Technological innovations have always been the common agenda of the young and old alike. The more points in life that technology touches, the higher the number of people who show interest in it. Similarly, the main trends in the energy sector and its reflection on daily life are discussed around the world. To be more precise, we are talking about electric vehicles (EVs) and the network of EV charging stations, one of the preconditions to make EVs more viable.
EVs have become a dynamic part of the network beyond just a vehicle carrying a person or a product from point A to point B, according to Murat Pinar, CEO of Enerjisa Enerji, the electricity generation, distribution, sales and supply company along with its subsidiary Esarj. “Because you actually carry a mobile battery with EVs, we can also consider EVs as a network element that can be used when needed,” he said.
Looking at the global outlook, EV sales rose by 41% in the second half of 2019 and in 2020, although the total figure doesn’t seem that much. Meanwhile, total vehicle sales dropped by 6% in this period. The number of EVs totals 10 million in the world with Europe and China taking the largest share. On the other hand, EV manufacturing has substantially increased in the U.S. The world’s largest slice of the EV pie has been taken by San Francisco at 22%.
The link between EV sales and EV charging stations shouldn’t be turned into ‘a chicken and egg situation’, according to Pinar. In fact, it’s important to understand how we will use EV charging stations before the dilemma over what comes first – the charging stations or the vehicles – is solved. “We should look at what leads to this issue. Personal EV usage won’t be the prime driver initially,” he noted.
Commercial vehicles lead the demand for charging stations. Commercial vehicles such as buses, shared taxis (dolmus), trucks and cabs, consume 42% of fossil fuels for the purpose of long-distance travel and truck traffic. “Of course, there will be vehicle sales for personal use in the future. However, this is related to other points beyond the spread of charging stations,” says Pinar, stressing that vehicles can easily be charged at home.
Within this scope, the Ministry of Industry and Technology is preparing a tender for the national network of EV charging stations. Accordingly, 3,600 to 3,700 points are expected to be transformed into a national charging network. Timing and preliminary preparations have been made in this respect. 50% of all vehicles will be electric by 2035. “However, the most important criterion is speed. It’s important to answer the question of how long it will take to charge my vehicle,” Pinar noted.
Alongside the Ministry of Industry and Technology’s tender preparation, there is a large spectrum on the public sector’s shoulders from public vehicles to personal vehicles. In this sense, the factor to change the trend has importance. Only 1-2% of vehicles are electric in Turkey. That’s why buses, taxis and fleets are expected to increase this ratio to 15%. “EVs have become walking computers. In fact, we travel with a computer in some way when we drive them,” says the Enerjisa CEO. “Conventional vehicles also have technology; however, this is the fiction of EVs. We’re talking about a system connected by sensors when we are talking about autonomous vehicles,” Pinar added.
At this point Enerjisa steps in as a natural actor. The network of EV charging stations overlaps with Enerjisa in terms of e-mobility, energy, electricity, battery technologies and sustainable energy, while the company’s subsidiary, Esarj, has one of the first EV charging station networks in the country. “It’s important as this business relates to the future,” said the Enerjisa CEO.
EVs and the network of EV charging stations also attract the traditional energy industry. Considering the major conventional energy players, they have included electricity in their portfolio. For instance, the oil industry has converted 20-30% of its portfolio to electric energy with 2–3-point increases per year. “We also see their solutions in which their business models intervene,” Pinar noted.
As EVs are become more prominant and the network of EV charging stations are built in cities, they become part of smart city applications. As Pinar says, the smart city concept is a structure where all infrastructure is coordinated and integrated, and a model in which smart homes, smart traffic, smart water consumption and smart energy consumption run together. That’s why charging stations and EVs become a part of this. “There are also models in which energy is not only consumed but also produced,” he added.