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electric mobility

15 June 2021

The EV market is no longer a niche market for new technological companies nor an utopic reality accessible only to high-income countries.

The electric car market has been up and pumping and isn’t showing signs of slowing down, even as the world is riding through the winding slopes of the coronavirus crisis.  In 2020, amidst the outbreak of the pandemic, almost 2.5m battery-electric and plug-in-hybrid cars were sold around the world.

Electric cars are increasingly a common sight on our streets and no longer a vision of the future. More than 10 million electric cars were on the world’s roads in 2020 and consumer spending on electric car purchases that year amounted to USD 120 billion (98 billion Euros), a 50% increase from 2019.

In a global context, where the environment and climate crisis are at the core of major countries’ concerns and with the electrification of transportation being envisioned as one of the solutions to address those issues, the EV market is no longer a niche market for new technological companies nor a utopic reality accessible only to high-income countries.

All major car makers have entered the race and are struggling to be at pole position on what is nowadays one of the hottest markets around.

Big names like Fiat, Audi, Peugeot, Renault, Volvo, Volkswagen, BMW, Ford or Porsche, all have made serious investments in developing their electric car models and competition in this sector is fiercer than ever. Take the example of Tesla new Model S, which has a top speed of 322 KM/h and an average range of 628 Km, of Audi e-Tron GT, with a top speed of 250 KM/h and an average range of 480 KM or Porsche Taycan Turbo, which has a top speed 260 KM/h and an average range of 480 KM. Despite its lower autonomy when compared to Model S, Taycan Turbo was elected by Top Gear as the best electric car in the market. EV’s autonomy is rapidly improving and their performance as well, which, together with the fact that they are helping the environment, is attracting many consumers to this market.

Despite the improvement of EV’s technology and performance and its rising popularity, another fundamental element for the electrification of our roads is the need for adequate infrastructure, i.e., a wide, distributed and efficient power charging network.

That requires significant investment and mobilisation from public and private entities and the faster this investment is made, the fastest electric cars will dominate the automobile scene. 

EVs at a glance: interesting and eye-opening facts from across the globe

In 2019, Europe secured €60 billion in investments to produce EVs and batteries - 19 times more than in 2018. 

By 2030, the European Union intends to have 30 million electric units on its territory.

Germany is one of the countries with the most ambitious policy roadmaps for electromobility: it has defined an ambitious government program for the growing electromobility sector, in addition to specific legislation for this purpose. 

Norway has long been a global leader in EV market penetration, taking pole position as the first country in the world to surpass 50% of electric cars sold. 

The Netherlands is leading public charging, with more than 37,000 public charging stations, or one station per 459 inhabitants, as of February 2020.

Estonia was the first and is the only country to have completed a nationwide public electric charging network. 

In absolute terms, in 2020, China remained the world’s largest EV market, leading in electrifying two/three- wheelers and urban buses, with 2.3 million electric vehicles in active use. 

In the US, the largest fast-charging location in 2020 was in California, on the Tesla Supercharger network, with 56 charging stalls.

Automakers like Volvo and General Motors have vowed to stop making fossil fuelled vehicles within the next 10 years. 

Portugal, a significant market on sustainable mobility

Portugal was one of the pioneer countries in the adoption of new models of electric mobility. In 2010, the country established the legislation and regulation of electric mobility activities in the country, as well as regulated incentives for the use of electric cars and established a nationwide pilot network. 

According to 2020 data, one out of every five automobiles that were sold in Portugal was an EV. Parallel to the increase of EV sales, public and private players are also investing in expanding the existing charging network.

Mobi.e, the Portuguese Electric Mobility Network Managing Entity, is a public company committed with the mission of developing, managing and monitoring the operations of the electric charging stations, including both the energy and financial flows associated with the electric mobility network. Currently, the network has more than 1 650 charging points countrywide (with more than 300 being fast or ultra-fast charging points).

Several energy players in Portugal are joining the opportunity and now offer Electric Mobility Supplier services, like the case of EDP, which has just reached 1,000 charging stations on the public network and aims to achieve 40 thousand charging points by 2025. The company offers different charging B2C and B2B solutions, providing charging equipment and technologies to power EVs in consumers’ homes (or condos) and also on corporate facilities, for companies to be able to have an electric fleet with constant power supply.

The current mindset and policy making is undoubtedly favourable to the adoption of EVs and development of a proper charging network in many different countries.

The electrification of the roads is happening at an astonishing rate and this will inevitably have an impact on our society. In a near future, it is not just cars that will be running on e-power: it will soon be trains, lorries, buses, ships or even aircrafts, and this will require a profound reorganisation and rethinking of our electric systems.

As the International Energy Agency points outElectricity is the fastest-growing source of final energy demand, and over the next 25 years its growth is set to outpace energy consumption as a whole. The power sector now attracts more investment than oil and gas combined – necessary investments as the generation mix changes and ageing infrastructure is upgraded. The global electricity supply is also being transformed by the rise of variable renewable sources of generation such as wind and solar PV. While this puts electricity at the forefront of clean-energy transitions, providing access to the nearly 1 billion currently deprived, helping cut air pollution and meet climate goals, these changes will require a new approach to how power systems are designed and how they operate. Otherwise, rising electrification could result in less secure energy systems, underscoring the urgent need for policy action in this critical sector.”

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