Fully Charged spreads its wings (again) in 2022

Fully Charged spreads its wings (again) in 2022

After 2 years of COVID, you could be forgiven for feeling cooped up. We certainly do.

This is not to diminish the terrible tragedy that so many have experienced, but for those of us lucky enough not to have been touched by the disease, a return to relative normality seems possible now.

Fully Charged is famous for many things, but one of the ways we differed from 99% of YouTube channels is in the scale and scope of what we try to cover, and the countries we visit to do so.

While Robert and I couldn’t be prouder of the 300+ episodes the team have produced in the last two years, it’s right to reflect that we achieved this in spite of having our wings well and truly clipped.

If it wasn’t for Elliot in China these last 18 months, an extremely high proportion of our output would have been UK-based, and as you will be aware the global energy transition is creating incredible stories all across the world.

However, these long 24 months, have given us the opportunity for introspection about where we film, and perhaps most pertinently how we get there.

So as the barriers lower – I can’t lie – it is exciting to see the team take to the road or rail again.

Helen, George, Imogen and Andy recently took the train to Rotterdam to film GE’s Haliade X wind turbine.

When you see this ‘sea monster’ in all its majesty you get a sense of the scale of the energy transition, and of what we’ve been missing on the channel.

There was an opening scene in Oxfordshire in Jack’s recent review of the BMW i4 that took my breath away, but there’s a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about shooting beyond British shores.

And as you might expect we have lots of episodes planned in Europe ahead of Fully Charged LIVE Amsterdam. After all, in North West Europe, despite the paperwork, very low carbon travel is relatively straightforward.

But electric cars and electric trains can only take us so far. And when it comes to far-flung climes, as an environmentally-aware team we have harder decisions to make.

For all its ills, the pandemic accelerated our plans to employ presenters and crew in countries in which the energy revolution arouses the curiosities of our audience.

We now have a presenter network that spans China, South Korea, Australia, Scandinavia and North America and which enables us to film where we want with a much, much lower impact.

Does it mean we will never fly again with work? Not quite, but we are working on it.

Electric flight is a subject that we find absolutely fascinating and we are immersing ourselves in it this year. Expect episodes on the most realistic technologies, such as short range e-planes and urban e-VTOL.

Furthermore we are working with this emerging industry to build a Future of Flight attraction at Fully Charged LIVE Farnborough.

We recognise that long-haul flying is amongst the most intractable issues when it comes to decarbonisation, and like many of you we are working to wean ourselves off of it.

Personally, I stringently try to avoid flying, and since both of our kids were born, our holidays have been here at home in the UK or via the Eurotunnel.

But I am not a saint, and it’s not that easy for everyone. Take Robert for example, he had the good fortune to marry an Australian, and who would begrudge someone seeing their loved ones from time to time?

In my opinion, this falls into a completely justifiable category that I term ‘flying with purpose’.

As a business we will be making a few trips in the next year or so that fall into that category, and that are being done so we don’t have to do them again.

For example, Jack is off to Oslo soon, and as well as filming a few episodes in a single trip to maximise efficiency, he will also be training up our new Norwegian presenter (Molly) so she can be our go-to guide to all things Scandinavian.

Meanwhile, there will need to be a transatlantic trip to train up our new North American presenter (Ricky).

Additionally, we will be choosing venues in the US and Canada (yes, you heard it here first), appointing a team there, and to ensure standards, we will have to attend the inaugural events themselves.

However, it is our stated ambition that once our LIVE events around the world have been launched successfully, neither Robert nor I will attend them in person, as we will have set up the infrastructure required to run them at arms’ length.

And why are we running these events in the first instance? Well, selfishly we are working to increase Fully Charged’s influence and audience around the world, but above all we are doing that to accelerate the transition to sustainable technologies.

We think that those best intentions occasionally justifies us flying with purpose, but no-one will be happier than us when we can fly across the Atlantic guilt-free. Although I am not sure Robert, nor I will see that in our lifetimes.

That said, over the last decade electrification has shown it has the power to surprise. And if it does become possible you will see it first on the Fully Charged Show.