Basics

The term electric mobility (e-mobility) describes all modes of mobility/transport that derive part of their energy required for propulsion from electrical energy. Electric mobility can be used for the transport of both passengers and goods. E-mobility based on renewable energy is regarded as a central component of transport decarbonization efforts.

Electric vehicles can be operated exclusively or partially by an electric motor. Common examples for electric vehicles are e-buses, e-bikes, electric cars, electrified trains, trams etc.). Depending on the different varieties of electric vehicles a combustion engine is either not needed or used in complementary to the electric drive system.

In general, almost all types of transport can be electrified. Especially rail-based transport such as railways, subways, trams etc. have a long history of operating on electrical energy (mostly via overhead-lines). Other modes such as road-based transport with vehicles such as light- and heavy-duty vehicles, two-and-three-wheelers, buses and cars are common modes of transport with great electrification potential.

Further, multiple forms of micro-mobility like bicycles and kick-scooters have recently seen a spike in electrification. Especially electric pedelecs and e-scooters have spread to many countries and cities over the last years. Privately owned or as part of rental services they are considered to be the link between other modes of transport (e.g. trains, metro, buses, trams) and offer mobility for the “first and last mile”.

Furthermore water-bound vehicles like small boats, ships, ferries and submarines can also be electrified either when they are moored /docked on harbor or when the vehicles are sailing in water. Few countries like Norway have already made progress by providing necessary shore power infrastructure. The shore power infrastructure power ship’s load like lighting, heating/cooling, auxiliaries and for charging ship’s batteries in docked condition alongside a port facility.

So far, short-haul electric aviation is in its pilot phase and could be on the market by mid-decade, but long-haul flying will require new solutions. An overview of electric flying projects is available from the International Civil Aviation Organisation: https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/Pages/electric-aircraft.aspx

For more information read Meyer (2017): Electrification of the Transport System

Many publications refer to the terms of BEV, PHEV and FCEVs. Here we explain the differences. Disclaimer: Even though the terms “vehicle” refers to different transport modes, usually the following abbreviations are used in the context of passenger cars.

BEV

A pure battery electric vehicle (BEV) derives all its energy required for propulsion exclusively from electrical energy. A BEV comes with an onboard electrical energy storage device (battery) and an electric motor.

PHEV

A plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) is a motor vehicle with a hybrid drive which combines an internal combustion engine with an electric motor. Due to a relatively small battery capacity a PHEV can be driven on pure electric mode for smaller distances (up to 50 km). The battery can be charged both from the internal combustion engine and from the external power supply.

FCEV

A fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is a vehicle which uses a fuel cell to power its electric motor. FCEVs produce electricity with an onboard fuel cell which is powered by hydrogen or methanol. Generally, fuel cell electric vehicles also have a small battery which is used to recapture the breaking energy with an aim to provide extra during short acceleration events.

For further information visit emobil-umwelt.de/en

The range extender is an additional unit in an electric vehicle that serves to extend the range of the vehicle. The most commonly used range extenders are (small) internal combustion engines that drive a generator, which in turn supplies the battery and electric motor with power. The range extender can be started manually, or it can start automatically when the battery charge level has fallen below a certain threshold. The system is explicitly intended for vehicles with a small battery capacity and electrical range. The technology has been introduced to cope with the “range anxiety”, which was common for the first generation of electric vehicles.

The Chevrolet Volt (2010) was one first mass market EVs to be available with an optional range extender. Some bus manufacturers also offer fuel cells operated with hydrogen or methanol as range extenders for their battery electric buses.

Environment

In comparison with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, electric vehicles come with a lot of advantages in terms of environmental impact. First, electric vehicles, do not produce any tailpipe emissions like particulate matter (pmx) or nitrogen oxides (NOx) which are common sources of ambient air pollution. Second, when charged with electricity from renewable sources, they help reduce overall CO2 emissions. Further EVs cause less noise than conventional vehicles, at least to a speeds of up to 30-40 km/h.

All vehicles come along with a negative environmental footprint. Every vehicle production requires a lot of resources. The amount of resources needed for each vehicle is dependent on various factors such as the vehicle segment (bus, car, bicycle etc.) and the vehicle size (SUV vs. bicycles).

