Modern Fleet Q&A: Mike Woodhall, CEO of Chameleon Technology


Favourite holiday destination?

Hamilton Island. Part of the Whitsunday Island network on the Great Barrier Reef. An amazing location immersed in natural beauty, wildlife and marine life. Whilst beautiful and largely unspoilt it also reminds visitors of the fragility of all that is precious about our planet due mainly to harmful human influences. Best fact: The only mode of transport is by electric golf buggy!

What car do you drive?

Porsche Taycan. My first full EV having owned four previous hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars. The Taycan is another Porsche triumph of engineering and design. I personally have had no range or remote charging issues and last year drove it all the way to Alpe d’Huez using fast charging stations.

How and when did you get into this industry?

I was selling early real-time displays utilising a CT clamp into the energy suppliers as part of the CERT scheme and heard about the plan to roll out smart meters. I worked as part of an industry move to include a new version of the IHD, communicating directly with the meter, as part of the mandated rollout solution. The objective was to ensure that everybody had access to their real-time energy data. It has proven to be highly successful despite early technical difficulties in getting to rollout scale and at the halfway stage we have supplied over 9.5 million devices.

Tell us a bit more about ivie?

ivie is our consumer brand that is building towards a one-stop shop for everything within the future home energy management system. Today, it already consists of:

  • the ivie Bud – an enhanced, wi-fi connectible smart energy display that provides the next level of user interface for energy awareness in the home.
  • the ivie EV Charger – a smart EV charger for the home. We handle everything including installation and post-install customer service.
  • the ivie app and the ivie Charge app. Both apps provide an integrated user experience and, combined, provide the most comprehensive total energy management interface available to consumers.

What are your industry predictions for the next 12 months?

I think energy costs will begin to reduce, but will still remain higher than historical levels, which means that we will all need to keep energy efficiency and total bill cost at the forefront of our domestic agenda.

I think the Government of whatever colour will be forced to implement more adventurous incentives and legislative pathways to help to speed up the adoption of low carbon measures. We are not going fast enough.

What is the strangest or most challenging job you have done?

I can’t claim to have done any strange jobs, but I have certainly forged my career by constantly stretching myself beyond my comfort zone. I absolutely live for the challenge, whether at work or leisure. I have always tried to ascend to new heights and my latest mission for Chameleon Technology is a great example of being bold and audacious. I believe you are at your most effective when being underestimated by your competition.

If you had your time again, would you have followed the same career path?

I think the only change I would make would be to trust my instincts to go out on my own sooner than I actually did. I followed a corporate path and received excellent training and a rounded exposure to all aspects of big business; but looking back I was ready to do what I have since done a good few years earlier. Having said that, I think I was probably destined to be where I am today – at the forefront of developing accessible, simple energy management solutions to help all consumers live a low carbon life. I can’t imagine wanting to do anything that is more useful or rewarding.

If you had been reincarnated, who or what do you think you were in a past life?

Well, I’m a big fan of the outdoors and particularly like the forest. There’s a tranquility and a timelessness to being amongst the trees. I’m a bit of a closet tree hugger. So, if reincarnation were really a thing then I was probably some kind of woodland creature. Maybe I have just come back to help save some trees!!

If you could invite four people to a dinner party – living or dead – who would they be – and why?

I see many analogies between sport and business, so I think I would like to have dinner with a few sporting heroes so we could discuss the personal challenges involved in attainment at the highest level. Time and again I am struck by the realisation that those with the correct mindset and mental resolve are the ones who triumph.

I once had the pleasure of having dinner with Kevin Sinfield. I think I would like to sit down with him again to glean some inspiration from someone who epitomises the very essence of facing and overcoming a challenge.

As a cycling fan (see below) I would love to invite Mark Cavendish. At the age of 38 he is finally hanging up his cycling shoes at the end of this season. He is tied on 34 with Eddy Merckx for the most stage wins of the Tour de France. An absolute legend, famed also for his honest and detailed assessments in post-race interviews, I am sure he would provide some amazing insight into life in the peloton and then magically appearing at the front to take the sprint win.

I think Martin Johnson would be a great dinner guest. He is still the only northern hemisphere captain to lift the Webb Ellis trophy. I’ll never forget the British Lions documentary that showed him insisting that the medic put stitches into a cut on his cheek without anaesthetic so he could get back on the pitch quicker. Now there’s a mindset to explore!!

I think my final guest would have to be someone from the past. Maybe Harold Larwood – the fast bowler of Bodyline fame. He was also a lad of humble background who must have faced enormous psychological challenges to achieve at the highest level and in the face of formidable competition.

What are your passions outside the workplace?

Cycling. I’m very fortunate to live on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales, which is where I spend most of my time whilst on two wheels. I find it to be a healthy pursuit for both body and mind and allows me to push myself in different ways to those of my work life.

If they made a film about your life, who would play you?

Thankfully, that’s never going to happen, but I know that if it did then many people would expect to see Ray Winstone. Don’t see it myself and I’m not sure what we would do about the accents!!

Describe yourself in five words?

Driven, conscientious, generous, detailed, direct.


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