At the heart of the plan is an ambitious visitor centre in Falkirk, the first of many planned around the world, that will showcase zero carbon emission cars and vehicles in a fun family day out that features a race track for trying out and testing the cars, an oculus rift virtual reality system and immersive simulators. The goal is to dispel the myths about the performance and drivability of zero emission cars and educate the public about the potential for sustainable transport.
John sees the diesel-based car industry as akin to tobacco companies in the damage they do and the deaths that they cause through pollution. John himself is a self-confessed petrol head who drives a Jag as well as a Nissan Leaf. His proposition is not to take the fun out of driving, but to demonstrate that you don’t have to kill people to enjoy cars and driving.
Zero emission cars are just part of John’s ambitious plans for a fully integrated transport system that involves using technology (with IoT at the heart) to make it easier for people to complete journeys using more than one mode of transport. John foresees commuters subscribing to a transport package, a bit like a subscription to Netflix, where for £300 a month (instead of the £670 a month he estimates is spent on combined car ownership, taxi use and public transport travel card) you can use a selection of transport options within a 50 mile radius, from ordering a taxi when needed to get you to the station to hopping onto a train and then a hydrogen fuel cell bus to hiring a bike or making use of a car club vehicle, all seamlessly organised by your personal travel assistant bot.
So after four years of hard grind, John has got the substantial funding he needs to start work on the first of many planned Revolutionall visitor centres. It’s going to be quite a journey and could have a huge impact on the tech scene in Scotland, especially in the IoT space.
It would be easy to throw cold water on all John’s grand plans, and certainly, the goal of achieving an integrated and sustainable transport system, educating the public and bringing government, business and technology together to work effectively, is something close to mission impossible. And yet, what is the alternative? If we don’t believe in the potential for technology to change the future, then the future will own us. Technology is already disrupting transport and there is no doubt that the days of fossil fuel powered vehicles are numbered. There does appear to be a climate in Scotland right now where the impossible is starting to look like a fragile proposition.