CEO Insight – Fully Charged hits 100,000th test drive at Harrogate, hints at future plans after hard 18 months in the UK

CEO Insight – Fully Charged hits 100,000th test drive at Harrogate, hints at future plans after hard 18 months in the UK

There is no doubt about it, leading the Fully Charged SHOW has been the privilege of my working life over the last 8 or so years – and if asked I would wholeheartedly sign up for another 15 years – but it has been incredibly challenging too. The last 18 months have been especially hard and this is almost entirely due to conditions here in the UK, something I want to expand upon now that I have a spare moment (bank holiday) to do so. After all from the outside looking in, I’d imagine that to some, the Fully Charged SHOW (and its Everything Electric exhibitions globally), might seem like an unstoppable battery-powered juggernaut.

Having just delivered our 3rd major exhibition in little more than 3 months – in Sydney, London and Harrogate – I think our team can be forgiven for reflecting on what we’ve achieved against the odds. Event organising is a gruelling affair at the best of times, not least because of the hard, immovable deadlines. And this is not to forget that our YouTube content production team has 4 hard (and mostly immovable) deadlines each and every week. Now beneath what you can see above the waterline, it’s important to remember that there is a small team of (admittedly, incredibly talented) individuals. Human beings working extraordinarily hard for the cause.

I’d like to pay tribute to each and every one of the team, because they have been through a hell of sorts, especially over the last 9 months as economic conditions in the UK have started to impact our business hard.

First of all, this weekend’s Everything Electric NORTH has reminded us of the power of these exhibitions to convert thousands of consumers to cleaner technologies. The Harrogate show has such a unique atmosphere, with the stunning scenery surrounding the Yorkshire Event Centre. Even the rain on the final day couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of those in attendance. A combination of bad weather – meteorologically, economically and politically speaking – meant that this year’s show only grew by a smaller fraction than expected (attendee numbers up by 4%, with 15,671 in total) but in spite of that the organising team and exhibitors alike are delighted with the final result. Most strikingly though, this show brought up an extraordinary milestone for the Fully Charged / Everything Electric events: After 15 exhibitions globally, we have now inspired 100,000 electric test drives, and converted countless thousands to electric vehicles in the process. The car industry is just coming to truly understand the huge impact that test drives have when it comes to convincing consumers to drive electric, as evidenced by what battery electric vehicle manufacturers said at the recent Everything Electric AUSTRALIA show, and we are doing more than anyone in the multi-brand electric test drive market.

When we started running test drives at the Fully Charged LIVE exhibitions in 2018, we only had the slightest inkling of how important test drives would become. We now run thousands of multi-brand test drives at each of our Everything Electric exhibitions around the world, and no matter how many test drives we deliver, we cannot match demand from our audience. Key to this success is a global audience of millions of repeat (~55%) and imminent (~45%) BEV buyers, that we have grown over 14 years on YouTube and 7 years of physical events. Tesla & BYD have benefited most from these test drives, but more and more other OEMs are waking up to the critical importance of this offering. With 100,000 test drives to date, we hope to hit the 200,000 mark by the end of 2025, and to run 10 exhibitions every year by 2030 (see details at foot of this blog). Our commitment extends beyond electric vehicles of course, and even casual observers cannot help but have noticed the huge strides we have made in making home energy our other focal ‘segment’ both on our Everything Electric YouTube channel and at our exhibitions. There are other growth segments we are targeting but it’s safe to say that we have the #1 electric home and motor shows on the planet, and we are only just getting started.

But – and it’s a big but – the last 18 months have demonstrated that as a small start-up we remain extremely vulnerable to the economic and political conditions of the countries in which we operate. While we have found overseas markets to be buoyant and fast-growing, not least Australia where interest from states themselves like Queensland and Victoria to add another exhibition to our calendar in 2025 is very strong. On the flipside, the UK market has seen a perfect storm of negative conditions. On top of pre-existing pressures the disastrous economic consequences of Liz Truss’ mini-budget, and the rampant inflation that followed it, really began to bite in January 2023. Before we had even had the chance to overcome that, Rishi Sunak’s rollbacks (including the ZEV mandate in September 2023) sent catastrophic signals to investors in cleaner technologies, and were followed by recessionary conditions that saw our exhibition client base significantly restrain its spending over the winter months. In fact, a sizable number of our customers began ‘rightsizing’ their business models to reflect their reduced circumstances, while several went out of business. And it scarcely needs mentioning that in addition to these economic and political issues, mass media misinformation in the UK has played its part in flattening out demand for electric vehicles in particular. To give a specific example, while EV sales in the Netherlands for example is at 32% of new vehicle sales in April 2024, the UK is only at 17.1% for the same period, and yet, the 2 countries were neck and neck 18 months ago. All of this impacted us to such an extent over the last 9 months, that for the first time we had to reduce our team size by letting several talented people go. Even though we have been able to maintain content and event output quantity and quality, this has put massive pressure on those that remained, and emotionally speaking, for a tight-knit ‘family’ like ours, hurts like hell.

That is why when building out our future plans for exhibitions, the political and economic outlook in any area are now our primary considerations. At the moment, it’s Australia that has the best conditions for us to succeed should we add a second show. Canada has its own elections in October, the results of which will likely dictate whether we stick with a single exhibition there for the moment, or expand. As you might imagine, while we have a huge audience in the US, the forthcoming presidential election and both parties’ antipathy to overseas car companies, are factors that are giving us considerable pause for thought. In Europe, we have had two shows in the Netherlands now, but recent political events there will see EV subsidies slashed in 2025 and other relevant policies rolled back to such an extent that we believe the next 18 months there will be beset by turbulence too. With an election looming in the UK, we have a little more optimism that a more positive environment for clean energy and electric vehicles is imminent, however we might reduce our UK exhibition output in 2025, before ramping up again in 2026 – I am pleased to say though that Everything Electric LONDON will return to ExCel in April 2025, and that we have high hopes of Everything Electric SOUTH this coming October.

Our line-up for the next 12 months is as follows, and we will once again be running at least 5 exhibitions in 2025, with the intention of moving to 6 in 2026, 7 in 2027, and so on until we reach 10 in 2030:

  • Everything Electric CANADA Vancouver Convention Centre – 6th, 7th & 8th September 2024
  • Everything Electric (UK) SOUTH Farnborough International – 11th, 12th & 13th October 2024
  • Everything Electric AUSTRALIA Sydney Showground – 7th, 8th & 9th March 2025
  • Everything Electric (UK) LONDON ExCel – 16th, 17th & 18th April 2025
  • Everything Electric EUROPE, USA & (UK) NORTH – dates for 2025, 2026 & 2027 to be confirmed

To accelerate the growth of the business, we anticipate that we will be acquired (by an appropriate party) in the second half of 2025. But don’t worry Robert, myself and our team remain committed over the long-term.

To partner, exhibit or sponsor at future exhibitions, or take advantage of our wider digital and content creation offering email:

All that remains to be said, on behalf of our whole team, is thanks for the staunch support you have shown us come rain or shine! Keep smiling and #StopBurningStuff

Dan Caesar, CEO, Fully Charged Show Ltd