Alternative fuels for infrastructure development
Infrastructure shapes mobility, that is why the key to reducing transport emissions and its independence on reserves of crude oil are not only new technologies in the field of alternative power systems for vehicles, but also the construction of the essential power infrastructure. No change in the system will be possible without the support of the applied network and its smart usage.
Transport is fundamental to European economy and society. The mobility of EU citizens may strengthen internal market and improve the quality of life, whereas transport of goods contributes to economic growth and the creation of new jobs. Based on a study made by the European Commission1, the transport sector is a major and growing source of environmental pollutants emission such as noise, substances, harmful for life forms, and greenhouse gases, causing progressive climate changes. That is the reason why the European Commission has set a system of defined objectives for member states. Their aims are to decarbonise transport and define measurable success rate. It is predicted that greenhouse gases emission will be lowered by 20% by 2030 in comparison to 2008, and decarbonisation level will amount to 80% by 2050 in comparison to 1990. In order to fulfill the abovementioned scenario, intensive measures in the areas of implementing new technologies are undertaken, especially when concerning alternative methods of powering motor vehicles.
ELECTRICITY, THE MOST PROSPECTIVE ALTERNATIVE FOR OIL
Decarbonisation turns out to be single reason for searching of effective alternatives for petrol and diesel oil. Over the coming decades, oil will be the scare resource, which would come from uncertain suppliers. As was recently noticed by the International Energy Agency, the less the world successful in decarbonisation process, the higher will be the prices for oil. In 2010, the amount of oil imported by EU was valued for around € 253 million and in 2015 the value of import amounted to € 204 million.2 The lack of suitable solution of the oil issue may significantly worsen people’s ability to travel and affect economic security, inflation, trade balance and the overall competitiveness of the European economy. Since the first big oil crisis, which happened 40 years ago, there has been no significant change in transport system although technical progress as well as cost and energy effective policies were observed. However, transport may be energy efficient, as 96% of EU energy needs in this sector is dependent on oil and oil products.
Alternative fuels, especially electricity, is a method to limit dependencies on oil. Electricity as the most prospective alternative to fuel, which can replace traditional fossil fuels, is also recognized by the European Commission in communication on European strategy for alternative fuels. Moreover, it is said to have the greatest potential for reducing CO2 emissions coming from transport sector.
INFRASTRUCTURE, A PRECONDITION FOR DEVELOPING ELECTROMOBILITY
The main obstacle that stands on the way of introducing electric vehicles on the market and gaining customer acceptance is the lack of charging infrastructure. Infrastructure shapes mobility and no big changes can be possible without providing charging points network and creating the tool enabling its wise use.
On the global scale, getting the access to charging points is easier, but still insufficient. In 2012, the total number of charging points in the world amounted 5000, while in Europe its amount was equal to 7250. In 2014, 3869 charging points entered global market, from which 1978 appeared in Japan, 1181 in Europe, 686 in the United States and 24 in other countries. In Europe, the leading country in terms of the number of charging points is Germany ( 2 thousand), then France (1.6 thousand), Holland (1.7 thousand), Spain (1.4 thousand) and Great Britain (0.7 thousand). The first country in Central Europe in which charging infrastructure was fully developed was Estonia, opening 165 charging points in 2013. They were located alongside motorways at the distances of from 40 up to 60 km and in urban areas.
Developing charging infrastructure in EU countries depends not only on the goodwill of member states, which representatives want to implement sustainable low-carbon development strategy, but also on particular law provisions. According to Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on alternative fuels infrastructure development, member states shall ensure that sufficient number of publicly accessible charging points will be established by 31 December 2020 to allow driving electric vehicles in urban/suburban agglomerations, other densely populated areas and infrastructure networks determined by member states. In Poland, the number of publicly accessible charging points has been predicted as 46000 in 2020, whereas in 2014 there were 49 accessible charging points and 120 charging plugs. In comparison to 2011, when the number of charging points was 27, average annual growth of charging points was 9.
Unfortunately, “mytesla” maps (updated systematically for users of this car producer) indicate that currently (ed. April 2016), the number of working charging points 2014 has decreased from 41 to 8 stations, in comparison to 2014, and at the same time as much as 3 of them are still being rebuild. The numbers clearly show a great activity in expanding charging infrastructure in larger cities as well as between them.
Cities and urban agglomerations successively, but slowly, undertake activities, aiming at charging infrastructure extension. Nevertheless, the development of electric mobility may be substantially limited unless the charging network enabling interurban relocating is established. The completion of charging points network in urban areas with interagglomerative network is a necessary step and was confirmed by the Polish Ministry of Economy in document published in 2012 titled: Conditions for implementing e-mobility integrated system in Poland. The vision of electric mobility development included therein covers the execution of electric cars utilization system, concerning large cities, motorways and fast roads in the first instance.
The investments for the establishment of a coherent infrastructure of alternative fuels supply points requires public support, in order to become profitable. Over the support for the development of a coherent infrastructure of alternative fuels supply points will be granted by the European Commission, TEN-T funds, Cohesion Fund, structural funds and European Investment Bank in the form of loans and other mechanisms, which have not been specified yet.