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Extra COP 21 column December 15

COP 21 - the value for EV?

COP 21 climate conference is finished with a new agreement. A huge achievement according to many world leaders. But what is the real value of this agreement for sustainable electric mobility?

You can see the agreement from a positive way, which requires to look behind the text, or you can see it from a negative way, taking the text as it is. With the last I mean that the agreement is a compromise. It are mainly ambitions without penalties when not achieved, “shall” became “should” in an important part of the agreement which devaluated the text, aviation is excluded from all measurements and not enough money is committed to help poor countries in the world to achieve the climate goals.

This is all true and from a legal perspective the agreement is very weak. But….

Never before the world was so united setting targets and ambitions for a better climate. During the COP 21 there was a huge positive vibe to reduce emissions, reduce global heating and reduce CO2 by working together. It is also unique that environmental NGO’s, countries, and commercial companies all agree with the need to do something and even better: they all see opportunities for their business.

What will the impact be on EV?

At this moment is transport responsible for about 18% of all the CO2 emissions which causes the global warming. If we do nothing because of the growth of the economy this will raise to over 30% in 2050. In Europe transport and energy (coal energy factories) are the only sectors with autonomous growth in CO2 emissions if we don’t act. The good thing is that electric vehicles stimulate generation of green energy, because EV drivers do not want to be powered by dirty energy. So a win-win.

Because of COP 21 many commercial companies finally see  the benefits of sustainability. They can make money with it, it can save them money and it improves their image. Or even the opposite: if you do not make your business more sustainable you are not that much appreciated anymore.

Going electric with your vehicles is an easy way to get the first results. New EVs have an acceptable range of at least 200km for less than 30.000 Euro’s. As energy and maintenance for EVs is lot cheaper than conventional cars, the business case becomes much more attractive. This generates all kinds of innovative opportunities for businesses. E.g. France announced that they will build a small EV with consumer price of max 7.000 Euro by working with replaceable batteries that you can simply exchange at ‘fuel stations’; you change it for a charged battery module that you plug and play in your car. Other companies start investing in charge infrastructure connected to the solar systems of companies, homes and condo’s.

Also a big number of second hand EVs come on the market. Which will have a positive impact on the private usage of EV’s.

Municipalities are going to invest more than ever in supporting and promoting EV’s in their cities. Sustainable logistics are a big focus for cities as package delivery will grow, it is not only about the emissions but also about the noise. Cities like Amsterdam spend huge amounts of money for noise isolation of buildings – EV’s are almost quite. The money for isolation could go to promotion of EV’s (incl. electric vans) and to networks of charge infrastructure.

Cities as we know them will change. More environmental zones will be created in cities where only EV’s are allowed and car sharing with EV’s which will become more common. New city areas will be designed for EV’s for charging, vehicle to grid, vehicle to home, etc.

National banks of UK and NL already announced that it will be hard to get money for the ‘dirty’ activities, as they will focus on sustainability – that is the long term most secure investment.

We just started with all this. COP 21 created a sense of urgency AND a synergy between NGO’s, governments and commercial companies to make this happen. Working together and creating opportunities. It is about reading the text behind the text.

Keep the vibe and let’s make this happen!

Column December 215

The future is now – forecast of EV in 2016

The year 2015 is almost over, although it is nice to look back, it is even nicer to look ahead. What will 2016 bring us concerning the EV market? What can the (future) EV driver expect and what focus will the industry have?


-          No huge price drops for EV’s – but much more models in current price range

-          Big improvements on range

-          More attention and improvements on efficiency – more km’s per kWh

-          Charge stations concentrated on city area/market

-          City logistic’s, motors and car-sharing goes electric

-          Traveling with an EV much easier because of roaming, ad hoc payment and good info about location, status and price of charge stations.

Moving from A to B powered by electricity is not strange anymore. Although in several countries and cities electric vehicles are already quite common, in many other countries the real adoption and acceptance still need to start. This includes buses, trucks, vans and private vehicles. At this moment there are two main hurdles:

-          Price of electric vehicles

-          Range

So far the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoë are the main low priced electric vehicles. In 2016 we will see more private EV’s going down to a level below 30.000 Euro’s, which is still quite high for the mass public. I don’t expect any major changes in this area. However more and more 2 nd hand EV’s will come on the market. They can be very interesting as quite often the buyers use them as second car where range is not the biggest issue. Maintenance cost of EVs are very low and that is interesting for this target group. Although the prices of new EVs will not drop very much, the 2 nd hand market of EV’s will grow and become a real market in 2016.

