an exciting, dynamic space to be in. I’m seeing developments, partnerships, and tech every day that is furthering the extensive roll-out of EV infrastructure in the UK. Although we still have far to go in reaching government ambitions of 300,000 charge points by 2030, I’m positive that if all charge point operators have the same drive and focus and are committed to ensuring cleaner air for all, the industry will be in safe hands.
Why do you want to work in EV infrastructure?
Firstly, I wanted to work in an industry that was positively contributing to the welfare of the environment. Electric vehicles, and the infrastructure that will facilitate them, is the single most important element in ensuring cleaner air in our towns and cities and will significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as we welcome the ban of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030. Personally, as someone at the beginning of their career, it’s a privilege to professionally grow in parallel with an industry which is also continuously evolving – there is a comfort in that. For me, Believ has been the perfect company to work for as someone who is totally new to the industry, they’ve supported me in filling any gaps in my knowledge and giving me the opportunity to be a part of exciting industry events to learn and grow.
What’s different about this industry than any other?
Due to the urgent need for charge points in the UK and the fast-approaching 2030 deadlines advised by government, the EV infrastructure industry is set apart from any other. The deployment of widespread EV infrastructure that is publicly accessible and supports those without home charging is, now, urgent. It is both exciting and daunting in equal measure, but there is comfort in knowing that we are all still learning and growing. As a new industry, we have a collective responsibility to get things right from the start that may have been overlooked or not prioritised in the past. We need to ensure our industry is one that is progressive and embraces and encourages diversity. We have an incredible opportunity to ensure that people delivering EV infrastructure is more representative. Indeed, at Believ we’ve already achieved 50/50 gender equity, setting the standard from which I hope other charge point operators will follow.
Have you had any issues as a woman in the tech/stem orientated industry which has traditionally been male dominated?
I’ve found that the biggest issue facing women and girls is the lack of education from a primary and secondary level on STEM and tech subjects. At school we were always pushed into subjects based on our gender, or at least that’s how it felt. I think it’s important to demonstrate how choosing tech/STEM subjects at an early age can really help to shape your career.. Everything you learn impacts you in later life. Sometimes we’re only educated on the things we truly care about at university when it might feel too late.
How does protecting the environment influence your life outside of work, and has working at Believ informed this?
Working in this space has made me increasingly conscious of how my own actions impact the environment, although for many years, I never thought that I could make a difference by just changing small habits. Working at Believ and in an industry striving to end our reliance on fossil fuels demonstrated to me that although my conscious decisions might not have the biggest effect on the fight against climate change, if we help to educate through our own actions, we can have a collective impact on a goal that we should all care about. Due to this, I don’t eat meat at home, I have a reusable water bottle that I use daily, and I now always remember to recycle!