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In the border town of Serres, we had another great discussion on the development of Electromobility

The fourth public discussion, as part of our series of events on electromobility and installation of electric vehicle’s charging network, took place on the 23rd of September and was held in the town of Serres at the SEREXPO Business Center “CHRISTOS MEGLAS”, along with the other events taking place as part of the SEREXRO 2022 business exhibition.

The workshop attracted many interested parties from the fields of local authorities and business, in a fully crowded hall. Participants showed particular interest on the ways and best practices of moving electrically and how the installation of electric chargers can be a lever for the development of the local businesses. Serres is an important interconnection hub in the network of charging points, thus in combination with the network in Bulgaria, will facilitate the mobility of electric vehicle users in the cross-border region.

The workshop was organized by the Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT) of the Center for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) under the auspices of the Hellenic Institute of Electric Vehicles (HELIEV). Co-organizer of the workshop was the Civil Non-Profit Company “Institute of Sustainability and Safety” with the distinctive title ZITIMA ZOIS (Life Issue).

Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, special advisors of the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, referred to the critical initiatives of the Ministry in the field of electromobility. He referred to the incentives given for the purchase or lease of electric cars and two-wheelers and the aspirational efforts towards wider chargers’ installation along the national road network, as well as the new legislative framework for sustainable urban mobility and the installation of chargers in urban centres.

In his speech, the Director of the HIT/CERTH, Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris, presented the actions and the work of the Institute, with emphasis on its key role in the development of transport infrastructure and systems and their connection with local communities. As the President of the Hellenic Institute of Electric Vehicles (HELIEV), he referred to the initiatives of the organization for the development of a data base of charging network, the promotion of electric micromobility, the development of appropriate business models for the promotion of Electromobility and the information and awareness of citizens for the proper application and use of Electromobility Technologies. In addition, in his presentation he analysed the e-mobility market in Greece, noticing that charging stations in Greece follow the trend of sales of electric vehicles, which is increasing exponentially each year, when compared to the previous ones. He also mentioned the ways of subsidizing the purchase of an electric vehicle and the benefits of using it in terms of energy saving.

Mr. Martin Zaimov, from the Bulgarian Association of Electric Vehicles (BAEPS) made a brief reference to the actions of the EVECRI project in regard to the Bulgarian side, and stressed the need for interoperability between the operators in both countries.

The vice-president of ZITIMA ZOIS Mr. Diogenis Dimitrakopoulos addressed a short greeting on behalf of the organization “Life Issue”, referring to the need to inform small and medium-sized enterprises about the benefits of electromobility and the ways of installing chargers.

On behalf of Helpe Future, the Managing Director of the charging development company, Mr. Spyros Kiartzis stressed the need to develop fast charging (DC) stations at crucial locations throughout the Country, in order to provide quality services to the citizens.

The “HellenIQ Energy” (just a few days before renamed from HELPE) is the new name of the group, which departs from the strict concept of fossil fuels and includes renewable energy sources. Fast chargers are the ones that are needed so as not to delay the charging of electric vehicles. At the moment they have more than 30 fast chargers ready for installation, but the power grid cannot support them, since it takes from 8-12 months to make the required modifications.

He believes that at some point the market will move to autonomous or semi-autonomous stations where everyone will produce on their own the energy required for charging. He commented that 70% of gasoline are taxes, but on electromobility so far there are no taxes. Today, the corporate fleets served by the group use plug-in hybrids that can run on both fossil fuel and electricity. He also mentioned HellenIQ Energy’s mobile management platform where information is received, and payments can take place.

