Modern Fleet Q&A: Tom Hurst, Fastned UK country manager


 Favourite holiday destination? 

Who’s got time for a holiday in this industry!? Because I’ve given up flying for personal travel, the UK and western Europe are now my preferred holiday destinations. Not super-glamorous, perhaps, but there is still so much to explore that I can’t see my family and I getting bored anytime soon.

This year I’ll have two weeks in the Netherlands, a country that embodies sustainable transport at scale better than any other: active travel is prioritised (you can cycle literally anywhere on dedicated bike lanes), public transport is world-class, and Fastned happens to operate a high-power EV charging network that sets the standard across Europe.

What car do you drive? 

The lease on my Kia e-Niro recently ended, and my next car will be a Skoda Enyaq. Despite having ordered it in November last year, it’s production date is not until November 2023. Anyone who tells you there’s no demand for EVs is living in a parallel universe…

In the meantime, I’m pottering around Fastned’s new and upcoming sites in a Kia EV6.

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

Drilling oil wells in the Saudi Arabian desert. Oh yes, a bit of a career pivot since then…

50 degrees-plus heat, no air conditioning, sweat blinding you, shifts up to 48 hours long, the constant threat of poisonous/explosive gas leaks, the list goes on. But, in fairness, in engineering and technology terms it was fascinating, and a priceless insight into how the world gets its energy.

How and when did you get into this industry?

When I joined Fastned six years ago, it was my first dip into the water of the EV industry. I’d worked as an energy and climate change consultant for six years before that, but I wanted something that  built on my love of sustainable transport and city planning, and somewhere slightly cooler than 50-degree desert heat. I’m also half Dutch, so Fastned seemed like the perfect calling.

Tell us a bit more about Fastned? 

Founded in 2012, we’re now 11 years old. We started in the Netherlands with the vision of providing as easy a journey as we could for electric drivers, and doing all we can to accelerate the change to sustainable mobility.

We now have more than 270 fast charging stations across Europe – in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and of course 14 in the UK. We’re up to our seventh iteration of charging layout now, always with the drive-through approach and always with our famous yellow solar canopy.

It’s been a whirlwind 11 years – culminating in Zap Map naming us the Best Charging Network in the UK last year. I’m so proud of that.

What are your industry predictions for the next 12 months?

With the formation of ChargeUK a few months ago, our industry is now more united and better prepared than ever before to look to the next year. One of the most exciting statistics around is that, when ChargeUK was formed in April 2023, members pledged to double the existing public charging network by the end of 2023. That’s a lot of chargers, serving all different use cases, be they on-the-go ultra-rapid, on-street, or workplace.

In Fastned’s area of operations, we’re seeing continued demand growth, and so we are building new stations, with even faster chargers, and expanding / upgrading our existing sites right across the UK. Our Europe-wide goal is to have 1,000 stations by 2030, with 400 by 2024.

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

One hundred percent, totally and utterly. Every lesson (painful and rewarding!) has been worth it.

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

A gerbil – generally prefers to be curled up in a little sawdust nest, but is prone to bursts of activity given the right motivation.

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

The Prime Minister and leaders of all the UK devolved administrations. No one gets dessert until they’ve mapped out and signed up to an aggressive, comprehensive pathway to Net Zero travel for the whole country!

What are your passions outside the workplace? 

Hanging out with my toddlers when they’re awake. Wine when they’re finally in bed for the night.

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

Someone B-list.

Describe yourself in five words?

I hope people would say: busy and flappable, but honest, trustworthy and friendly.


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