When the challenge is to accelerate electric mobility towards de-carbonization, the public and private sector will have to be “two sides of one coin”, warns Luís Barros, CEO of MOBI.E. It’s a key issue that was immediately clear for the Portugal Mobi Summit guests who debated the evolution of the charging infrastructure. “Therefore, no one will be able to work alone if the goal is to build an integrated network capable of responding to the huge demand of electric vehicles that it’s already happening and that will be growing even further”, defends António Coutinho, Executive Board Member of EDP Comercial
For this to be a fluid process, the most important thing to cooperate. And that means that in specific moments, both sides should be closely collaborating and there should be “circumstances in which the public supports the private”, underlines António Coutinho. In this point, sometimes the harmony between both sides can become unbalanced. Bureaucracy has also been preventing operators to grow at the same rhythm that the sales of electric vehicles, informed us the Executive Board Member of EDP Comercial. Licensing, certifications, long waiting compasses are some of the barriers that halt a process that needs to be simplified.
It’s a need felt by EDP Comercial, but it’s not the only one complaining. Martin Klässner, CEO of Has.To.Be, an Austrian company that is among the leaders in the market of electric charging, has his own experience to share: “It took us over a year to have the necessary licensing which allowed us to enter the Portuguese market”. It’s clear that something needs to change and not only in Portugal: “The electric mobility sector is not confined by borders, it travels from country to country, in the hope that services will keep being secured cross borders, such as it happens today with traditional refueling” underlines Has.To.Be’s CEO.
In a globalized world, there is no longer space for local markets and “centralization must come from Europe”, defends Christian Hahn, CEO of Hubject. It’s a vision that was already expected from him, taking into account that he leads a company present in over 50 international markets. Hubject, with headquarters in Berlin, is actually the result of a partnership between six different companies: BMW, Bosch, Daimler, EnBW, RWE and Siemens.
The goal is to operate a data platform that will be useful for an integrated infrastructure for electric vehicles charging. All of that will be much more complicated if there isn’t a legal framework “adequate and common” to European countries: “There are different challenges to face in each country and that produces a halt in the electric sector”.
Ideally there should be a model of reference for everyone. And that could be an ambition for Portugal, believes Luís Barroso. “Although we are all learning to deal with these new realities, I am convinced that our experience could open paths abroad” says the President of MOBI.E – an entity that manages the electric mobility network. There are mainly three factors that play in favor of the Portuguese model: “One charging network available for all operators and the role of a well regulated public-private partnership are the bases for a centralized system, that promotes competition and stimulates innovation”.