THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SPREAD OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES AND THE SPREAD OF CHARGING STATIONS IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF THE CHICKEN AND THE EGG. IF YOU LEAVE ONE OUT, THE OTHER WILL NOT WORK THE WAY YOU WANT IT TO. THE CHARGING SYSTEM NEEDS TO DEVELOP RAPIDLY AND BE EVENLY DISTRIBUTED, GEOGRAPHICALLY. BUT WHAT ELSE?
E-MOBILITY is among the primary trends that will have an impact on the future of humanity. Let’s narrow it down a little more and talk about electric vehicles, rather than e-Mobility. The introduction of these vehicles into our lives necessitates a renewal of the energy distribution infrastructure. So, as electric vehicles become widespread, the share of fossil fuel consuming vehicles as a share of total vehicles is decreasing. Is it not unthinkable, then, that current fuel stations will just stay in the same places?
However, there is a need for brand new infrastructure to supply energy for the increasing number of electric vehicles.
This is called the electric vehicle network (or networks). One doesn’t need to be a prophet to see that charging stations will soon occupy an important place in our lives.
ZORLU, ENERJISA, AKSA
Who will set up these stations? It seems that some of the leading players in the energy sector will be at the forefront of this business as well. In fact, it’s possible to say they already have. At the moment, two of Turkey’s leading electricity sector players have made progress in this regard. Zorlu Energy, with the ZES brand, and EnerjiSA with the Esarj brand. Meanwhile, there is another energy player preparing to enter the market. Kazanci Holding, a leader in natural gas distribution and one of the country’s leading energy players with its electricity generation, distribution, and sale, is also standing out in this new market with its Aksa brand. As far as we know, Aksa Elektrik will oversee this field for the holding company. Of course, there are other players that are interested in this field, but these three stand out for now.
The development of electric vehicle charging stations provides the basis for new initiatives by equipment manufacturers and software developers, along with charging network operators and electricity suppliers. It is clear that this business will not be possible without software, and software developers and companies that develop data analytic solutions cannot bypass the opportunity.
BANKS AND TELCOS
Now, what about the financing of this sector? When it comes to financing, two things come to mind. The first is the issue of financing the investments that will be necessary to develop the necessary infrastructure – investments in equipment, software, and construction. The second issue is how the beneficiaries of this system will make payments, and how financial institutions will play a role in this business. The Turkish banking sector has better infrastructure and experience in terms of retail banking, credit cards, and payment systems infrastructure than many countries in the world. This business can be integrated with the banking infrastructure via credit cards.
On the other hand, the telecommunication sector, especially mobile communication operators, will enter the electric vehicle charging systems business in many ways. In fact, it would not be incorrect to say that these companies have already entered this field with a few solutions. The first entry point for telecom players is the communication infrastructure that the charging infrastructure will need. It is certain that mobile solutions will come to the fore to keep charging points in contact with each other, with control centers, and with users.
I can hear you saying, “But certainly, physical, wired networks will also have to get involved at some point?” But as we said at the beginning of the article: this is e-Mobility. If our main trend is mobility, the rest will come out in the details.
We have had conversations with various actors in the sector over the last five or six months about these issues. We spoke with EMRA Chairman Mustafa Yilmaz, as well as with some officials from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Industry and Technology. We even had conversations with officials from the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization and some metropolitan municipalities on the subject.
Now it’s time to present some information and suggestions about electric vehicle charging systems, which have been discussed for quite some time, to your attention. Preparations for these regulations have taken shape and are before parliament. There may be points I forgot to write, or that I didn’t think of. I appreciate your criticism, suggestions, and reminders.
Notes for the electric vehicle charging network
■ There are approximately 6,000 electric vehicles (EV) in Turkey and 3,000 charging sockets at 800 charging points in Turkey.
■ In 2023, it is estimated that the number of EVs in the country will reach 75,000 and there will be 12,500 charging sockets.
■ If the EV charging systems not widespread, it cannot develop and multiply fast enough.
■ Charging systems should also be distributed geographically, so that EVs can proliferate throughout the country, not just in developed regions.
■ This subject is also closely related to Turkey’s Automobile Initiative Group (TOGG), because TOGGs vehicles will be electric. The charging infrastructure needs to develop to a certain extent before TOGG is put on sale.
■ Investment in the charging station infrastructure should primarily be made by the private sector.
■ The public sector, however, should be engaged in the development and spread of charging networks.
■ Legal regulations that will determine how the charging network operation will be shared are waiting to be discussed before parliament. After the draft regulation is enacted, secondary regulations will be made.
■ EMRA has made and is making the necessary preparations to complete the work, transactions, and regulations that will be necessary for EVs and charging stations.
■ According to the information we have obtained, one will not need permission to establish a charging station but operating a station will require a license.
■ The licensee can set up and operate charging stations themselves, or can include stations installed by third parties in their network.
■ After the completion of pending legislation, existing charging stations will be given a set period of time to adapt to new regulations.
■ The state should support investors and investors in this field so that investments are not delayed. If necessary, it can invest directly.
■ Turkey can take steps toward the future by developing electric cars, chargers, and the software necessary to manage charging networks.