Discover emission-free Malaga: the embryo of an electric future
Good bordering on outstanding: that’s how users in Malaga rated the Zem2all project – the first experiment in Spain involving the electrification of private, business and public vehicles fleets. It involves some 200 vehicles, 220 conventional charging points and 23 fast charging points. Find out how the electric world works.
In 2010, Endesa signed an agreement in Japan with Mitsubishi Corporation to partner on a Spanish-Japanese public-sector collaboration programme in both countries involving Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and its counterpart in Spain, the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI). And this is how the ZEM2ALL concept was born.
Zero Emission Mobility to All (ZEM2ALL) was prompted by an urge to conduct large-scale testing of new e-mobility services and their benefits in the city of Malaga. Broadly speaking, the project involved providing a fleet of 200 vehicles and 220 conventional charging points, together with 23 fast charging points. Everything was monitored, interconnected and analysed so no data or observations were missed: from electricity demand through to the amount each user tended to charge their vehicle, where, and which charging points were the most popular, etc. “It was even possible to record the power consumed by a single indicator light,” says project lead, Ignacio González Domenech. So why Malaga? Because, comments Ignacio, “a Smartcity laboratory had already been set up in the city, the city’s the perfect size, and the local council’s highly engaged with these issues”.
The initiative – which has now concluded – was a true testbed of how e-mobility works and is accepted by the public. The impact on emissions and energy consumption in a community was also evaluated. Over four years, drivers travelled 4.6 million kilometres with zero emissions, there were upwards of 100,000 charge cycles, and emissions equivalent to 330 tonnes of CO2 were avoided – the amount emitted by 50 homes in a year.
“Our aim was to distribute the 200 cars [160 Mitsubishi Imiev and 40 Nissan Leaf] equally between individuals, companies and public transport fleets to gain an insight into behaviour in each sector”, Domenech explains. “In the beginning we thought it would be difficult for people to adopt an electric vehicle, which did involve an outlay for them despite the highly attractive terms we offered. In the end, demand far exceeded expectations and many applicants couldn’t get a car,” he continues. Domenech recounts an anecdote: “During the project, one of the companies with two cars discovered that electric vehicles were ideal for their business and they saved a lot, so they ordered two more from us. Later, we discovered they had bought another five off their own bat… the company was in the security business and as the cars didn’t need to go fast to patrol residential and industrial estates, they consumed hardly anything”. There was a wide range of buyers: individuals, hotels, supermarkets, delivery firms, installers, sales reps, rental companies… even the Malaga police force bought one. On average, they travelled over 10,000 km each year – equivalent to 38 km a day.
What about the fast charging points? During the first phase they were free, so people could familiarise themselves with them. Users had to pay after the seventh charge, and ultimately it became a pay-to-use service. “We noticed that the charging points were more popular when they were free, but once a charge was introduced users hardly topped up there except when they were caught out. Over the three stages of the project, more than 60% of users never visited them and only 5% did so regularly. The conclusion is that they are more of a placebo than anything else. They offer security and are only used in an emergency.”
One important conclusion, says Domenech, is that most users charge at home “and when their batteries are at about 50%”. Seventy percent of vehicles were charged every two days.
As of today, 94% of survey respondents said they are satisfied or highly satisfied with the project, with 97% saying it had equalled or exceeded their expectations. Eighty-five percent have decided to keep their vehicles at the end of the project and 91% of those interviewed believe they’ve saved money. Yet another clear indication of the total success of the project is that the final score given by participants for their personal experience is 8.38 out of 10.
“The project was a real success. The vast majority decided to keep their cars after the experience, although it has to be said that the terms of sales were extremely attractive.
“The product and experience in Malaga was the embryo of what Endesa is now doing across Spain,” concludes the project lead.