The less resources are used to produce, operate and maintain a vehicle, the better. In general, the smaller the vehicle the smaller the environmental footprint such as material-, energy consumption land-use, GHG emissions, as well as air pollution. This means, that small vehicles such as bicycles are less resource intensive as heavy vehicles such as trucks.

Overall there really is no “clean” vehicle in terms of environmental footprint. Only walking could be classified as a nearly 100% environmentally friendly mode of transport. To define any environmental impact, the Life Cycle Assessment is a great method to compare different technologies.

To evaluate whether electric vehicles are “cleaner” than their fossil fuel-based counterparts, it is important to compare the same vehicle segments (medium sized EV with medium sized ICE).

Many Life Cycle Assessments focus on GHG Emissions as primary indicator. The NGO Transport and Environment reports that in Europe electric cars emit, on average, almost 3 times less CO2 than equivalent petrol/diesel cars (How clean are electric cars? | Transport & Environment).

A recent study from the universities of Exeter, Nijmegen - in The Netherlands - and Cambridge shows that in 95% of the world, driving an electric car is better for the climate than a petrol car (BBC News) (Study-Link/sciencedaily.com).

To sum it: Electric Vehicles such as electric cars are significantly “cleaner” than their petrol/diesel equivalents. The more renewable energy is used to power them, the better.

Nevertheless, all vehicles contribute to traffic jam, traffic accidents and land consumption. That is why TUMI is not primarily focusing on advocating on an energy transition in transport but also support a broader transformation of the sector. To do so we follow the A-S-I approach (see below).

The Avoid, Shift, Improve (A-S-I) Approach focuses on three prioritised strategies to make the transport sector more sustainable:

(1) avoiding the need for motorized travel through integrated planning and compact city development;

(2) shifting from the most energy consuming and polluting urban transport mode (i.e. cars) to active and public transport and

(3) improving existing modes of transport through zero-emission technologies.

The approach serves as a way to structure policy measures to reduce the environmental impact of transport and thereby improve the quality of life in cities. In the development community, the A-S-I approach was first embraced by international NGOs, as well as multilateral and bilateral development organizations working on transport.

The A-S-I approach is focused on the demand side and offers a more holistic approach for an overall sustainable transport system design.

ASI_TUMI_SUTP_iNUA_No-9_April-2019.pdf (transformative-mobility.org)

Yes, it can (to some extent) – but not as a silver bullet. Other mobility choices such as taking public transport or using active modes of transport (walking and cycling) are way more effective than sticking with individual transport (also see A-S-I Approach).

A recent study from the universities of Exeter, Nijmegen - in The Netherlands - and Cambridge shows that in 95% of the world, driving an electric car is better for the climate than a petrol car (BBC News) (Study-Link/sciencedaily.com). Therefore, if you have to use a car – electric cars are helping in climate mitigation. But if you really want to bring down your emissions, better take the bike, walk and or use public transport.

EV Batteries and Raw Materials

The battery technology most commonly used in e-mobility today is lithium-ion batteries (LIB). The technology of LIBs offers high energy density as well as high energy efficiency and high coulomb efficiency (ratio of discharge capacity to charge capacity within the same cycle). The energy density as well as the efficiency of the battery is determined by many factors, but mainly by the so-called cathode material. This why there are different versions of LIBs on the market, with various material compositions on the anode and cathode side. The basis of most modern batteries are raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese and graphite. The variability on the cathode side is higher as its material mainly influences the battery`s performance, energy density, lifetime, safety and costs.


In e-mobility two types of LIBs have become established: nickel-cobalt-aluminum battery (NCA), and nickel-manganese-cobalt battery (NMC). The most common NMC batteries on the market are NMC-111, NMC-422, NMC-523 and NMC-622, where the number combination reflects the proportion of raw materials (nickel, manganese, cobalt) in the cathode.

On average the leading NMC battery contains 11 kg of manganese, 4,5 kg of lithium and 12 kg of both cobalt and nickel. This is valid for an electric car battery with a battery capacity of 30kWh using a NMC-111 chemistry.

The German government's goal is to have seven to ten million electric vehicles registered in Germany by 2030 in order to reduce emissions of the transport sector. Of course, Germany is not the only country with similar targets so therefore a lot more minerals will be needed.

