Since October last year, electricity prices on the wholesale market have undergone consecutive increases following variations in the prices of oil, natural gas and coal. This scenario has been prolonged over time, given the war in Ukraine and the great unpredictability of the duration of this conflict and other factors resulting from it, such as, for example, the imposition of sanctions, which a significant impact on gas prices and, consequently, on the price of electricity.
In Portugal, the government this week approved legislation that sets a cap on the value of natural gas used to set electricity prices, which will reduce the cost of energy for consumers exposed to fluctuations in market values. .
However, and despite the various efforts of the Government through a discount on bills paid by the Environment Fund, the situation has not given respite to electric mobility and users of electric vehicles have felt in their door- currency that recharging is more expensive, especially on the public network.
According to calculations by Deco Protest on the cost of recharging, based on an average consumption of 18 kWh (kilowatt hour) per 100 kilometers and Galp energy prices, after one year the cost of charging in the street for 15,000 kilometers would be 1188 euros.
In comparison, charging at home at the end of a year can result in considerable savings. In six different scenarios, which already include the purchase of a charger wall box with a connection to Mobi.E, designated as Electric Mobility Network Management Entity (EGME), with the participation of the State, Deco Proteste comes to the conclusion that home charging is always cheaper.
for those who have a wall box without entering the Mobi.e network, that is to say without the help of the government, during off-peak hours – cheaper period in the bi-hourly tariff –, charging 15 thousand kilometers will cost 428 euros. If these are off-peak hours, the consumer will pay 748 euros.
If you installed a wall box with connection to Mobi.E, the first and second year of the contract, you will pay 585 euros in off-peak hours and 738 euros in off-peak hours. After these two years, in the cheapest period, this value increases to 607 euros and in the most expensive period to 748 euros.
After all, in each of these scenarios, the cost is a few hundred euros out of the 1188 euros that public network users have to pay.
Even so, rising prices have not alienated consumers. According to data published on Monday, the national electric vehicle charging network Mobi.E recorded more than 717,000 recharges in the first four months of the year, which translates into a 79% increase compared to the same period in 2021. April was the best month ever, with over 188,000 top-ups from around 28,000 users.
In terms of energy, consumption of nearly 10,000 megawatt hours (MWh) was recorded, an increase of 112% compared to the same period last year.
The network has grown in number of stations, but also in number of entities that provide services to users. In March of this year, Mobi.ea installed 27 new active charging stations in Portugal, thus counting more than 2,500 stations and more than 5,000 sockets throughout the country, including more than 600 with fast or ultra-fast charging (power greater than 22kW).
Although there is an apparent ease in charging the car on the street, it is not the option that compensates the users the most, as I had already explained to the I the president of the UVE – Association of Electric Vehicle Users. And for a simple reason: “To have electricity in the street, you need a terminal, which can cost 2 thousand euros, a normal terminal, 20 thousand euros, a fast terminal, or 40 thousand euros, a super fast terminal. In other words, there is an additional investment cost in the equipment”.
In other words, the operators have an additional cost, either with the equipment, in its acquisition, or with its installation and its connection to the national electricity grid, or later with the need to carry out the maintenance of this equipment, which , in the case of ultra-fast chargers, it also requires liquid cooling of the station itself, such is its power.
Thus, in order to amortize the cost of the equipment and guarantee its maintenance “when recharging on the public network, there is an operating or activation fee which depends on the operator” and that is this fee which also increases the price of recharging. on the public network. “Said Henrique Sanchéz to this newspaper last October.
For Alexandre Marvão, coordinator of mobility studies at Deco Proteste, it should be added that the public network still suffers from some weaknesses that require the attention of Mobi.e.
“In areas outside major urban centers, charger availability continues to be quite limited,” he says, adding that to make matters worse, consumers complain about the lack of relevant information. “The public network still needs to be developed, either through on-site information or other information systems that help drivers choose the station and understand how much they will actually spend on each load,” the official said.
End of thermal cars?
With increasing range, there are electric cars for every budget. In Portugal, in the first three months of the year, more than 4300 cars of this segment were sold. Only in March, in light passenger cars, sales of trams exceeded those of diesel vehicles, according to UVE data.
Portugal seems to be effectively committed to decarbonization and this objective is supported by the European Union (EU). Last Tuesday, the proposal that the European Commission presented to the 27 Member States, in July 2021, to prohibit, from 2035, the marketing of vehicles equipped with combustion engines, whether petrol, diesel, LPG or natural gas , applied in electrified mechanics (hybrid, mild hybrid and hybrid connect), was finally discussed and approved by the European Parliament.
Assuming that a vehicle is driven on average for 10 to 15 years, depending on the country, this will allow the EU to completely ban the use of combustion engine models in 2050. This will ensure, as planned, that only fully electric vehicles from that date on EU roads.
Also on the table was a 55% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030, compared to 2021 values, a considerable jump from the current 37%. But the deputies decided not to support this proposal.
Although the majority has decided not to tighten the control of CO2 emissions even more, it remains to be seen what the position will be in relation to the way of determining the emissions and consumption of hybrids. connect which, according to the system in force, benefit from it, since the measurements of consumption and emissions in real conditions of use are out of step with reality by a factor varying between 6 and 8 depending on the model.
The European Parliament will vote on the proposals relating to CO2 emissions in the coming months to negotiate the final rules.
By accelerating the transition to zero-emission vehicles, the EU aims to cut a quarter of emissions from transport, which have increased in recent years.
Major automakers such as Volkswagen and Volvo have already announced plans to stop selling combustion-engined cars in Europe by 2035, but some car groups have warned that such ambitious targets could only be achieved if European institutions supported massive investment in the construction of charging infrastructure. and in technological development.
“By creating limits on CO2 standards, we are stimulating innovation and investment for car manufacturers”, defended Jan Huitema, one of the MEPs in charge of mobility policies, during the session of the European Parliament. adding that the ambition of the EU must also be to run electric vehicles. cheaper.
The EU agenda also includes proposals, which are expected to be negotiated in the coming months, to oblige countries to install public charging stations at small intervals along major roads.