According to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO), there were close to 30,000 EVs in Spain in 2018, and there is an electric vehicle charging station for every 7 EVs currently. A total of 4,028 EVs and PHEVs were registered in 2018, marking an increase of almost 10% over the growth in EVs and PHEVs in the corresponding period in 2017 as per the Spanish Association of Auto Importers (ANIACAM). This growth rate needs to be a lot faster for the number of EVs to increase fast enough to make a difference in air pollution caused by internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The new registration of EVs and PHEVs in 2018 is just 0.4% of the 978,050 registrations of ICE and other vehicles using harmful fuels.
The Spanish government has rightly identified EV charging as a critical requirement for sustaining growth in the country’s EV industry. The present year on year growth in new EV registrations of approximately 10% is from a low base of around 25,000 vehicles. Spain will require much higher growth in new EV registrations but that can happen only when there will is greater EV infrastructure, both Level 2 AC chargers and fast DC chargers. Focus should be especially be on solutions that offer EV drivers the freedom to make payments through multiple cashless modes. EV drivers, both new and old, need the reassurance of seamless and hassle-free payments before they purchase new EVs.
The Spanish government initiated the Alternative Mobility Support Plan (Movalt) and (Movea) that are aimed at boosting the EV industry throughout the country. While the Movalt plan focuses on promoting transportation that will be environment-friendly and sustainable, the Movea plan aims to increase the number of vehicles using alternative energy resources other than hydrocarbons. It is evident that promotion of EVs and PHEVs is the predominant objective of both plans wherein Movalt has clearly identified development of electric recharge infrastructure as a priority.
All over the world wherever the EV industry has progressed well, one of the main challenges to speedier adoption by customers is the EV charging system and Spain won’t be an exception here. These are early days in the development of EV charging infrastructure in Spain and both public and private institutions can leverage the experience of other more developed markets. A point to take into consideration is the need to avoid any barriers for widespread acceptance and usage of EV chargers. One way to accomplish that is to ensure that chargers accept multiple cashless payments so there are no membership or subscription restrictions.
Spain has promise to develop a vigorous EV industry but to really succeed in its goals, it needs to take advantage of the experience of other more mature markets, especially in facilitating an easier payment system for EV industry.