Five tips for municipalities to prepare for the electric mobility era
Over the last four years, the number of pure electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) in Lithuania has been growing by an average of 70 percent annually. The development of public EV charging infrastructure has not kept pace with this pace, which is largely due to the stagnation of processes in the public sector. Kazys Pupinis, Head of Eleport in Lithuania and the Baltics, shared his advice on how to stimulate these processes and what solutions municipalities could take to develop a quality EV charging infrastructure at the Charging Point Lithuania event, according to a press release.
Currently, there are around 600 public and semi-public EV charging points across Lithuania. The Ministry of Transport and Communications plans to increase this number tenfold to 6,000 by 2030, and the total number of EV charging bays, including private stations, should reach 60,000.
Eleport, the developer of public EV charging networks, is committed to making a significant contribution to achieving these goals. The company plans to have several hundred fast and ultra-fast charging stations in the country over the next few years.
“For Lithuania to achieve its goals, a smooth cooperation between the private and public sectors is essential. This can be seen as a challenge, but we see it as a win-win opportunity that will result in a well-developed, high-quality charging infrastructure for electric vehicles nationwide. District municipalities already have a particularly important role to play in making decisions that will benefit society in the long term and promote electric mobility,” says Pupinis.
He points out that some municipalities are already well advanced in the infrastructure development process, actively communicating, participating in relevant meetings and inviting private investors for consultations. What more could they do to speed up the process, and what should other municipalities that are still taking their first steps do? “Eleport’s Head of Lithuania and the Baltics shares five tips:
Engage with developers of public EV charging networks. Invite them for consultations, discuss what kind of infrastructure you are planning, how it should be located in the city and why, what criteria are important for the procurement process, etc. “A consultation does not mean that you will be working with that particular company, but it will help you gain useful insights from market professionals. Companies with a long history in this field will help you understand the design and logic of the project, and advise you on how to shape the charging infrastructure project so that it is objective and encourages private operators to tender and offer services. There have been many cases where the municipality tries to do everything on its own and either no one takes part in the tender or suppliers of dubious quality come forward,” notes Pupinis.
Do your homework. Plan where and why you want charging stations. Create plots in those locations or make them otherwise accessible to a future operator. Have ESO supply power to all the desired locations. These first steps will greatly facilitate the way forward and ensure smooth cooperation.
Let the market work. Municipal representatives often have questions about what conditions and restrictions they should impose on suppliers, mainly in these three areas:
Charging price to the end user;
Electricity capacity at a specific point;
The amount of charging infrastructure at a given point.
“The answer is simple: be flexible and do not impose restrictions. The market will regulate all these points. After all, it is not in the interest of the operators to, for example, offer the highest possible charging prices to end-users, because then nobody will use the services and the stations will be empty. Conversely, the more competitive the prices, the more consumers are willing and able to use the services”, says the CEO of Eleport.
Design urban development around the need for EV charging infrastructure. Charging an EV takes between half an hour and an hour to several hours, depending on its power, so EV charging parks should be designed to complement existing infrastructure nearby. In other words, while the EV is charging, people could visit your city’s attractions, go shopping, etc., instead of sitting in the car and listening to the radio. Conversely, EV charging parks can provide an incentive for service businesses to set up nearby.
Involve other landowners. Perhaps EV charging infrastructure does not need to involve municipal land allocation or purchase? Consider financial incentives for landowners who might allow one, several or even a whole fleet of charging stations on their land. This could accelerate the development of an EV charging network and the growth of EVs in your region.
According to Pupinis, Eleport’s goal is to create a convenient public network of EV charging infrastructure so that in the future, EVs can be driven in the same comfort as today’s internal combustion engine cars. “No matter how much and how fast EV battery capacity, charging power and other parameters grow, our goal is to have an infrastructure so that people not only don’t have to worry about where, how or even if they will be able to charge their EVs when they are planning a longer journey, but that they don’t have to think about it at all. It should be as easy as going to a petrol station today,” he says.
Estonian start-up Eleport has been developing public EV charging networks since 2016 and is currently active in all Baltic countries and Poland. Launched in Lithuania in 2022, Eleport is working with both the public and private sectors to deploy stations in all locations, from cities and suburbs to roads and motorways.