At its first Sustainable Mobility Forum in Madrid this week, Nissan called for stronger infrastructure, including as many as 3,500 additional chargers on Spanish roads, to help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.
The inaugural event brought together more than 100 experts in transport, mobility, environment and other sectors of the economy to analyse the role of electric vehicles in cutting urban pollution and agree on steps to implement a sustainable mobility strategy.
The event was held in Madrid, where new regulations were introduced in March of this year to address high levels of air pollution in the capital.
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Director of Electric Vehicles at Nissan in Europe, and Marco Toro, Executive Managing Director at Nissan Iberia, SA, stressed the importance of greater collaboration between public and private enterprise so that the infrastructure to support zero emission vehicles is improved.
“Fluctuations in sales of electric vehicles demonstrate the impact that government subsidies can have on the introduction of e-mobility in Spain. The real solution is for government and private enterprise to work together to consider both cost of ownership and range anxiety.
“Successful markets like Norway and the UK have taken a holistic approach, offering purchase subsidies but also investing in public charging infrastructure,” Diernaz commented.
In Spain, there are over 1,200 public charge points servicing electric vehicle customers, and that number is expected to rise in 2015. However, in leading markets like the UK (6,500) and Norway (4,100), there are up to four times as many publically available chargers.
Leader and market expert in EV, Nissan reported a 77% increase in sales of its popular Nissan LEAF last year.
Toro added: “Based on the infrastructure available in best-selling markets, it’s clear that electric vehicle drivers will need access to as many as 3,500 additional chargers by 2020, if we’re to replicate the success of more mature EV markets.
“To improve air quality and to respond to the environmental problems that big Spanish cities like Madrid face we need to increase the presence of cleaner modes of transportation. Electric vehicles make it possible to meet today’s high demand for mobility whilst also caring for our surroundings and the environment.”
The comments come as ANFAC (Asociación Española de Fabricantes de Automóviles Turismos y Camiones) announces an 18.5% increase in new car sales across the region. The rise represents the first significant growth the industry has recorded since 2010, and with improving economic conditions, Nissan feels the time is right to seek greater investment in infrastructure.
“We have seen a significant increase in new car sales in the past twelve months, owing to low emission vehicle schemes like the Plan PIVE (Programa de Incentivos al Vehículo Eficiente) grant and Plan MOVELE (Proyectos de Movilidad Eléctrica). However, it is critical that Spain continues to invest in its network of public charge points to encourage customers to make the switch,” explained Toro.
“Countries like Norway and the UK, have enjoyed periods of intense growth over the past 24 months, and now is the time to invest in Spain – securing extended incentives schemes, benefits for users and establishing a robust network of charge points.”
Attendees at the Nissan Sustainable Mobility Forum included representatives from the Department of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises, the Regional Department of the Environment in Madrid, and the Environment, Sustainability and Mobility Department at Madrid City Council.
Also present were representatives from ANFAC and AEDIVE (Asociación Empresarial para el Desarrollo e Impulso del Vehículo Eléctrico), as well as big business, with the likes of Urbaser, Endesa and IBIL lending their weight.
Earlier this year, Nissan and Endesa, an Enel Group subsidiary, signed a ground-breaking agreement that paves the way for a mass-market vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system. The two companies have agreed to collaborate to introduce V2G services into the European market. Testing of the new equipment is scheduled for autumn 2015.
Partnerships between the public and private sectors and between companies are essential for the mass adoption of electric vehicles. For more than three years, Nissan has been instrumental in establishing partnerships with local government and corporate customers to present the advantages of Zero Emission electric mobility.
In 2010, the introduction of the Nissan LEAF – the first mass-market, 100% electric vehicle launched globally – revolutionised the motoring world. This year, the Nissan LEAF has been joined by an unprecedented number of new entrants into the EV market and has emerged as the leader on a global, US and European basis.
It remains the best-selling EV in history, commanding a 25% share of today’s zero-emission vehicle segment.