The estimated global increase in mineral demand* for electric vehicle batteries in 2035 (compared to the amount of 2016):

  • Nickel: 476%
  • Lithium: 643%
  • Cobalt: 179%
  • Manganese: 536%

Despite the high increase in the amount of needed raw materials in the future, the comparison to the consumption of key raw materials for ICE vehicles must always be considered. EVs consume far less metals than ICE vehicles and the study “Ressource consumption of the passenger vehicle sector in Germany until 2035 – the impact of different drive systems” shows the lower social and environmental impacts of all key raw materials for ICE vehicles and E-vehicles.


*These statistics are only calculated for electric vehicle batteries (NMC-batteries). Hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are not included. Source and further info at: TUMIVolt Charging Station Raw materials for global battery production– challenges and opportunities.

Lithium:

  • Australia - 61%
  • Chile - 17%
  • China - 8%
  • Argentina - 6%

The economically most important deposits of Lithium are hard rock deposits mainly in Australia and salt lakes (or ’salars’) mainly in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and China. Currently about 65% of the worldwide produced lithium is used for battery manufacturing.


Cobalt:

  • DR Congo - around 70%
  • Russian Fed – 4%
  • Australia – 3,5%
  • Philippines – 3,2%
  • Canada – 2%

Currently about 42% of the worldwide produced cobalt is used for battery manufacturing.


Nickel:

  • Indonesia – 30%
  • Philippines – 15%
  • Russian Fed – 10%
  • New Caledonia – 8%
  • Canada/ Australia – 6,5%

Around 60 % of the nickel production is located in Asia, with 20% alone in the Philippines. About 2,55% of the worldwide produced primary nickel is used for battery manufacturing.


Manganese:

  • South Africa - 30%
  • Australia - 17%
  • Gabon - 12%
  • Ghana - 7%
  • Brazil – 6%

China holds a share of 53% on worldwide manganese production, refines and processes 67% of all global mined manganese ores.

Aside the minerals used for batteries (see above), electric mobility will also result in an increased demand for minerals to be used in other car components and supplementary services.

Copper, a base raw material, is not a direct part of the battery itself, but necessary for the electric engine, for the connection and wiring between the battery and the electronics as well as the charging infrastructure. The production of minerals, such as aluminum, copper, graphite is also projected to increase in the upcoming years due to growing demand for clean energy technologies (solar panels, photovoltaics, wind turbines) as part of the sustainable use of EVs powered by renewables.


More details at: Demand for minerals and metals for green energy technologies could increase up to 500% by 2050 | BMZ

Mining of raw materials typically takes place in countries where health and safety precautions are generally considered to be less stringent. The activities associated with mining often produce GHG emissions, PM emissions, NOx emissions, and other air pollutant emissions from fossil fuel combustion to operate mining equipment, or to generate heat or electricity for processing. Additionally, some studies have raised concerns associated with mining among aquatic species.

Generally, mining risks depend on the type of mining (industrial vs. small-scale) and the type of mineral. Moreover risks of course increase with illegal mining. The following risks are general risks associated with mining of raw materials:


Environmental damage: is inevitable in mining. There is the danger of contamination of air, soil and water, e.g. by toxic waste-water coming from mining processes.


Human rights violation: Human rights violations, especially in the informal sector of mining, can e.g. include child labor forced or unpaid labour or resettlements.


Illicit financial flows/ conflict financing: In some regions mining is contributing to conflict financing, some conflicts for example in Central Africa or South America are financed by illegal mining activities that generate illicit financial flows.


Gender-based discrimination: Women are less likely to benefit from positive effects of the natural resource sector such as access to well-paid jobs and also suffer more from the negative consequences of mining. Women can also face strong discrimination due to broader structure social or even culture barriers.


Intransparent supply chain: The mining sector is very vulnerable to corruption.


Low local profit: Mining projects are often connected with high expectations on local communities: people expect to find well-paid jobs, better infrastructure and access to electricity and water in remote regions. These expectations are often not met and the profit of mining business doesn´t stay in the region.


Energy intensity: Up to 11% of the world´s energy demand comes from the mining sector and many mining projects are still relying on fossil energy. There is a trend that more mining projects start to invest in renewable energy sources, with a current share of 10%, which is projected to grow. Prices for renewables are decreasing and are likely to become more attractive for mining companies.

