Spotlight on... Gurjeet, Director of Operations at Octopus Electric Vehicles
Octopus Energy is made up of 1000+ fantastic people working on stuff you'd never expect, all pushing hard towards a shared goal: driving the global green energy revolution. In our Spotlight series, we'll introduce you to some of the brilliant people behind the scenes.
Launched in 2017, Octopus Electric Vehicles (OEV) is the UK's go-to Electric Vehicle specialist, with an end to end offering including car leasing, EV charge points and amazing OE smart tariffs all done in house. Their goal is to empower people to make the switch to electric cars, with a friendly approach that always puts the customer first.
I had a chat with Gurjeet, their brilliant Director of Operations, to discuss what it’s like being at the forefront of the future of transportation.
Samsam: Can you describe exactly what Octopus EV does?
At our core, we make the transition to electric vehicles easier for individuals and businesses.
Gurjeet: Our core product is Salary Sacrifice (like Cycle to Work) and we operate in other areas too. Across these, it is really important to us to provide a holistic experience so we handle the entire journey for customers, starting from getting them into their perfect EV, installing a fab charging point and then signing them up to one of our specialist tariffs to power their car with green energy. We’re unique in being able to do all of this in house to ensure a seamless customer experience. Importantly, we are an independent company and can therefore provide honest feedback and recommendations to our customers and really look after them.
Samsam: Tell me a little about your role at Octopus?
Gurjeet: I am the Director of Operations at Octopus Electric Vehicles. My role is to work alongside and enable my teams to build and grow an operationally sound business so that our customers have an amazing experience as we help them transition to electric transport. When I first joined, our EV department was testing out different operating models. We’re now a fully fledged business ordering and delivering hundreds of cars a month to our customers.
My days are really varied because my operations teams cover so much from Customer Operations to Account Management and Procurement. At one point, I might be working on building out processes for our teams as we grow. Next, I might be brainstorming on how we provide better car servicing experiences through our partners. Another moment, I could be working with my team to negotiate large volume deals with car manufacturers to secure stock for customers. I love the variety and working with great people in so many areas.
Samsam: What drew you to OEV initially?
Gurjeet: Sustainability is incredibly important to me and I wanted to be a part of the crucial movement to protect our planet and lead the path to Net Zero. It was also an incredible opportunity to become a part of the Octopus Energy family and work directly with customers using an incredible tech platform, alongside a team of amazing people led by Fiona, who I am very happy I get to work with.
Samsam: The EV team has grown massively in the past few years, can you tell me a little about what it’s like being a part of this rapidly growing team?
Gurjeet: When we first started we were all doing 10 different jobs and it didn’t matter whether you were the director or anyone else; everyone was chipping in and supporting customers. Our one constant is that you have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into things.
The magic of Octopus is that we are all about encouraging people to learn about something they might never have done before and giving them full autonomy to thrive.
We're growing really fast each and every month, so working here is fast paced. Days can be hectic but we're all really collaborative and look after each other. We have an amazing collegiate culture, which we're very proud of. It’s amazing to think that we started with a tiny team and now we've grown exponentially with brilliant people who are so passionate about helping build OEV.
The brilliant, fledging OEV Team at an EV Drive Day in 2018, vs the massive and growing team in 2021, in front of their full range of 35 EV models
I am super proud of the group of people that we've assembled, who do phenomenal work and deliver an exceptional experience to our customers.
Samsam: What is the best trip you have taken with your EV?
Gurjeet: I've got a Tesla Model 3, which is an amazing car and I drive it all the time so I've driven it all over the country over the past few years. Although, if I had to pick - heading out to the beautiful New Forest and being in nature. I got to see some local ponies who were unawares of my (very) quiet car! And zero emissions from my trip was the icing on the cake.
Samsam: What is one thing you wish more people knew about EV’s?
It is so easy to climb into the car and drive without having to worry about range, as a full charge will easily last a week.
Gurjeet: We’re all about myth busting at OEV. There are still misconceptions on the running cost of EVs or battery range and charging. It's amazing how much you save when you stop paying for petrol or diesel! Battery technology has come a long way and now you can travel long distances on a single charge without a worry. For example, I can comfortably drive 200 miles on a full battery. For lots of people this will mean only charging your car once a week. It is so easy to climb into the car and drive without having to worry about range. All you have to do is plug the car in to top up when you need to, just like you would a phone. Not to mention, the charging infrastructure has come on leaps and bounds, with charging points popping up everywhere. Octopus is also simplifying that experience with our Electric Juice Network, which always gets rave reviews. We’re working on making sure everyone knows about this!
Today there are more places to charge your car publicly than there are petrol stations in the UK. How cool is that?
Samsam: What is your best Octopus memory?
Original Octopus EV team members at one of their earliest events
Gurjeet: If I had to pick it would be the early days of setting up our own test drives every weekend. I remember physically cutting out all of the decorations and information banners in a tent. We did that on weekends for the full first year, and those memories of the early days are what I cherish the most. I also love when we deliver cars to our customers and see their joy and excitement.
We have received some amazing feedback which is always really meaningful to me because it shows we are having the impact we want to have. It's the reason I’m here.
Just one the many great reviews for the Electric Vehicles Team
Samsam: What is the most exciting thing coming up in the EV World?
Gurjeet: Vehicle 2 Grid technology, our PowerLoop project, is truly groundbreaking and has the potential to totally transform the way we think about electricity distribution and consumption. This cutting edge technology is a new way of thinking about energy demand management with the ability to have a constant cycle: allowing energy to flow from the house to the car battery, and from the car battery to the grid to enable mass EV adoption. We have installed the lightest, smallest domestic V2G chargers in the world for the project and are now beginning to survey and analyse customer behaviour. Hopefully this will allow us to work with customers to encourage more battery charging at night when it’s cheaper and more likely to be sourced from renewable sources like wind power.
Powerloop will help us satisfy the all-day demand for energy using stores in car batteries instead of burning fossil fuels, allowing customers to become both the generators and consumers of energy.
Find out a bit more about Powerloop from customers Shilpen and Reshma:
EVs aren't just better, greener cars; they're key to the future energy system.— Octopus Energy (@OctopusEnergy) February 19, 2021
How? They can actually share their power, becoming battery packs to power your home when the grid's busy and dirty.
Shilpen and Reshma share how they save ~£600 with Powerloop V2G on @ITVTonight 💜⚡️ pic.twitter.com/UzWbBzZA70
Gurjeet's Top Travelling Tips
- Charge - Make sure your Electric Vehicle is fully charged before leaving for a long trip.
- Plan - Figure out your route beforehand using a tool like Zap-Map so you’re fully prepared.
- En Route - Look out for any charging stations or homes with charge points that'll allow you to use theirs on the way back home.
- Sit Back and Relax - Enjoy stress free driving with tools like full self drive or drive assistants
- Enjoy! - Have an incredible time exploring the world whilst saving money and protecting the environment!
Want to join our team?
Join the Octopus Electric Vehicles Team at Europe's best-funded green tech startup and be at the forefront of the future of transportation!
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