Green Car Guide has been running for more than 16 years, initially with a focus on cleaner, less-polluting models, but quickly focusing on electric cars as the market grew. We discuss the site's origins, plans, and general market trends with its creator Paul Clarke - a highly-respected name in the green car market.
How long has Green Car Guide been going, and how did you start the site?
Green Car Guide was the UK’s first green car site, founded in May 2006 – yes, that’s 16 years ago! I wanted a greener car for my company but when I looked online I couldn’t find any source of information about this so I thought I’d put a resource together myself.
I had run a company specialising in communication about the environment, sustainability, climate change and renewable energy since 1991, so I was aware that all these areas were going to be big issues in the future.
I had also done some work as a motoring journalist, as well as having a varied driving background, from motorsport to the military, so I decided to bring cars and the environment together, because no-one else was doing that.
What makes Green Car Guide different to most motoring sites is that we have always reviewed cars from the perspective of how good they are as cars and how green they are.
How have you seen visitors/feedback develop as greener cars have come to the fore?
Having driven EVs for over 10 years it seems to have taken quite a long time to get to the point we’re at now with the variety of EVs that are on sale and the numbers that are being bought by businesses and individuals.
In the EV industry virtually everyone sees EVs as the way ahead; however there are still many motorists that I speak to that don’t see EVs as the way forward; although there are some myths quoted around petrol cars being better than EVs etc, the main issue – which is a very real issue for many people – is affordability (and lack of supply of EVs at the moment).
What are you most excited to see in the near future for both the site and the electric vehicle/EV charging industry?
Green Car Guide has always been a secondary business because I’ve been very busy with my main company, Automotive Comms, which specialises in communication in the EV industry.
However – after 16 years – the team at Green Car Guide is growing and we are currently developing an increasing number of partnerships with like-minded people and businesses in the EV sector.
We specialise in independent and expert reviews of electric cars, and we are also now providing more content – writing and our own EV photography – to other organisations.
Now that we have developed a platform for working with partners, our mission is to expand so that we can create more engaging content about EVs and the increasing number of new models that are being launched.
What do you feel is done well in the UK’s electric vehicle & charging market?
If you look at the UK in a global context then we’re ahead of many countries in terms of EVs and charging, but there are also countries that are ahead of us.
EVs are increasing their share of sales, and the benefit in kind tax incentives for EVs are a key factor in this, along with lower running costs.
The plug-in car grant was also an incentive, but this has now gone. There are certainly more chargers being installed every month, although there are now more EVs than chargers at most (but not all) motorway services that I stop at.
And what can be improved?
My view is that the most important thing for the UK is that we need a government that has sustainable development as its main priority.
This would cover many areas, including the environment, and energy; successive governments have not had the foresight to develop a renewable energy strategy for the UK and the entire country is now paying the price.
It would also include a big vision for the UK to become a leader in the manufacture of EVs and their supply chain. The challenge with all of these things is that they should have happened many years ago.
Aside from this we need global geopolitical issues to be resolved so we can increase EV supply volumes (as well as reducing energy prices, etc). If anyone knows someone who can sort all the above please let us all know.
What role do you think parking companies such as YourParkingSpace can play in the switch to EVs?
I’m sure someone has already worked this out… but when EVs are parked, they can be charging… and charging on a driveway at a home should be cheaper than public charging… so companies such as YourParkingSpace can play an important role in providing parking and charging. And when more EVs are seen on people’s drives, their neighbours will see them and hopefully want one…
Where do you see sites like yours in three years’ time?
We’ll be working with more partners to produce more engaging communication about EVs to reach more people.
What EV do you drive (if any) - and what’s your dream car?
I’m very fortunate to have been sent a new car to review every week for 16 years – and these are all now electric cars. So my last personal car sat on the drive for 10 years and never got used so I don’t have my own car now.
In terms of my dream car, you can read my reviews to discover lots of great EVs from many brands, however at the time of writing the Kia EV6 is a brilliant car – but every month there are really good new EVs being launched – which we will continue to communicate about.
Who do you think is doing well in positively influencing the EV and EV charging space?
I’ve known Robert Llewellyn for a number of years and we have done some work together, and it’s great that Robert, with Dan and the team at Fully Charged, have communicated so engagingly and widely about EVs and renewable energy.