electric car

In particular, the registrations of electric and hybrid vehicles, which include both cars and quads, commercial and industrial vehicles and buses, reached 6,182 units in February in Spain, which is 42.7% more than in the same month of 2017.

By Autonomous Community, Madrid was the region where more electric vehicles were marketed in February, with more than half of the Spanish total, up to 442 units, 152.6% more. Catalonia was the second community where more electric cars were registered last month, up to 154 vehicles, 60.4% more.

We can conclude that the start of the electric vehicle is promising. A beginning that apparently also looks promising form the Government side.

DOES THE BRAKE STILL PUSH OF THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE DOWN?

In our blog the electric vehicle already has the support of the public and the market?, it is explained that the real brake on the electric vehicle was the lack of a well-sized cargo network. This past 23rd of January, the Movalt Aid Plan for electric car recharging points was opened and represents an allocation of 15 million for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. That is, the incentives will go to conventional / slow, semi-fast, fast and ultra-fast charging infrastructures for use in the non-residential, private and public sector in parking areas of private and public companies, for public use on public roads and of public use in the road network. Some recharging points that are characterized by the following capacity:

  • Conventional charging points: between 7 and 15 Kw. Battery recharging between six and eight hours.
  • Semi-fast recharge points: between 15 and 40 Kw. Battery recharging between an hour or hour and a quarter.
  • Fast recharge points: between 40 and 100 Kw. Battery recharge about half an hour.
  • Ultra-fast recharge points: between 100 and more Kw. Battery recharge around five or ten minutes (it is in experimental state still).

These aids, under the modality of monetary delivery, will contemplate an amount equivalent to 60% of the eligible investment (taxes not included) for public entities that do not develop commercial activities and small and medium enterprises; and 40% of the eligible investment (taxes not included) for the rest of the companies. A very attractive plan if you take into account that ITC BT 52 forces to have one recharge station for every 40 spots in private fleet car parks (cooperatives, companies, workshops, concessionaires and similar) and in permanent public parking or parking. A plan that ran out in 24 hours and has received another 5 million but that remains within the reach of only a few at the moment.

Although the network of points grows, it does not grow at the rate it could because of administrative and legislative issues that create a barrier. Spain is the only country where only the figure of cargo manager is able to charge for reselling the energy without needing to be a supplier. A figure that implies a rather messy bureaucratic network. A situation that leaves the development of the cargo network in the hands of a few: the suppliers and those agents have dared to register as cargo managers (Tesla). As a result, there are 58 cargo managers compared to 712 electrical suppliers today.

In today’s media we come across headlines such as: “In 2017 Fenie Energía has installed more than 400 recharging points in Spain”. A very propaganda headline that should not be underestimated. The electric trader of the installers, Fenie Energía, has placed over 400 electric vehicle charging points throughout Spain over the past year. In total already has more than 670 charging points between public and private of the 2874 points that are in Spain. That is to say, that already an electrical commercializing company has 23%.  Besides, taking into account the project CIRVE (Iberian Infrastructure corridors of fast recharging of electric vehicles), a project that contemplates the interoperability of 40 fast loaders and that, from 2019, will already be operative along corridors to Connecting Spain with the rest of European countries, we see how the outlook for charging points is dominated by the electric power companies. Clarify that EDP, Endesa, GIC, Iberdrola and Ibil participate in this project, that is to say, that the 3 largest Spanish electricity companies already have their hands inside.

Supercharger in Sant Cugat del Vallés de Tesla

Supercharger in Sant Cugat del Vallés de Tesla

A barrier that was already denounced in the last edition of Automobile Barcelona and to which the energy minister, Álvaro Nadal, responded that it would change the figure of the cargo manager to electric cars to reduce bureaucratic obstacles when installing recharging points. And apparently that change will take place. According to Energy Magazin of elEconomista, it is rumoured that the Ministry of Energy could have ready by the end of the month the law that allows adjusting the amounts received by electricity and gas companies in distribution and transportation. Some cutting measures that will be accompanied by others such as speeding up access to the figure of cargo manager by entities that are not suppliers. With the intention of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving the emissions targets to which Spain has committed, the Government intends to facilitate the installation of electric recharging posts and de-regulate the figure of the cargo manager.

In summary we see that the lock of the figure of the recharge manager seems to be solved while a granting aid to promote the development of a large cargo network is also given. All this should result in a greater number of agents in the race for the installation of charging points and in a larger charging network for the user of the electric vehicle, comparable to that of the conventional vehicle. Therefore, the brake that was created around the growth of the electric vehicle should disappear soon.

Nevertheless, while one fear is going away, another comes. Now you hear and read that the electric car can saturate the network.

THE ELECTRIC CAR AND THE ELECTRICAL NETWORK ARE ENEMIES?

There is the idea that the electric car could saturate the electricity distribution system. When talking about the electric car, people in the energy sector are wondering: Can electricity grids support the load of millions of cars?

The answer is simple: yes. The network can feed a whole fleet of cars like the current [more than 28 million cars in Spain] if the load is organized intelligently. In other words, the batteries of the cars must be charged during the hours when the demand for energy by users is lower, such as at dawn, and only use the quick recharge as a temporary backup, during the day. If we train the users’ habits to the good sense (load during the hours of lower demand), not only would the impact of the electric car’s arrival to the system be minimized, but it would be recharged with renewable energy (wind produced mainly at night), thus reducing emissions, the objective that the government seeks to achieve with the European Union. But, as always, this depends on the work the government does.  When using the electric vehicle recharging simulator of Red Eléctrica Española (REE) for 8,122,919 electric vehicles of which only 35% will be hybrids, and assuming 100% an intelligent load on a winter working day the curve of the Resulting demand is:

Source: REE simulator

Source: REE simulator

When carrying out the load at night and thanks to intelligent charging or even with a recharge schedule, we would help to flatten the demand curve. By adjusting the recharge of the electric car to the period of lower demand, not only a greater use of renewable energy (night surplus) is done but it would facilitate the management of the electricity system regarding generation mix and minimize the large differences in oneself days of electrical needs. But, as always, this depends on the work the government does.

Otherwise, we would find a more important peak not with a saturated network. In Spain there is an overcapacity of installed power that is around 40% and that ensures cover the maximum demand throughout the year. According to a study prepared by Endesa together with Eurelectric in 2015 and presented to the Parliament and the European Commission, of all the electricity generated in Spain, only 18% or 19% would have to be allocated to the recharge of an exclusively electric park. If the load were diurnal instead of nocturnal, we would find the following scenario:

Source: REE simulator

Source: REE simulator

If the load of the electric vehicle in the moments of greatest demand, such as certain stretches of the afternoon, when appliances in homes and shops are at full capacity, would accentuate the peaks in the demand profile. Now, there would not be a cut, we would only have a more expensive recharge price when filling the battery at times where fossil fuels are most used; expensive energies such as coal and combined cycle power plants.

If the government fails to create a more stable framework for electricity networks, and solve a problem early (encourage night time recharge), we could face large investments in distribution networks that inevitably all consumers will end up paying on their bills.

Marta Merodio | Energy Consultant

If you found it interesting, please share it!