Successful racing drivers are so selfish in their pursuit of world titles that someone once joked that they would happily drive over their own mother for an extra championship point. Yet here we are, interviewing Formula E racer Alexander Sims about his charity work giving free electric vehicle chargers to UK businesses for the past nine years.
Through the Zero Carbon World charity, Sims and his colleagues have been giving away 7kW and 22kW charging points manufactured by Viridian EV since 2011. This isn’t motivated by championship points or prizes but rather one man and his team’s dedication to making the world a better place. To date, 700 chargers have been provided to companies with car parks that customers can access, with the goal of trying to accelerate EV uptake and fill some of the gaps in today’s public charging network.
“We support the smaller B&Bs and smaller tourist attractions who don’t have £4000 to install a commercial solution,” said Sims, who chairs the charity as well as racing for the Mahindra Formula E team after a sparkling career in single-seaters that brought him to the cusp of Formula 1.
“Our project is focused towards sites that people go and spend a decent amount of time at while spending money at that location. Our charging points don’t require a membership, so you turn up, you plug in and you charge.”
As you may have gathered already, Sims’ interest in electrification extends far beyond it being a means to securing a professional racing career. Earlier this year, he also broke the Guinness World Record for the shortest time charging an electric car on the run from John O’Groats to Land’s End, completing the 855-mile journey with his co-drivers in a Tesla Model 3 and stopping to charge for just one hour, 31 minutes and 32 seconds. The previous record, set in 2015, was three hours, 44 minutes and 33 seconds, underlining how far battery capacities and public charging capabilities have progressed in the intervening years.
“The charity is here to highlight the progress being made and to ease the transition for motorists,” said Sims.