Richard Scrase continues his travels across Europe in an electric car
Portugal is one of the first countries in the world to adopt a countrywide electric mobility policy. My colleague Peter Curran caught up with the Portugese Prime Minister, José Sócrates, as he symbolically plugged a Nissan Leaf into a city centre charging point and asked him why electric vehicles are so important.
He replied: "They have no emissions and no noise, which is good news for urban areas, but they are also important for countries that have opted for a renewable energy strategy because electric vehicles are a continuation of that strategy."
"We want to be on the frontline. We've been working on this for a long time and come a long way to be here."
The MOBI.E Tech Consortium, the Portugese government, the country’s energy providers, electricity grid companies and car companies – particularly Renault and Nissan – have come together to develop an electric car infrastructure.
This is particularly important for a country like Portugal that has no fossil fuel reserves. Portugal already has 43% of its electricity provided by renewables and is eager to find ways to use energy that is currently wasted during the night.
MOBI.E will install public charging stations that can be used by all types of electric vehicle all over Portugal. Electric vehicle users will access the network using a swipe-card.
The network will have wind powered charging points for all night charging (six-eight hours) as well as rapid charging points that can charge a car in less than 30 minutes.
Portugal is on target to have 1,300 charging points by 2011, just in time for the Nissan Leaf that will become available in Portugal in December this year. This network has been rolling out for some months and there were already 100 charging points in 2009. The points are in public car-parks, shopping centres, on-street and even in petrol forecourts.
The MOBI.E software platform is designed to be rolled out across Europe and to work with multiple energy and other service providers. Mobile phone applications allow the electric car user to find and book charging points, and in the future you will also be able to sell back surplus electricity stored in your car battery.
The government is encouraging the move to electric vehicles thought a series of tax breaks and giving electric vehicles road prioritisation and free or cheap parking. They see this move as part of their national energy strategy and aim to have 750,000 electric vehicles on Portugese roads by the end of the decade.
See MOBI.E promotional film here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoPpKewPM-U
Added 14 July 2010 in category Innovation blog