In 2016 EV’s with at least 200 km range will become available, with at least 160km range in winter. Nissan Leaf started with this by introducing end of this year/early next year the 30kW Leaf, but also Renault Zoë and BMW i3 will get bigger batteries with more range. Hopefully it will also be offered for existing owners of these cars, as upgrade although the OEMs want to attract new customers with it. Starting next year all new private EVs will have at least 200km range.

So far there has not been much focus on the efficiency of EVs except for getting a bit more range. As all car manufacturers put EVs on the market, more and more attention will be paid to the efficiency. Just like people want ICE (traditional) vehicles driving at least 1 liter fuel for 25km’s, EV drivers will pay more and more attention on how much km’s they can drive on 1kW. At this moment 17kW per 100km’s is still common, in 2016 this will improve a lot by at least 10 to 15%, which will not only improve range but also reduce cost AND impact on the environment.

Regarding other types of EV’s I expect a big introduction of electric vans. In cities logistics has main impact on the emissions and health. Next year in all countries city logistics will move to sustainable transport. On one side demanded by the cities, on the other side more e-vans will be available and companies will see the benefits financial as the TCO of e-vans will be very attractive.

E-car sharing is another area which will grow with big numbers. This year already I have seen more plans for e-car sharing plans than any year before. Besides the big cities, it will become available in smaller cities and for specific target groups like elderly people. Main challenge is improving the way of charging your EV as using a charge cable in e-car sharing is not the best match – this will go to inductive charging.

E-motor bikes are normal next year. Range is good, price is good and the power is huge. But it will take some time for the traditional motor riders to get used to the (no) noise….

On the infrastructure market you will mainly see huge numbers of AC (slow) charge stations. All cities, municipalities, but also companies are busy with it. Promoted by the EU and national support programs, the number will grow. Part of this are huge charge areas, where 10 or more chargers are put together, to concentrate the charging and reducing the hassle to get a charge station in front of every home. Also next year there will be market for both AC chargers (up to 22kW) during night and when people are working and DC (fast) charging when travelling. Next year all kind of home energy systems and grid balancing systems will be connected to the charge infrastructure to deal with supply and demand.  

Inductive charging will slowly become more mature. Currently there is still a huge lack of standards, but that will be solved next year. Second half of next year for specific groups like taxi’s and e-car sharing I expect that inductive charging will become the standard, which can be the break through of this technology.

I expect interesting situation for smart charging next year. Will we try to get as much vehicles on the infrastructure by managing the need and get them charged as fast as possible – to give the charge stations a better business case. Or will we try to keep the cars as long as possible connected to the charge station to use them for the grid and energy supply balance?  

Finally a good message for many EV drivers. Next year you will be able to travel with your EV to other countries and charge your car across countries and states. This will be done via a huge roaming network to charge with your charge cards, but also by introducing all kind of ad-hoc payment systems – to enable that you can charge your car without needed subscription. AND EV drivers will get a good overview of location and availability of the charge stations, including the prices.

Column August 2014

The hard case of the business case.

It is almost 5 years ago that the slowly countries worldwide started to seriously look at the potential of electric vehicles. A look back and look forward will come in my column in October when it is exactly 5 years ago that in NL officially the first public charge station was ‘launched’. In this column it is about the financial challenges we have; the hard case of the business case.

The EV business is a complex system. It is not only about cars, but also about infrastructure, about energy supply and demand, about local national and international governments and about users like you, me, my neighbors, etc. The EV drivers want affordable good cars which they can use wherever they go and whenever they want, which all has to do with availability of infrastructure, range and price of the energy. All other actors in the chain want either to earn money or save money, even the pollution savings are finally expressed in money. Government subsidies cannot exist forever, so at a certain moment EV infrastructure need to be paid by the other actors and this results in a big challenge…

In The Netherlands we see that public charging stations can now only be used when you pay some kind of installation fee, and on top of that card service providers ask additional service fee sometimes depending on where the charge station is located, and you pay the energy price and you might pay additional roaming fee for using a station in a different country. Result: a big mess in prices and prices which makes it not attractive to charge for just a few km's like for the Prius Plug-in.

