Portugal Promotes EV with countrywide MOBI.E project

  • 15-Apr-2011 02:20 EDT
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Portugal's MOBI.E vehicle electrification project includes installing charging stations as well as developing its own 80-km range battery-electric vehicle, primarily aimed at the export market.

Portugal’s MOBI.E involves both establishment of a universal business model for charging EVs and the installation of 1300 charging stations in 25 municipalities throughout the country. The project is slated to complete by June, 2011.

The stated goal of the project, said Renato Pereira of the Portuguese Office for Electric Mobility in an interview with AEI on the show floor of the April 12-14 SAE 2011 World Congress in Detroit, is to establish a smart grid to charge all makes of supported EVs, including battery, range-extended, and plug-in hybrids. It is also intended to serve as a model for export to other countries.

Eco-sustainability will be a natural outcome. Like many industrialized countries, Portugal has no sources of petroleum of its own. Unlike many, Portugal produces 43% of its current electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and hydropower.

“There is a need to use that electrical energy efficiently, especially at night,” said Pereira. With 80% of its drivers traveling less than 100 mi (161 km) per day, EVs seemed like a good choice to reducing dependency on oil imports.

The 1300 Level II chargers will also be augmented by 50 fast chargers built compliant to the CHAdeMO standard by the Portuguese company Efacec. The company supplies home chargers as well as the 1300 Level II chargers as part of the project. While the home chargers are expected to use the grid effectively during off-peak time, the publically available chargers are there to reduce "range anxiety." Range anxiety is a barrier to adoption of EVs in many settings.

The universal business model of MOBI.E may be one of the more innovative features. The proposal is to issue a single credit card for users to use at any station, allowing them to buy from their supplier of electricity at the any charging station at any time.

Fleets are a big part of the plan for MOBI.E, noted Pereira. “Fleets will have a tax incentives and will spur the initial deployment.”

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