A Future That Is Yet To Be Written

Damien Scott, Director of EV Product Strategy, BrightDrop joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss energy and the role that managing energy usage in real-time will play in a future with electrified transportation.

The conversation begins with Damien discussing growing up in Botswana, flying around the country with his father who was a medical doctor and why his parents made the decision to homeschool him and his sisters.

One of the amazing things about living on a remote game farm in Botswana is you have to become incredibly practical fixing vehicles, borehole pumps, electricity frequently goes down, and so there is a lot of direct exposure to the fundamental things that we use in our life.

– Damien Scott

Having been exposed to medicine and aviation at an early age, Damien made the decision to go into technology after being inspired by science fiction. He wanted to work on technology that would bring about some of the more positive visions of the future that involved energy and transportation.

While living on the farm, Damien’s father installed their first solar powered borehole pump, which reduced the families dependence on diesel. This was the first time that Damien was exposed to solar and the true benefits of the technology. Having experienced solar energy in a remote part of the world first-hand, Damien discusses the opportunities that he sees for solar energy.

The market for renewable energy such as solar continues to grow and is projected to make up 27% of the world’s energy by 2050, coal still accounts for 27% of the world’s primary energy, roughly the same level as 50 years ago. In 50 years from now, how will the world’s mix of energy sources change?

This is the big question. I think it boils down to a set of actions that technology companies will take, the policy makers will take. It’s not determined what this mix is going to look like, it is really ours as a species to make these decisions.

– Damien Scott

Energy demand is growing globally and The US Energy Information Administration is projecting that the global energy demand will grow by 47% by 2050. To be prepared to handle this increase in demand, we have to start paying attention to energy demand and its impact on the energy grid.

One of the first things to look at is, can we optimize what we have already and take the assets that we have the electricity grid we have today and the one that we expect to evolve in the short to medium term and just use it more efficiently.

– Damien Scott

What happens when you electrify large fleets of commercial vehicles? What will their impact be on the energy grid? How do you manage the energy usage. This is the problem that Marain set out to fix and they are now doing it as part of BrightDrop.

In order to create the future that we want, we have to simulate it. It’s really expensive to make the wrong decisions in our infrastructure buildout with the electricity grid.

– Damien Scott

This approach will ensure that commercial EV fleet owners are properly prepared and not caught flat footed as they scale up their global electric vehicle fleets. As we are still early in the adoption of electric vehicles, the future is yet to be written in terms of how fleet operators will manage their fleets.

Wrapping up the conversation, Damien shares his thoughts on the future of global energy consumption.

The next decade leading up to 2030 is going to be the most important for energy and transportation across all areas, technology, business models, policy.

– Damien Scott

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Recorded on Tuesday August 9, 2022