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global market stakeholder standard which promotes the open and accountable management of extractive resources by making financial flows and project details available to the public. Doing that the initiative is addressing the above mentioned challenge of corruption in the mining sector.


CONNEX supports governments in negotiating better yields through fair and stable contracts. Mining investments can mobilize revenues which individual countries need to achieve their SDGs.


Global Battery Alliance (GBA) is a multi-stakeholder initiative which is dealing with the question on how to design responsible supply chains for batteries in EVs.


European Battery Alliance (EBA) is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by the European Commission to create a full value chain of batterie within Europe.


Drive Sustainability is a private partnership which is aiming to improve social, ethical and environmental performance of automotive supply chains.


European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM) is a multi-stakeholder partnership which is focusing on conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRAs) to support socially responsible extraction of minerals and local development.


The publication “Raw materials for electric mobility” can also give a valuable insight on how German development cooperation helps foster the responsible mining of raw materials.

There is a clear trend among producers to introduce cobalt free batteries. In general, there is a high interest of the industry to avoid cobalt due to the bad reputation of this mineral. Cobalt batteries are still among the most energy-efficient technologies so far, but this is expected to change. Some cell manufacturers have experimented with cobalt free batteries, and first EV manufacturers already offer cobalt free alternatives like lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries for their vehicles. Nevertheless, it is expected that the full substitution of cobalt, will take a few years.


1. Reducing the amount of materials required:

The continuous battery advancement on parameters like higher charging/ discharging time and longer battery lifetimes will allow for longer vehicle battery lifetimes and fewer replacements. Moreover, research from T&E suggests that battery energy density is estimated to reach around 350 Wh/kg in 2030 from little over 200 Wh/kg in 2020. This will subsequently reduce the amount of necessary raw materials like lithium cobalt, nickel.


2. Recycling minerals from used batteries:

A study by International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) suggests that raw material production is responsible for approximately half of the greenhouse gas emissions from battery production. Recycling minerals from used batteries reduces the need for extracting, refining, and transporting new minerals. Therefore it not only reduces the emissions, but also other negative impacts associated with mining new raw materials.

Depending on the specific scenario it is estimated that there will be enough battery minerals in the market that can be recycled to produce new batteries by 2050. This might reduce the amount of newly sourced mining materials significantly.

Usually batteries which have reached their end of life will enter the recycling phase. These can be batteries which have served their “second-life” (see below), batteries from production scrap, non-sold batteries, test batteries, batteries recovered from vehicle accidents. EV battery packs typically contain substantial amounts of steel, aluminum, copper, and polymers in addition to the components in the cells. Recycling of aluminum and copper in the battery support structure and management system could significantly reduce GHG-emissions without requiring cells to be opened. Robust recycling industries are already developed for such materials.

The most energy and interest in battery recycling needs to be focused on the cathode, which contains the highest-value materials. This recycling process consists of primarily three steps:

(i) Pretreatment: involves mechanically shredding and sorting plastic and metal materials.

(ii) Secondary treatment: involves separating the highest-value materials in the cathode from the aluminum collector foil with a chemical solvent.

(iii) Final treatment: Separating the cathode materials through leaching chemicals (“hydrometallurgy”), electrolytic reactions, and/or heat treatment (“pyrometallurgy” or “smelting”).


3. Reusing batteries for second life applications

When EV batteries no longer meet the performance requirements for an EV, they are replaced by a new battery pack. This marks the end of the first life of the batteries. The study by ICCT suggests, that at the end of the first life of EVs, the batteries are likely to retain a significant capacity, typically up to 75%–80% of their original capacity, which can be used for other applications. Such batteries could provide high value when being reused in stationary storage applications. As battery storage Lithium Ion batteries can help stabilize electricity grids from intermittent renewable energies, offer utility scale peak shaving and hence provide power grid flexibility. Available research further suggests that the second life of batteries could be up to 10 years using a cycle dept of discharge of 60% of the battery’s original capacity.

