As with other trends involving the use of innovative technology, Portugal is at the forefront of electric mobility. Sofia Tenreiro, a Galp executive, is in no doubt: “our consumers are very well informed and like adopting new trends”. The COO was speaking at the opening of Electric Summit, a Jornal de Negócios initiative backed by Galp, where she recalled the time of the installation of the first electric vehicle charger in Portugal, launched by the energy corporation 10 years ago. “2020 revealed our pioneering nature once again with the launch of the first ultra-rapid charger, designed to guarantee a range of 200 kilometres in 10 to 20 minutes”.
The issue of range is still one of the main barriers to the use of 100% electric vehicles. “Consumers are suspicious and don´t feel safe on long journeys”, acknowledges Sofia Tenreiro. However, she guarantees, “there are enough chargers in the country (around 800), but not all of them are operational yet”. The lack of municipal permits and electrical grid licensing are still obstacles the executive hopes to overcome in the near future. Indeed, 2021 will be a year of investment in active chargers for Galp, however the infrastructure need to be efficient for this goal to be met. “It makes perfect sense to enter into partnerships with these entities in the area of electric mobility as the trust of consumers will depend on the entire network of chargers operating smoothly”, she stressed.
Sofia Tenreiro also defends the existence of a clear regulatory framework, which will allow for greater agility in responding to the needs of the market. “Some operators today don´t operate under the same rules as others”, she points out. It should be pointed out that there are around 2,000 charging stations in Portugal licensed to different operators, including Galp, which have already guaranteed the Government around 5 million euros in revenue, as revealed by João Pedro Matos Fernandes, the Minister of the Environment, who also took part in Electric Summit
Speaking to the virtual audience attending this conference, the minister acknowledged Portugal's progress when compared to a large number of European counterparts with regard to the market penetration of electric mobility, but also with regard to innovation, highlighting the Mobi.E card, which facilitates charging using the public network and which operates independently of the energy supplier.
Over the past five years, Portugal has gone from a total of 731 electric vehicles sold to 8,137, to which 12,000 plug-ins were added in 2020. In the opinion of João Pedro Matos Fernandes, government support (around 4 million euros a year) contributed to this scenario, which he expects to increase in the coming years as automobile brands reduce the price of these vehicles. By 2030, the minister points out, the Government expects collective road mobility to account for one third of the national total. “We are on the right track, with a particular focus on batteries and hydrogen”, he concludes.
Watch the video of the first day of the conference here.