The ČEZ Group has launched a pilot project supporting electromobility. Within this project the ČEZ Group shall lend first 2 testing electric-powered vehicles to the Sue Ryder Home.

The ČEZ company informed today about the intention to support the development of electromobility in the Czech Republic. As one of the first European power companies it shall launch a pilot project including a development of infrastructure necessary for wider utilisation of electric-powered vehicles. Lending the electric-powered vehicles to non-profit organisations is also a part of the pilot project.

According to the recently announced FutureMotion strategy the ČEZ Group decided to support the concept of electromobility. Actions that the ČEZ Group takes in this area are related to support of utilisation of electric-powered vehicles, providing complex services with relation to the ČEZ distribution grid and also further support to production of electric power from renewable sources. The target is to contribute to development of fully “emission free” traffic in the Czech Republic.

“The electromobility concept has been a big challenge for the ČEZ Group. Electric power seems to be a long-term and perspective solution of traffic issues. Electric power producers and distributors are logically partners to the whole concept. ČEZ believes that electromobility shall be one of the key directions in which power industry will proceed in future and therefore it would like to be already deeply involved in its development in the Czech Republic and Central Europe,“ said Martin Roman, the General Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČEZ. In his opinion the electromobility concept will help secure a long-term stability and perspective to the ČEZ company and to Czech power industry, it will contribute to better and safe life of people, it will be a benefit for environment and at the same time it will support the orientation of the Czech Republic towards knowledge economics and the competitive advantage of the Czech Republic within international competition will increase herewith.

Improvement of environment and a good quality of life are part of the municipal policy of many large regions and cities therefore their authorities are involved in development of electromobility both in form of direct financial cooperation or for example by preferring electric-powered vehicles (parking, access to city centre etc.). The capital city of Prague is interested in the Electromobility project. “Future development of municipalities will not do without radical changes in the field of traffic, both urban and passenger. One of the ways how to partially eliminate traffic impacts on quality of life in municipalities is looking for new solutions in the area of using electric power instead of combustion engines,“ says Pavel Bém, the Mayor of Prague. Potential users of electric-powered vehicles in Prague could be for example the Prague City Hall, further the Municipal Police of Prague, the Museum of the capital city of Prague, the Prague City Gallery, the Municipal Library of Prague, the Prague Public Transit Company, the Prague Information Service, Prague ZOO, the Prague Rescue Service, the Technical Administration Service of Roads etc.

Electric-powered vehicles offer many benefits. To begin with they do not produce any emissions of toxic gases (CO2, NOx etc.). Total CO2 emissions (including emissions from production of electric power) vary according to the way of production: using renewable sources or nucleus they are about 0.25 grams per kilometre, the current power mix of the ČEZ Group generates 95 g/km. Common fuel vehicle emits 164 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Other significant advantage of electric-powered vehicles is their minimal noise level and much smaller maintenance demands. In terms of a user the electric-powered vehicle fuel costs converted to kilometres are already cheaper than at a common combustion engine car. Overall costs for operation of electric-powered vehicles are comparable to common cars and their significant reduction can be expected in future.

ČEZ electromobility

The Electromobility project of the ČEZ Group has three stages. In the initial stage of the pilot project ČEZ is going to put into service minimally 10 electric-powered vehicles by mid 2010 in form of free rent to selected non-profit organisations. The Prague Sue Ryder Home will be provided a model of the Fiorino Combi passenger car and the Fiorino Cargo van as the first. Electric-powered vehicles operation data (consumption, charging experience etc.) will be monitored and ČEZ will use this knowledge in further stages of the project.

Advanced stage of the pilot project will be implemented by 2012. It considers purchase of 50 to 100 electric-powered vehicles and its objective will be to test the charging infrastructure in Prague and Ostrava simulating a real long-term operation. In this stage ČEZ already expects a proactive involvement of municipalities, especially by building public charging stations. At the same time there will be held a meeting with potential strategic partners – leading automobile manufacturers – themed development of common long-term project. The ČEZ Group will invest approximately half a billion Czech Crowns in the pilot project. The experience from the pilot stages in partnership with manufacturers of electric-powered vehicles will the ČEZ Group use in long-term plans to profile as a provider of electromobility services (third stage).

Elektromobility in Europe

The not very effective combustion engine has been still dominating to traffic. Although ecological parameters of engines improve, the local pollution and noise have still been a live problem. In effort to improve environment and life in cities many European and world cities and regions promote wider application of electric-powered vehicles in traffic. Key players in the electromobility concept are manufacturers of batteries, electric-powered vehicles, users, cities and state (providing benefits to development of electric-powered vehicles) and distributors of electric power.

Some large European power companies have already been supporting such projects and investing money in the first infrastructure concepts in West European cities (for example in Berlin). It is a very interesting business opportunity for them. It includes development of an infrastructure necessary for electric-powered vehicles, supplies of electric power to end customers, billing and additional services. Experts deem that customers – future users of electric-powered vehicles – can be attracted only by a widely conceived, safe, accessible and available infrastructure.

The main technical problem at electric-powered vehicles seems to be batteries, especially their not fully sufficient capacity which even decreases when used. It is necessary to increase the driving distance of vehicles and speed of charging the vehicle – both are solvable problems. It has already been worked on development of batteries with higher capacity and life durability; technologies for fast charging already exist.

Eva Nováková, the ČEZ spokesperson

June 2009