There is a growing number of companies which are active in developing recycling processes to enable multi-component recycling, e.g. Umicore Yumiko, which is Europe´s leading battery recycler. They have implemented advanced battery recycling processes but there still is a lot to improve. The current recycling quotas are 50% with lithium and for nickel and cobalt it is over 90%. For other materials like graphite and manganese there is still room for improvement in recovering these materials through recycling.


As mentioned above, it should be noted, that the battery demand and the demand for battery minerals is about to rise in future. Depending on the specific scenario there will be more or less enough battery minerals in future battery markets that can be recycled to produce new batteries. This might reduce the amount of newly sourced mining materials significantly. Some studies forecast that the break-even point for such a circular battery mineral chain might be reached by 2050.

In order to reduce environmental and social risks related to EV batteries, federal and local governments should adopt and enforce international environmental and labour standards for responsible mining. Best practice projects and political initiatives should be used to foster the development of responsible natural resource supply chains to ensure that the population and the environment can benefit from the extractive industries in resource-producing countries.


To learn more about the latest activities of German Development Cooperation in the field of raw material mining, please refer to the latest BMZ publication “Raw materials for electric mobility”.

In addition, federal and local governments should reduce upstream and vehicle use emissions and simultaneously introduce separate policies for recycling, second use of batteries, grid decarbonization, and vehicle use while promoting higher electric vehicle uptake. Governments should further develop a framework which encourages more research in order to advance breakthroughs in battery technology, reuse and recycling of battery materials.


Additional policy actions should be focused around:

  • Introducing Extended Producer Responsibilities for the battery.
  • Setting content targets for incorporating recycled materials into new battery cells.
  • “Closing the circle” through the introduction of collection and recycling facilities for used batteries.
  • Introducing standardization around battery structure and production.
  • Setting standards to label batteries with their cell chemistry.
  • Introducing data collection & dissemination rules to provide access to battery cycle and history data.
  • Developing a framework for EV batteries collection, responsible third-party reuse, and recycling for material recovery.
  • Adopting and enforcing international environmental and labor standards for mining and material processing.
  • Ensuring mandatory compliance for battery suppliers by encouraging independent third-party audits.

Vehicle Technology

Most of the EVs offer as much safety as a conventional vehicle. EVs undergo the same tests as conventional cars and also comply with electric vehicle specific standards. The fire hazard and the risk of electric shock are avoided by special safety systems.

The following safety systems are commonly used by the EV industry:

  • in the event of accidents, the energy flow of the battery is interrupted immediately in models offered by standard OEMS.
  • in many EVs the battery is installed in a large, crash-proof aluminum block and thus protected against deformation.
  • charging connections are designed in such a way that electricity only flows when the contact between the plug and the car is securely closed and no water is detected. Thus, charging in rainy weather does not pose any additional safety risk
  • in the event of high temperatures during driving, the advanced battery management systems offered by standard OEMS determines when the load on the batteries gets too high and reduces the total power supply from battery. The EV simply slows down without causing irreparable damage to the battery.

Depending up on the location, the different segments of electric vehicles are available at least in following range:

  • Electric passenger cars: around 80 km - 970 km
  • Electric 2Wheeler (speed > 25 km/h): around 75km – 150 km
  • Electric 3Wheeler: around 84km – 171km
  • Electric Bus: around 100km – 480km

The three main types of energy storage systems used in hybrid electric vehicles, pure electric vehicles and plug in hybrid vehicles are:

  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • Nickle metal hydride batteries
  • Lead-acid batteries

The Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology has the highest energy density compared to other battery technologies. The high energy density helps to save space and reduce the overall size of the battery pack. Li-ion batteries also offer a comparatively solid performance at high temperatures, as well as high energy efficiency.. Together with the mentioned characteristics To date it is the most preferred technology by EV manufacturers.

V2G stands for Vehicle to grid. V2G is a service to support the electricity grid operations & increase grid reliability. V2G enables the bidirectional sharing of electricity between Electric Vehicles and the electric power grid. A V2G compatible EV can communicate with electric power grid to sell demand response services either by feeding the electricity in the grid or throttling their charging rate.

V2G technology can fulfil a similar function such as battery storage power plants and solar batteries. In general, V2G could help decarbonize the transport sector, perform load control tasks, improve the integration of renewable energy, as well as provide an additional source of revenue for utilities and electric car owners.