You could say this stimulates real EV’s as getting energy is now only affordable if you get directly for 70kms or more in your car. The reality is that we see that people with plug in hybrids don’t charge any more and only drive on fuel which kill the whole idea of plug'-in hybrids.

What is the solution? I am not in favor of putting again subsidies in the market. We must look at other possibilities and there are other possibilities.

  1. First of all we should look at who has a lot of benefit from EV’s? That are the energy distribution organizations (DSO’s). They have the benefit for more balanced energy grid and for energy reserves in batteries. They should invest much more in the infrastructure. Besides that municipalities benefit a lot of it with less problems with air and noise pollution. They should capitalize this put this in EV infra as the whole city will finally benefit from it. 
  2. Second: the energy price should drop, with about 25 to 40% for charging EV’s, which can be paid by the energy suppliers, DSO’s and government (reducing the taxes). This will stimulate the usage, so more energy is needed for the EVs and reduce a barrier to charge your EV.    
  3. Finally we must seriously look at how complex we made the chain. Introducing on massive scale charging station where you can simply pay directly with your traditional (contactless) bank or credit card will reduce the complexity of the current card system, will stimulate cross border charging and second hand EV usage (who probably will use subscription cards)  and finally reduce price and maintenance of the charging stations a big part of the infra chain can be re-used from existing systems and components like now used in normal shops.

Does this make a valid business case? Not sure if it solves all issues, but for sure it will help.




June 2014

10 EV Holiday tips. Summer holidays are starting. Here are some tips if you travel with your EV in Europe.


  1. There is NO single charge card you can get and use across Europe. So you need to find out where you go and then within the range of your EV do research to the local situation. 
  2. You need almost everywhere a subscription card or a mobile app connected to an account. Only in rare situations like at RWE cp’s you can call a helpdesk to activate a cp.
  3.  If you go to NL you are very lucky, as for NL you can charge at every public charger (about 7000) with 1 card, BUT you need to request that at a card service provider. You can find a list of providers here: http://www.e-laad.nl/opladen-elektrische-auto/laadvoorzieningen/publieke-laadpunten/laadpas-aanvragen/
  4. There is NO app or website that knows all charge point across Europe. Forget it. So take it country by country.
  5. If you not go to NL you need to check each place and area to find cp’s and what you need to get them working. Best is to check several websites and apps with charge stations and find the cards that can be used there.
  6. In North Europe all public car charge stations have the Type 2 plug (Mennekes © plug). However if you go to South Europe, like Spain, France, Italy, make sure you check not only if a cp is in the neighborhood, but also if the connector type fits to your plug, as sometimes they have a type 3 connector instead of the ‘Mennekes ©’ connector.
  7. The following websites can be useful: http://www.oplaadpalen.nl/  (this has possibility to download them to most common navigation systems. In Dutch but has also lot of CP’s outside NL. RWE stations: https://www.rwe-mobility.com/web/cms/en/1195202/emobility/rwe-charging-post-finder/ Eastern Europe and NL: http://ev-charging.com/at/en and overall Europe (incl. France): http://chargemap.com/
  8. The following mobile apps can be useful: Plugsurfing, ChargeMap, Oplaadpalen, Lovetoload, RWE eKWH, Clever (Denmark)
  9. If possible use the Car train. Put the car on the train and travel relaxed to close to your destination. In France your car can travel for free: http://www.plugincars.com/ev-range-take-it-train-127527.html
  10. Try to relax and enjoy your holiday.



April 2014

“Help, I just want to charge.” Quite often I hear this call for help and quite often for some reason is seems to be more difficult than it should be. This situation is blocking adoption of EV’s in many countries. In the Netherlands we managed several years ago total interoperability (100%!) to charge your EV at all public charging stations across the country, no matter from which operator your charge card is. In most other countries this is not possible, and it is very very hard to establish a European central system to support cross country interoperability, although there are several good initiatives like the European Clearing House. Why? Because organizations cannot work together, or they make systems that will be too expensive for the end user. And for the EV driver there is no alternative. We should all realize that the EV driver is the one who gets the trouble. Besides working together on a good cross country we should start as soon as possible with the introduction of mobile payment using trusted and known payment systems like Maestro, Visa or Mastercard, where all EV drivers can simply pay at the charge station without all the hassle of cards that are not connected to central interoperability systems. Let’s work all work together on that and help the EV driver to charge!