Portuguese EV Icon to ‘Electric’ Manifesto Pledges

An electrifying Portuguese excursion, a hybrid journey and party-political electric pledges…

Portugal’s EV ‘Tram’ sformation

Founded in London with English investors, the ‘Lisbon Electric Tramways Limited Company’ revolutionised the urban transport landscape, running on rails imported from England, electrified motors and overhead conductors that have powered this iconic transport since 1901.

Over 120 years on, electrified Trams are still going strong – no trip to Lisbon would be complete without a rickety ride on the number 28 Tram to the Praca do Comercio to the oldest coffee house (Martinho da Arcada) for espresso and Pastel de Nata.

The Electrification Recommendation Rank (yes this is a thing)

Portugal leads the way in EV market share across Europe and has an ‘A’ ranking ‘highly favourable’ (as does the UK) for all things AC/DC. New car sales picked up in May, with EV market share hitting 33% last year and recording a 101% uplift from 2022.  Supported by incentives from a special EU Environmental Fund (€3,000 per car) and a firm commitment to 20,000 nationwide charging points by 2025.

With this backdrop, 84% of Portuguese drivers are considering EV/Hybrid next time round, well above EU average, roughly split 50/50 EV/Hybrid, with Tesla being the most popular EV choice.

ePowering Portugal

Through January to May, hydro-electric produced 43% of Portugal’s electricity requirement. In total, renewables delivered 87% of the current required, some 3 terawatt hours (1 terawatt hour can light a million homes for a year). With this level of wind, water and warmth, a mere 1 terawatt can power a climate friendly 346,000,000,000 miles and is driving the nation towards the 2050 net-zero target.

Is EV Euphoria on standby elsewhere

With major manufacturers scaling back EV production plans, it’s reported that less than half of US car buyers are serious about Electric, indeed, the proportion saying not going to buy has increased. Hybrid options are second placed choice but are still around half of the ICE variety. Hybrid is the UK preferred EV option, with a third of buyers choosing something that still makes a noise and takes 5 minutes to fill up. 

Stories of ditching electric for engine abound, the incentivised fleet market remains strong, but figures from SMMT suggest a 2% fall in EV uptake. UK infrastructure remains a ‘work in progress’, a third of homes have no off-street parking and with public charging up to 70% more expensive than home charging, only around a third of EV owners are looking to go EV again. Around a quarter will head Hybrid.

General Electric Manifestos 

Whilst we have had plenty of hot air over the past few weeks, this has not powered the EV debate on our screens. Broadly, all parties are committed to rollout national charging infrastructure. No one single party seems to encapsulate all that is needed. Some manifesto highlights are:-

  • Cut VAT on public charging to 5%
  • £5bn per year vehicle scrappage scheme to fast charge EV uptake
  • Standardise battery passports for second hand market
  • Re-instate the zero-emission vehicle mandate 
  • Tackle EV insurance costs

All this is dependent on the charging infrastructure, the need to extend the workplace charging scheme, incentives in the rental market to install points and planning innovations such as incorporating (retrofit) gullies in pavements. 

Coventry’s Silent Revving

Coventry already boasts the most charging points outside London than any other city, but with nearly half of Coventry households with no private parking, the City’s green ambitions have been further boosted by securing £12 million to rev-up the installation of 2,100 on street electric charging spaces. This continues the green growth agenda, with the number of public charging points in the city having almost doubled in the last year.

So a half-way Hybrid then…

With the power of regenerative braking,  around a 25% reduction in emissions and no range anxiety, automatic with a seamless blend of power for a spirited drive, I’ve gone Hybrid.

EV, Hybrid or not, Lisbon is the second most stressful European city for drivers. This begs the question ‘Are we missing the point’. Should the solution actually be electric trams everywhere!

Simon Cossey is Dafferns’ Business Development Consultant and part of our Strategic Advisory team.