SAE 2011: Mobi.E ready to charge up 600,000 electric cars in Portugal, and beyond
See, Mobi.E, while technically the "Portuguese electric mobility consortium," is really just a big tent for governments, utilities and companies to coordinate their plans for plug-in vehicles. The group has set some big targets for itself, but also has a clear road map to get there. The next big step? Finishing the installation of 1,300 public Level 2 chargers across the country by June (and another 50 DC Fast Chargers along the highways not long after that). The furthest distance between any of these charge points will be 80 miles, so drivers of today's EVs can rest assured that they will be able to charge up whenever necessary. This is especially true since, right now, there are only about 100 electric vehicles in Portugal. Talk about solving the chicken and egg problem.
In December, Mobi.E became the first commercial Leaf customer in Europe, taking delivery of nine Nissan Leafs, one of which went to the Prime Minister. At the SAE World Congress in Detroit this week, we spoke with Mobi.E's Renato Pereira and José Henriques, the CEO and President of Park Charge, one of the partner companies, and they said that there are thousands of hand raisers in the country, so as soon as the automakers can deliver the cars, people will buy them. In fact, Mobi.E thinks that there is the potential to have a full ten percent of all vehicles in Portugal be pure electric by 2020. That's not ten percent of the vehicles sold in 2020, the way we usually hear targets a decade out. No, Pereira and Henriques say that 600,000 EVs could be roaming the roads in 2020, out of a national fleet of around six million vehicles. That's what we call an aggressive target.
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The good news is that Portugal's domestic energy mix is made up of 45 percent renewable energy (generated by wind and water), hitting the target that Prime Minister Jose Sócrates set in 2007, so these EVs will be quite clean all the way up the line. The rest of Portugal's energy is generated by burning oil or coal. There is no nuclear power generated in the country, but some utility companies in neighboring Spain are participating in Mobi.E, and nuclear is a part of the mix there.
Portugal is a good choice to roll out the red carpet for EVs, and Nissan played along by breaking ground for a lithium-ion battery plant in Cacia earlier this year. Mobi.E has plans to expand beyond the country's borders, and is in talks with Spain, France, China, Korea and the U.S. for similar programs, ones that are perhaps regional instead of national in larger countries. Get more details in our gallery of Mobi.E's informational PDF and in the two videos below.
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