Polish cities debate the future of e-mobility

Polish cities debate the future of e-mobility

Legislation defines the scope of Polish cities’ duties in developing an alternative fuel infrastructure. The Polish Association of Alternative Fuels (PSPA), in partnership with ABB, is supporting more than 30 local authorities with a series of workshops designed to debate the future for e-mobility solutions

During the last session of "Electromobility in practice", which took place at the Technical University of Lodz, representatives of Lodz City Hall mentioned plans to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure in their city: 210 new chargers by the end of 2020 and investments in a new fleet of low-emission buses.

“We want to impose an obligatory establishment of charging stations in multi-storey car parks. For the remaining chargers, we will select the best locations based on consultations with the citizens of Lodz. Such locations will later be leased to companies which will be able to set up charging stations that will meet our requirements,” said Adam Wieczorek, Vice-Mayor of Lodz.

Lodz is only one example of the impending popularization of electromobility across Poland. The European Union has set the direction for its development and determined how the cities of the future will look - the users of electric cars are to have free access to chargers, which will be part of unified systems along the entire route.

The implementation of these objectives do not bypass Polish agglomerations, which according to the Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels are to be ready for the e-mobility revolution by the end of 2020. Local authorities want to discuss the future of transport and cities, have their own visions and plans, but often do not realise what problems are associated with the implementation of the act, which imposes many duties on them. For example, by 2025 the share of EVs in the municipalities which have more than 50,000 residents should reach at least 30 percent of the total (separate objectives were formulated for public transport).

Currently in Poland there are about 350 chargers for electric vehicles. The investments in e-mobility infrastructure are made both by energy companies and private companies, as well as local authorities and municipal utilities. However, while the first group of entities have adequate resources and competences to effectively implement the investments, city officials often struggle with lack of appropriate know-how and qualified staff.

“In fact, the municipal authorities have the same goal: sustainable, ecological transport and meeting the requirements of the law. However, all of them focus on the development of individual elements in different ways. We try to show them what barriers need to be overcome and what steps need to be taken to achieve these goals. During the course we present, among other things, legal analysis, as well as potentially unknown ways to finance projects,” said Maciej Mazur from PSPA.

PSPA is the largest organisation in this part of Europe, which focuses on the development of electromobility and ultimately wants to support 39 city authorities and companies in the role out of an effective e-mobility strategy. The partner of the initiative is ABB, which entered the EV-charging market back in 2010, and today has sold more than 10,500 ABB DC fast chargers across 73 countries, more than any other manufacturer. ABB develops pioneering e-mobility technologies, including the latest in DC fast charging, in its Corporate Research Centre in Cracow. During the session that was held in Lodz, the company’s specialists showcased the potential of advanced EV charging infrastructure.

“Let's remember that EV charging infrastructure is not only about the devices themselves, but also digital solutions supporting users and station owners such as remote diagnostics and monitoring of devices, remote service and secure payments, all of which are made possible through the connection of our charging solutions to the ABB AbilityTM platform. The e-mobility infrastructure must first of all be safe, reliable and accessible to residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Katarzyna Sobótka, e-mobility solutions manager at ABB in Poland.

According to the participants of the session, cities must also be aware of current trends and future solutions in order to effectively achieve the goals of zero-emission transport. For example, a strong trend in the development of e-mobility is the increase in the capacity of electric car batteries to more than 90 kWh, which will allow driving over 320 km on a single charge, with a simultaneous decrease in the price of batteries. As a result, it is also necessary to invest in more advanced, digitally connected infrastructure, bringing Polish cities closer to the idea of smart cities, where electric cars will be able to be used comfortably. Such solutions are already available. ABB’s future-proof Terra high power chargers are capable of adding 200 km of range to an electric vehicle in just 8 minutes.

One thing is certain - changes are inevitable. “In 2017, 1.2 million electric vehicles were registered worldwide. A year later, this figure almost doubled. It is estimated that 2.6 million electric vehicles will be registered by the end of this year, and a total of 7 million will already be on the world's roads. This is a huge leap. Automotive concerns are already prepared for the changes in the market, as each brand will introduce new models of electric cars to the market in the coming years, and some have announced full electrification of their fleet,” said Maciej Mazur.

Trends are obvious and there is no turning back, and cities, supported by commercial partners and technology companies, will play a key role in this revolution.

ABB regularly supports projects aimed at e-mobility development. Fortune Magazine recently ranked ABB #8 on its list of companies that are “changing the world” for the advances it has made in e-mobility and electric vehicle charging.

Photos by Urszula Czapla

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