Siemens calls for Ireland to regulate electrical vehicles

3 Jun 2010

Regulation of Ireland’s emerging electric vehicle (e-car) market is critically important to the overall success of the smart grid and an integrated renewable energy system in Ireland, Siemens said today.

E-cars are a valuable contributor and form an important part of the mosaic of Ireland’s integrated energy system,” said Phil Skipper, Siemens eCar Programme UK & Ireland, at the Energy Ireland Conference 2010 earlier today.

“However, the framework of regulation for this sector is yet to be drawn up. We need regulation to ensure that the customer has the right experience and sees benefits of using e-cars on an ongoing basis in order to guarantee its long-term success.

“Once people buy into the concept, the standard of service and experience must be able to maintain interest for consumers to ensure the viability of e-mobility. In order to identify who should regulate the sector, it is necessary to identify whether the e-car ‘movement’ is driven by the mobility agenda or energy agenda.” 

E-car makes green sense

He said the e-car is an attractive proposition in a rapidly changing energy landscape where it makes sense to move towards this new way of life in terms of green energy storage, helping us to meet our pollution targets and improving congestion and life quality.

He said e-mobility is part of a wider transformation of how we live, but it is time rather than technology which is a threat to the success of the overall system.

“We should not underestimate the complexity and support needs that will evolve in developing our integrated renewable energy system. We are starting a journey with e-cars which will rapidly become more complex as it becomes a viable commercial proposition – understanding the end game and the timing is critical.”

The e-car is seen as a key element in delivering solutions on our energy goals as it has the potential to aid in the resolution of many of the central issues of storage, pollution reduction, etc.

Siemens believes that the successful roll out of e-cars needs to balance the social drivers of the public sector against the commercial drivers of the private sector – this is vital to making e-cars a reality and to create a strong commercial case for private investment.

Having the right regulatory framework is vital, as well as ensuring that ownership in the area of e-cars is clearly defined. These elements, if delivered, will attract the necessary private investment and ensure that the publically funded pilots can transition to mass private backed deployments.

In Ireland, the Government has an excellent programme of incentives playing an important role in driving consumer demand for e-cars but the regulation of the service deliverables and overall customer experience is critical to its success and to date no one seems to have really considered this.

Photo: A Tesla electric car at a charging point (courtesy of ESB website)

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years