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Portuguese Electric car charging market

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published in May 2020 | reading time approx. 2,5 minutes

 

Electric cars have come to stay. With the evolution of battery technology, with smaller, more powerful durable cells, and with the recent advancements in the hydrogen fuel-cells electric cars, the days of the explosion or combustion engines are basically numbered. This can be seen in the car industry itself, with electric newcomers being highly successful in the market and with the major automotive companies announcing the end of diesel engines, new hybrids, as well as completely electrified versions of their models, or even new electric fleets.

 

 

From the consumer's point of view, the appeal of an electric car is an increasingly considerable reality, electric cars are easier and much cheaper to maintain, requiring no oil changes, with less wear on the brake components, tires, less taxes and, above all, the price of electricity per kilometer done is astonishingly lower than gasoline or diesel. The only setback that can affect the consumer is the higher price of electric vehicles, but even this problem seems to be headed to become a problem of the past because, with the scaling of the industry, prices are already coming down. Actually, electric cars are expected to become even more affordable than engine powered ones, result of fewer moving parts and less need for complex mechanisms. In addition, the Portuguese Government currently gives an incentive to consumers who buy an electric vehicle in the form of a cheque between 2000 and 3000 euros.
 

Everything points to the electric car market becoming a dichotomy, on the one hand, we will have battery powered cars for daily commuting in the city and for personal use and, on the other, hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles for sectors, or people, that require greater autonomy, such as the distribution and mass transport sectors.
 

For hydrogen the present fuel infrastructure can be easily adapted, but for battery powered cars, new and more powerful chargers will be essential to make the change.
 

In the particular case of the Portuguese electric car fleet, it is expected to rise to 655.000 units in the year 2030. This is a conservative estimate because in recent years the number of electric cars in Portuguese roads have been doubling year after year, presenting an exponential growth.
 

This continuous growth, allied with the increasing capacity of batteries, will soon allow for a battery powered car to travel easily the Portuguese continental length of 561 kilometers in one single charge and with energy to spare. Obviously, these cars will need a well dispersed grid of chargers.
 

Regardless of the fact that Portugal is currently one of the most electric car friendly countries in the European Union with an electrical mobility network, the current amount of chargers is still underwhelming, with less than 5000 public chargers, highly concentrated in the coast and big urban centers despite the increasing consumer demand for electric vehicles.
 

This lack of chargers translates itself in a big opportunity for companies in the sector to not only sell public or private chargers, but an opportunity to sell to the consumer the energy they put in their cars, in the specific case of public chargers.
 

Therefore if a company just sells car chargers to a Portuguese entity, legally this company just sells a product, which must be in accordance with the European Regulations, for that specific product, being obligated to follow the same duties as any other product sale in the EU.
 

A different case is when a company wants to enter the Portuguese car charging market directly. The company can then assume one of three positions:

  • Charge Point Operator (CPO): which installs, makes available, operates and maintains public or private access charging points integrated into the electric mobility network;
  • Register as an electricity trader of electric mobility (ETEM): which buys in bulk and retails electrical energy to users for the purpose of charging their batteries at the charging points integrated into the electrical mobility network.

 

These status must be applied for before the Directorate-General for Energy and Geology (DEEG), requesting the desired status and submitting the information, documentation and paying the required fees, being important to consider that the exercise of the activity of ETEM requires the previous registration as CPO. After those procedures, if approved, the company can start its activity in the chosen field.

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