The question of driving long distances in an electric car is one that stops many buyers from going pure electric. Nobody wants to be stuck at some motorway services buying a £20 meal and a magazine while you wait three hours for some juice. That range anxiety is especially sharp in Eastern Europe, where much of the public charging network is in urban areas. Maybe that is the most sensible approach, EVs are basically battery powered city cars for wealthier people?
But if you build it, they will come, said the famous baseball movie many years ago. So someone has to fund a network of a few thousand charging points. That’s what Renault are making a start on, along with BMW and other partners, here’s the word;
NEXT-E Consortium has installed a fully integrated and accessible charging infrastructure in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania under the NEXT-E project. Over the last four years, Nissan has joined forces with ZSE, E.ON, HEP, PETROL, MOL Group and BMW to facilitate widespread EV adoption, enabling e-mobility.
In total, 222 multi-standard fast charging stations and 30 ultra-fast charging stations were installed. This creates the crucial infrastructure needed to support the increasing demand of electric vehicles and aid customers in their transition to an electrified future. Sustainable charging solutions and integrating of renewable energy form part of Nissan’s carbon neutrality ambition. Going the extra mile in the name of energy efficiency, Nissan along with its consortium partners also adapted the charging stations specifically for customer needs. The consortium implemented chargers with solar energy production and stationary battery energy storage in locations where there was not a constant electricity supply. The introduction of roofed stations enabled the deployment of solar PV at the stations, allowing for maximum utilisation of the space and greater economic efficiency.
SORRY NO CASH PAYMENTS
The consortium also recognised that customers require flexible payment methods and to increase accessibility. The NEXT-E charging infrastructure is based on widely-accepted payment options, including digital payment methods, subscriptions for customers with a monthly plan, payment cards and contactless operations. No cash means that individuals can have their mobility restricted by cancelling or freezing their digital payment services, like Paypal did recently to the Free Speech Union.
Further emphasising the innovation behind this collaboration, at the time, the project was awarded the largest e-mobility grant from the European Commission. From the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme for electric vehicle projects, NEXT-E received a recommended co-funding of €18.84 million.
To support the uptake of EV usage in the region, the project outlined the most strategic and cost-effective approaches to infrastructure reform and services deployment. This effort has since connected pan-European regions and provided a seamless, comfortable, long-distance driving experience based 100% on electricity. NEXT-E has enriched the existing network in the project countries and created new electrified transport corridors for a cohesive EV roadmap.