The General Manager and Co-Founder of MC Chargers Mr. Charalambos Marmangelos briefed the audience in the advantages and disadvantages of electromobility over internal combustion engines, emphasizing on the much better performance of electric vehicles, hence improved performance of the economy, and cheaper maintenance. 70-80% of prospective car buyers in large urban centres are seriously considering buying a pure electric or a hybrid plug-in vehicle. The goal for Greece is to convert 30% of vehicles to electric by 2030, a very optimistic target, in his opinion. Part of the transport-related action, however, should be covered by renewables. The growth rate changes naturally with international events (pandemic, war, etc.). As for the outlook, it is estimated that between 140 and 240 million EVs need to enter the global market to meet the most recent Sustainable Development Goals. In order for this to happen there is a necessity to significantly reduce the cost of the battery, which currently represents 40% of the cost of the whole vehicle. The price of the battery, calculated per KWh, has been significantly decreasing in the last decade. In 2008 it was 1170 dollars per KWh and in 2018 it reached at 176 dollars per KWh. The forecast for the years 2024-2025 was to fall below 100 dollars per KWh, but there is some extension due to the international supply shocks. The fact that the battery price is reducing rapidly is a prerequisite for increased electric vehicle’s sales, in itself.

The 350 thousand charging stations in Europe today are concentrated in 4-5 countries. In Greece about 280 to 350 thousand electric cars will enter in traffic until 2030, which is about 10%, and even for this small percentage, we should consider that at least 1 charger per 9 cars is required, according to the EU average, with a percentage of charging stations (up to 22 KW) to be raised by 85%. MC Chargers develops integrated charging solutions from the design stages up to the manufacture of the charger.

Mr. Athanasios Gagtzis, Energy & Electromobility Engineer at GEYER, explained the benefits of the built-in protection devices in the chargers the chargers they offer, which means that space is saved since there is no need to install a sub-panel, reducing costs and installation times and avoiding mistakes during installation. The devices allow for voltage and temperature to be monitored, which is very important since many chargers, even branded ones, have significant problems with high temperature. The company has the ability to create “Master-Slave” types of charging networks, where the adjustment is made by the “master”. Mr. Gagtzis explained all the technical capabilities provided by the company’s products, with production of AC chargers (up to 22KW) being their core expertise. Despite, GEYER providing chargers for their partner’s network, it was explained that for a home network even 700 euros are enough to cover the installation of a charger and there is a subsidy, as well.

Bosch’s Business Development Manager, Mr. Apostolos Thassitis, covered the topic of auto technologies in the context of electromobility, which he described as “green electromobility”. Bosch group achieved global neutrality in carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 and is the first group in the world to achieve this because 70% of the electricity consumed by the company is “green electricity”, while gradually reducing gas consumption. The start-stop systems and similar innovative technologies have reduced the emissions globally. The end-user, the driver, must be happy with their vehicle, the connectivity of infrastructure and vehicles plays a significant role, as well. The company sees electromobility as an opportunity for higher automation, so that travelling becomes more ‘driver-friendly’. Services that will soon feature into the charging network are the access to information, such as where to charge, what is the range of the vehicle’s, what is the state of the battery. The new featured services aim to become a digital assistant to the driver which allows them to choose additional information on his trip their as tourism information, offers from shops, finding parking spaces, discount programs of electromobility providers. Finally, he referred to the time on the horizon required for the emergence of hydrogen cars, which according to him is the mid-30s.

Mr. Zaimov fromBAEPS made a contribution by answering questions from laymen and local authority representatives. He mentioned that in his experience, using a simple “shuko” charger at home can cover up to 95% of the electric vehicle’s charging needs, and the remaining only 5% is usually covered by public charging stations. Charging outside provides a range of up to 150 km per charge, depending of course on the car. Therefore, electromobility is possible and achievable today in almost all cases.

Mr. Antonis Mazonakis, Mechanical Engineer, BoD of the company Geralimeniki, referred to the company’s effort to promote and develop electromobility in large machines and large vehicles. According to his experience, electric motors have a significant advantage over internal combustion engines in both large machines and smaller vehicles and thus there is future in electromobility, as long as there is a reliable network of chargers.

The cycle of presentations of the conference ended with a thorough analysis of the legal framework on electromobility in Greece by Dr. Athanasios Tamvakos – Mechanical Engineer, research associate at HIT/CERTH. The installation of charging stations will be consistent with smooth traffic flows and pedestrian’s safety, that would occur within these areas. He also presented the technical specifications of charging stations for electric vehicles and the licensing – approval procedure for the installation of charging devices for electric vehicles’ batteries. At the end of his presentation, he referred to the incentives given by the Greek state for the installation of electric vehicle chargers to both individuals and companies.