Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: April 19, 2024
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By Mobility Portal
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Referents in eMobility take a stance: What is the ideal model for eTrucks subsidies?

The Spanish agenda for electromobility today focuses on heavy transport and brings new debates to the table. Below, the perspectives of Kempower, Dhemax, Evectra, and CharIN regarding financing models for the transition are discussed.

There is no doubt that the eMobility sector is seeking to connect the dots regarding the national transition to zero-emission mobility.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), in 2023, 163 registrations of electric trucks were recorded in Spain.

These are the numbers currently on the table, but… what needs to be done to observe an upward trend?

Sector references are clear: for the electrification of heavy transport to gain momentum, state aid is a crucial factor.

This stance was detailed throughout the first panel event “Investments and new eMobility projects in Spain,” organized by Mobility Portal España.

Guillermo López Arias (Kempower).

Guillermo López Arias, Head of Sales Kempower Iberia & LATAM, indicates that subsidies are currently “necessary” because eTruck models “are very few, very new, and very expensive.”

Therefore, as a possible course of action, the expert proposes:

“We need to somewhat equalize the prices of new vehicles, we know that operationally, it will be much cheaper, but we have to find a way to do it.”

Adriano Mones Bayo, CharIN Spain Ambassador, also contributes to the debate.

Adriano Mones Bayo, CharIN Spain.

From his perspective, he understands that it is necessary to manufacture electric trucks “that do not stress drivers when they reach the charging station.”

Looking ahead to the fourth call of the Moves Plan, expected for the second semester of 2024, the sector proposes certain modifications to the aid.

Among them, providing discounts at the time of purchase to streamline the process, which currently can take up to two years.

“We are talking about an investment of over 10 billion euros by 2030. These are investments that someone will want to capitalize on, and if today we hear that it is difficult to do so with low-power charging points, what will we think about the profitability of a charging point with 20 times higher power,” Mones Bayo expresses regarding the Moves Plan.

And he continues: “Aids are decisive, what needs to be seen is how they are structured and under what assumptions.”

Another subsidy currently in effect in Spain is the Perte VEC, whose third edition has recently been expanded by the Government by an additional 200 million euros, reaching a total of 500 million.

Of these, 300 million will be in the form of grants and 200 million in loans.

Additionally, 300 million euros will be allocated to a battery line to be announced in early April, and 200 million for a second line of allocation and production of models to be unveiled later.

This will be complemented by a fourth call, scheduled for the second semester, which will have 1.25 billion euros in aid.

David Rodríguez, Evectra.

David Rodríguez, co-founder and CEO at Evectra, explains that the electrification of heavy transport “involves creating charging hubs in garages and on roads,” but that “we must develop it with a clear understanding of the technologies available.”

Thus, he proposes to “thoroughly study” the services that customers perform with these vehicles and determine if there is a need to provide support for roaming.

“Currently, in the context we are in, it is important to start with small-scale projects, where on-road charging may not be necessary, and as these charging hubs are deployed, expand the services,” Rodríguez concludes.

He emphasizes that some projects have been halted because electric vehicles “are expensive and subsidies are complex.”

Therefore, he believes that aid should be modified to make it easier for the end customer, both in the purchase of eTrucks and in the installation of chargers.

Both for Spain and for Europe, the implementation of charging points is imperative to comply with the Regulation for Alternative Fuel Infrastructure (AFIR).

This regulation mandates deploying at least 3,600 kilowatts (kW) of charging power for heavy transport by 2030 every 60 km on main roads and 1,500 kW every 100 km on secondary European roads.

Ideal locations for connectors on eTrucks

According to the latest developments announced in the sector, by the end of this year, it is expected that the market will have the MCS charging standard, initially designed for electric trucks, which will allow charging above 1 megawatt (MW).

However, before that, it is crucial to effectively address current challenges, such as having a standard location for the charging connector on eVehicles.

This will require careful consideration of the connector’s location to optimize “refueling” operations to the maximum.

But where should the connector be located?

Various experts in the sector answered this during the first panel of the event “Investments and new eMobility projects in Spain.”

Guillermo López Arias suggests that it would be ideal for them to be located in the same place, although he acknowledges that in the end, “it’s the decision of each brand.”

To illustrate, he uses gas stations as an example.

“They are not places where you park, reverse, and leave. Rather, they are places where you stop to refuel and then leave from the front. We propose the same in this situation,” he states.

Andrés Barentin, CEO at Dhemax, suggests considering placing the connector on the side at the front, although this could pose problems with the length of the cable.

Andrés Barentin, (Dhemax).

Trucks will eventually charge in shared sites with electric buses.

“Therefore, it is necessary to develop an approach that does not require creating a charging center for each type of vehicle but can interact,” he emphasizes.

He proposes placing the connector in the cabin at the front, with one side for MCS and the other for CCS, thus avoiding the need for long cables that “may not be the most affordable option.”

This will not only provide convenience during the charging process but also offer economic benefits “by investing in fixed assets” that can adapt to different types of loads for medium and heavy segments.

David Iriarte (Sungrow).

David Iriarte, Senior Sales Manager EV Charging Southern Europe at Sungrow, agrees that the connector should be installed at the front.

Additionally, he would place one of each type on both sides, always at the same height as the cabin.

What will happen if a standard is not established?

“This will force charging point providers to install very long cables to meet the needs of truck drivers, complicating their management,” he explains.

Not only that, but as power increases, the cables will become heavier, making them harder to handle.

“One will have to go to a gym for crossfit or be from Bilbao to handle them,” he emphasizes.

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