Tuesday, February 27, 2024

We have a more than sufficient public charging network for electricity: the average consumption does not even reach 5%

  • The average use of public charging points is 4.2%, with data taken from their internal codes by operators

  • This is confirmed by Aedive, as well as that of the 21,573 public charging points in operation in Spain, 38% were installed in 2022

  • This is due to the fact that to date 86% of users have their charging point at home, among other reasons.

  • The lack of public charging points in Spain is just an urban legend. Data speaks, unmasking reality. And these data indicate that in Spain we practically do not use public charging points for electric cars.

    The average use of these infrastructures is 4.2%, according to AEDIVE, the Association of Companies for the Development of Electric Mobility. «It is a national consumption average calculated on the basis of the knowledge we have of the existing charging infrastructures, of the power they have, of the use that has been contrasted with our ecosystem (it refers to the companies that are part of Aedive, more than 200 direct and about 1,500 indirect). And, apart from the fact that some charging stations have a higher influx than others, the average consumption is 4.2% nationwide.

    In Catalonia, for example, the usability average rises in a range between 9% and 12%”, according to its general manager, Arturo Pérez de Lucía, at the presentation of the first Yearbook of electric mobility 2022-2023. Aedive has worked with operators through confidentiality agreements to obtain this data in a bundled way. And it was possible thanks to the fact that the charging points have a sort of code thanks to which information was obtained “as reliable as possible” and obtained thanks to “scientific methods”.

    By the way, we mentioned what happened in Catalonia several months ago in this NIUS article, in which the Third Deputy Mayor and Councilor for Mobility of the Barcelona City Council, Laia Bonet, said that “in Barcelona the data tell us that the ‘use of those points is only between 8% and 12%”.

    The Points In Spain And Their Deployment Until 2030 Aedive Photos

    The points in Spain and their deployment up to 2030 Photo AEDIVEDavid Arroyo

    The airbag and the urban legend

    From there two thoughts arise. The first is that the numbers indicate that the public charging network is, in principle, more than sufficient for current needs and given the existing mobile fleet of electric vehicles in our country. This park is 325,675 units of electric vehicles of all types (motorcycles, scooters, quadricycles, pick ups, industrial…) registered as of December 31 of last year, according to Aedive. And why is the network excessive? Well, the users of these vehicles themselves reveal it in a survey carried out by this association: almost 86% of them have a recharging point at home and therefore resort to so-called connected recharging. Furthermore, the autonomy, especially of cars, is beginning to be sufficient for several days of “normal” travel during the week without a connection.

    Naturally, it is in cities that they will be most needed in the long run due to higher population density. Yet, according to the Aedive spokesman, referring above all to cities, “the introduction of public pricing is an unpopular measure”.

    The shippers subtract parking spaces and create problems for the local administration, according to what some of its members confess in a low voice. But they will be all the more necessary in that future of five million electric cars by 2030 that the Government has recalled in the PNIEC (from now on there would be registrations of 600,000 vehicles a year. Last year there were 36,444 pure electric cars and 48,193 plug-in hybrids sold in Spain).

    The second idea is that we want public charging to be like an airbag, there to save us if something goes wrong. A hypothetical case, because once again only 8% of electric users surveyed say they have run out of battery and have needed outside help at some point, against 92% who say they have never gone through that trance. Is this indicative of anything beyond the prudence derived from its users’ unwillingness to get into trouble? We will leave it to the dear reader’s assessment, because the survey does not indicate, for example, how many times he has gone through difficult moments.

    We say this because more than 36% of these users indicate that today it is possible to travel with an electric car in Spain based on their experience, but not in all the Autonomous Communities and 14% say that it is not possible. In other words, half of electricity users are not very happy with the grid despite its underutilization. And when asked what type of public charging points they believe should be promoted, they rank high-power (more than 100 kW) public roaming charging as the most needed, followed by low- and medium-power urban environments. It is a problem that we have exposed for the first time also thanks to an insight from Ramon Calderón, Head of Electromobility and Institutional Relations of SEAT, on the occasion of an event of the Chair of Energy Transition of the Repsol Foundation.

    Calderón commented that “it is precisely on intercity routes that the public charging infrastructure must be structured and must be ultra-fast”. So it seems like, it’s not that the network is poor, but perhaps due to a misperception it might not be growing where it should.

    Perhaps in several years another possible misperception like this will become apparent, which we have already advanced for the first time in NIUS and it is that from some points of view overnight charging is a mistake and it is much better for society that electric ones accompany solar energy production. We will try to remind you when it becomes apparent.

    Current Charging Infrastructures Of The Autonomous Communities Source Aedive

    Current charging infrastructure of the autonomous communities Source AEDIVEDavid Arroyo

    21,573 public charging points

    Thanks to its industrial, technological and service ecosystem, AEDIVE has registered 21,573 operational public charging points. Of these, 65% have a power of 22kW and above and of these, 30% are fast and high-powered up to 400kW, “which contradicts the opinions that indicate that most of the charging points in Spain I’m low on power.” The AEDIVE association relies on the fact that 22 kW is what the European Union considers fast charging, although the most common thing is that 50 kW fast charging is mentioned in all electromobility forums.

    The data also indicates that 2022 was a year of great growth in public charging points. And a strong turnaround, given that 8,200 new points have been installed. This figure represents 38% of the currently operational IRVE public tenders (charging infrastructure for electric vehicles). In addition, another 7,400 public outlets were set up which could not be definitively put into operation and which would bring the figure to 54%.

    cheaper transport

    Other slightly more “geeky” data is that the total energy consumption of the charging points in Spain was 176 GWh across Spain, with an average of 10,000 kWh per charging point. But they are important because renewable energies increasingly have a greater share in the national energy mix and the electric car as a consumer of that electricity will be a fundamental axis in managing demand. According to Eurostat and the Ministry of Ecological Transition, in Spain we are first in Europe in the production of electricity through solar thermal energy, second in wind power and third in photovoltaics, as well as fifth in hydraulics.

    This energy management will be more complicated than the current one, but it will increase the supply of charging points and ensure that charging is offered “at very attractive prices” in the medium-term future, aspects which will combine to make it “every time a little problem for the user”, according to Pérez de Lucía.

    We export points

    He is a little proud to know that the Spanish manufacturers of charging points recorded a turnover of 300 million euros in 2022. They assembled 360,000 units of different types and powers, of which most (345,000) corresponded to alternating current (AC) equipment and the rest (15,000) to direct current, the so-called fast charge (DC).

    Of this production, 87% (315,000 units) was exported to all major European markets with a market share of over 20%. They are also shipped to the United States, Canada or Mexico in North America or Colombia, Chile and Uruguay in the South.

    These are companies whose decision-making bodies are located in Spain, with an annual growth of around 50%. Therefore, its forecast is to produce more than 480,000 charging points in 2023.

    Its investments in R&D are very high, with an average of 25% of its turnover. Perhaps for this reason they have a high reputation and recognized technological and industrial leadership, especially in high-power charging equipment in the markets where they are present.

    Themes

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