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Adrián Muelas Gil
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Transport Minister José Luis Ábalos

03/06/2020 The Minister of Transport and Urban Agenda, José Luis Ábalos, during his appearance in commission of his department in the Senate. In Madrid (Spain), on June 3rd, 2020. ECONOMY Ricardo Rubio – Europa Press

25% of greenhouse gas emissions come from wheeled transport. For this reason, the key to the fight against Climate Change in the coming years in Spain will be in the new Sustainable Mobility Law that the government is currently preparing. This law can be the definitive and necessary driving force for our country to be at the forefront of the fight against Climate Change. This past year has been clarifying in this sense. The measures approved to comply with the state of alarm have shown that the levels of CO2 and NOX in the main cities of our country have dropped, notably improving air quality

This law will see the light of day in 2021, placing electric mobility as a fundamental axis for the decarbonization of goods, as well as private and public transport. After several months of public consultation with different agents in the sector, one of the points on which we are working is to improve the network of recharging points, both on public roads and in private properties. In 2018 the juridic figure of the load manager was released, a measure that helped this matter take off after years of gridlock. In this case, the regulation advances aren’t bad, but they can be improved.

Recently, the Ministry of Transport and Urban Agenda began conversations with energy companies and vehicle manufacturers about the legal requirements of the regulations, so that certain elements are proposed in residential buildings which would result in a greater number of charging points. However, the roadmap to be undertaken in Spain in the coming years has yet to be completed. 

Electric Vehicle Subsidies Must Improve

Another area that the Ministry focuses on is to end the duplication of subsidies between different administrations. Everything must be taken into account to see if there are any differences in requirements; work must be done to prevent these requirements from becoming obstacles, and from there, good practices emerge which support improvement.

The reason for this is that each one manages their part of the competition, although the driver wants the final result, regardless of who provides the help. However, this situation also has a counterpart. In the end, the final amount may vary, or the requirements may be for or against your application. Thus, combining criteria is one of the objectives that the Ministry intends, although other options are also being studied, such as modifying tax rates. This question is being studied closely by the Public Treasury.

Meanwhile, work is being done to improve access to charging points in public spaces. But the balance between public and private operators must be taken into account. Care must be taken when granting public space to private operators. It is an open debate in which the Ministry is working with 8,000 municipalities throughout Spain. A clear example would be car-sharing and similar services, with rapid expansion in Madrid that has been met with positive reception. This is one solution to mobility, as citizens would not need to depend exclusively on private vehicles which spend up to 80% of their life cycle unused. However, this encouragement must not lead to certain excesses. 

Spain's NO2 Emissions

Monthly Evolution of NO2 in traffic and industrial stations in Spainish municipalities with more than 200.000 habitants.

The New Mobility Law Will Not Forget The Rural Communities 

These types of measures are well received in large cities and provincial capitals. However, in other areas of the Spanish geography, it is not so easy to displace the use of private vehicles. The new Mobility Law will think of alternative solutions for rural areas or areas with low population density. In these areas, the Ministry works to cooperate with the local powers of the councils or municipalities to coordinate the implementation of good practices.  

This year will also be key in this regard. The Rural Mobility Roundtable is scheduled to be held in order to learn about these good practices and promote their implementation in the territories where they are necessary. 

It will try to implement solutions for the infrastructure accordingly, while also rethinking the impact that previously existing infrastructures have had. Current electric vehicle users in our country know a lot about this topic, whose satisfaction with the existing charging infrastructure is often less than satisfactory. Let us remember that about 75% of electric vehicle drivers in Spain consider it “a great inconvenience”. This data is from the second National Survey of Electric Vehicle Drivers that we learned at the end of 2020.

Batteries: The Driving Force Behind The Electric Vehicle

One of the reasons for the lack of investment in charging infrastructure is the fact that the implementation of the electric vehicle in our country is still not very representative and barely reaches 1% of the market. However, work continues on measures to stimulate investment. The Ministry is working to align itself with the regulatory work of the EU. This would transform the automobile industry in our country at the hands of an essential element of the electric vehicle: batteries. Thus, the government will promote the consolidation of the battery value chain. The Ministry of Industry is also preparing a plan in this direction that will also receive a part of the EU funds, in addition to the Horizon R&D. 

These efforts represent an interesting and stimulating future that counteracts the effects of the economic crisis in which the coronavirus has plunged us. Although it is true that this unstoppable path to a decarbonized future had already begun, this is undoubtedly the time to carry it out.