Electromobility, which refers to modes of electric transport and their supporting infrastructure, has in only a few years become one lever of sustainable transport. As it gains momentum, car manufacturers are now focusing on it as one of their priorities.
Since the beginning of 2019, 7,117 light electric vehicles have been registered in France. That’s a 60% overall increase since the beginning of the year compared to 2018. And the arrival of new models suggests a further broadening of the electric mobility customer base in the coming years. The market share of electric or hybrid vehicles is expected to jump from 1% to 30% by 2030.
This appetite for electric cars goes hand-in-hand with new uses for them. Carsharing, carpooling and private hire driver services are very popular. Faced with the advent of these new frameworks, car manufacturers are diversifying and reinventing themselves. Moving in that direction, Renault, for example, launched its self-service carsharing platform in Paris in 2020 under the name Zity.
When you learn that a car is parked 95% of the time and that 80% of trips are made with only the driver along for the ride, vehicle sharing really does seem to be a more ethical approach to mobility. It divides the cost of use in half while considerably lowering its carbon footprint.
Carsharing can also benefit companies, especially when it comes to last kilometre logistics. Very expensive, that part of the delivery chain represents 20% of its total cost. A cause of city-centre traffic, these deliveries also carry a significant environmental impact, responsible for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
New technologies and connected services are creating multiple possibilities for innovation that are particularly well-suited to electric vehicles, in the vein of the MaaS (Mobility as a Service) concept, which aims to centralise a collection of mobility solutions through one unique platform.
One of the first concrete projects saw the light of day in Sweden’s Gothenburg. This service combines different modes of transport: public transport, self-service bicycles, taxis and carsharing services. From their smartphones, users can find the best route, validate their tickets, open the door of a shared car and then pay for all these services at the end of the month at the cheapest price available!
Other similar projects are emerging in several cities across Europe, such as Austria and Finland. If in France the MaaS concept has yet to spread, numerous subscription services provide access to diversified transport offerings.
The development of the electric car market has given birth to a full-fledged ecosystem, involving car manufacturers, local authorities, energy providers and charging network operators.
Some car manufacturers like Groupe Renault are now taking advantage of the possibilities open to them in the domains of smart charging and stationary energy battery storage systems to make the electric car the centre of an intelligent electric ecosystem. Such is notably the case on the islands of Porto Santo, in Portugal, and Belle-Île-en-Mer, in France, and in Utrecht, in the Netherlands, all smart territories where numerous steps have been taken in that direction.
Whether that means making fleets of vehicles available, installing devices capable of triggering charging based on production peaks or putting prototypes into service capable of restoring part of the energy stored in their batteries to help the grid handle spikes in demand, all these innovations serve the energy transition.
In some of these territories, second-life batteries that come from Renault electric vehicles are being used as temporary storage reservoirs, directly housing the energy produced by solar and wind power stations. When demand exceeds the capacity of these renewable energy sources, the stored electricity is reintroduced into the grid.
More than 80% of people polled around the world “believe in the future of the electric car”. As the only immediate response we have to address global environmental issues, one of the challenges facing the growth of the electric car is its degree of accessibility.
The optimisation of the battery is gradually lowering prices while the secondhand market offers an alternative that is appealing to more and more buyers. Last year, 12,270 electric cars were purchased secondhand, representing an increase of more than 60% over the previous year.
Long considered an obstacle to the expansion of electromobility, charging infrastructure has continued to advance over the past three years. In Europe, charging stations now number over 130,000.
Developing charging infrastructure in suburban and rural areas, while at the same time capitalising on the pooling of vehicles and journeys, will quickly reveal electromobility’s high added value.
Copyrights: iStock, Olivier MARTIN-GAMBIER, Renault Communication