By David Lee
Internal combustion engines fueled by petroleum continue to power the vast majority of vehicles around the world and continue to produce the largest percentage of CO2 from the transportation sector.
Since transportation is one of the largest sectors in Europe, it’s no wonder the mission of the European Green Cars Initiative is to support research and development on technologies that help advance such things as renewable, non-polluting energy, transportation safety, and traffic flow. In other words, the group’s objective is to help create a smarter, greener, integrated transport system.
As part of this effort is a campaign to increase the number of electric cars on our roads.
The benefits of electric cars go beyond transportation. By adopting more sustainable transport methods such as electric vehicles (EVs), we could save kilotons of C02 each year while achieving annual net cost savings for consumers and governments, alike. EVs offer a viable solution to the problems faced byEurope’s auto sector.
Yet, the introduction of any new technology such as electric cars requires extensive research and pilot projects. In Ireland, ESB Networks is involved in a number of trials and projects to analyze the charging infrastructure and collect data on ongoing consumer behaviors and trends.
ESB Networks is also a member of the Green eMotion research project that aims to develop and deploy interoperable charging solutions for electro-mobility across Europe. This project focuses on achieving mass-market adoption of EVs through the development of standards, policies and interoperable systems so that motorists can easily charge their vehicles anytime and anywhere throughout Europe.
The selection of Ireland as one of the ten demonstration regions within Green eMotion was an obvious one, since it already operates an advanced charge point network that covers 82 percent of the country’s main towns and cities.
To be sure, Ireland has many natural advantages that make it an ideal location for the successful adoption of EVs. There are short distances between urban centres, we have the capacity to generate high levels of renewable energy, we have a single service provider that operates a unified distribution network across the country, and we have high levels of home ownership for overnight charging.
In addition to all of this, there is a growing desire by Irish consumer to maintain a responsible lifestyle and to embrace the EV opportunity. For example, in June 2012, ESB Networks invited citizens and organizations to apply to join a team of EV ambassadors and drive an electric car for one year. The hugely positive response of more than 12,000 applicants highlighted the level of interest the has in this innovative driving technology.
In support of this campaign, ESB Networks, in collaboration with IBM, which has worked extensively on EV technologies including batteries, is implementing a charging infrastructure as well as the IT and communications systems needed to support EVs across Ireland. Beginning this month, the system will have open accessibility for all energy supply companies and all types of electric vehicles.
(Left to Right) Peter O’Neill, IBM Country General Manager, Ireland; ESB Chief Executive, Pat O’Doherty; and Allan Schurr, Vice President, Strategy and Development of IBM’s Global Energy and Utilities Industry, announce joint partnership in which IBM will help ESB ecars implement a fully-integrated smarter charging IT system. The system will manage electric vehicle public charge points, which are being rolled out across Ireland by ESB ecars. The IBM EV platform will enable EV drivers to select convenient payment options and access all charge points using a single ID card.