So far, the technology is in its pilot phase but could potentially reach mass adoption in the upcoming years. Mass adoption of V2G will require a dedicated national /regional level V2G standard for vehicles and an electric grid legislation. An overview of around 10 pilot projects and the discussion on V2G technology, services and market readiness could be accessed here. The north London bus garage in the UK currently runs a pilot project Bus2Grid, which will make it the world’s largest V2G trial site for electric buses. Access further information on Bus2Grid project here.

There are very few V2G compatible EVs in passenger car segment currently available. Few V2G compatible EV models being used in various demonstration/pilot projects are Nissan Leaf, Nissan Evalia, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mitsubishi iMiev, Renault Zoe and Peugeot iOn.

Build Your Dreams (BYD) is working towards providing V2G compatible Buses under the first of its kind multi-megawatt demonstration project Bus2Grid. The project aims to demonstrate the technical and commercial potential of e-buses to support the electricity system.

Charging Technology

There are three main types of charging technologies conductive charging, inductive charging and swapping/changing the battery:

Conductive charging: In conductive charging the battery is charged using a charging cable. Presently it is the cheapest and most efficient technology and hence the most preferred technology for all EV segments. There are 3 main levels of this charging technology:

  • Level 1: The Level 1 is an AC charger and is generally plugged from the normal household socket. It is mostly convenient for home charging or where a vehicle is usually parked for several hours. It is suitable for overnight or weekend charging sessions and provides up to 4 to 5 miles of range per hour.
  • Level 2: The Level 2 is also an AC charger and is faster as compared to Level 1 chargers. They are mostly used at home or public charging stations like workplaces, shopping malls, restaurants, sports complex, cinema halls, etc. It is suitable for locations where an EV is parked at least for an hour. It provides up to 12 to 50 miles of range per hour of charging depending on the power providing capacity of the charger and the charge accepting capacity of EV.
  • Level 3: The Level 3 is a DC charger and it uses Direct Current (DC) which is different than the Alternating Current (AC) commonly available in residential and commercial buildings. DC charging is done at a high voltage and is available in various power levels which allows rapid charging of the EV. It can charge an EV up to 80% in 30 minutes. It is mostly used in places like parking places, Gas stations, Highways, public places and dedicated charging slots. It provides up to 100 mile of range per hour of charging and is most suitable for EV users who are on long trips and are pressed on time.

Inductive Charging: The Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field to charge EVs without any contact between the EV and charging infrastructure. Induction chargers create an alternative electromagnetic field using an induction coil within the charging base, the second induction coil on the EV takes power from the created alternative electromagnetic field and converts it to electric current to charge the batteries.

This charging process is durable and increases the convenience, aesthetics as there is no need of charging cables. Due to higher energy losses while charging it is more expensive and slower as compared to the conductive charging process. Few cities across the world are using this technology to charge the public transport vehicles like electric buses.

Battery Swapping / Changing: This charging technology involves replacing the discharged batteries with newly charged batteries from a battery swapping station. Battery swapping requires standardizing the battery size and internal connections of EV.

The standardization of battery technology leads to reduced freedom for EV OEMS for innovation in terms of battery design and placement. However, this charging technology enables selling of EVs without the battery and hence helps in reducing the price of EV leading to faster adoption. Building a city- or nation-wide swapping infrastructure requires high initial investments. Few cities across the world are piloting this technology to charge the public transport vehicles like electric buses.

A year long laboratory experiment was conducted on 4 similar model of EV in 2012 on a closed test track by using normal and fast charging methods. After accumulation of 50,000 test miles of the vehicles it revealed that a drop in energy capacity from baseline % for the EVs charged only by fast chargers were slightly greater as compared to the vehicles charged with normal Level 2 chargers. However, the actual difference between the overall battery capacity losses was not significant between cars charged with Level 2 and DC Fast chargers.

The statistical overview of the experiment can be accessed here and details on the test methodology and conditions can be accessed here.

However, taking care of the battery during charging is always a good idea. Similar to not revving any conventional vehicle when the motor is still cold. So, to avoid stress for the battery cells and therefore battery degradation, fast charging should better be used for long journeys and not for the daily recharge. Same goes for avoiding regular charging temperatures below 0 degrees and very high discharge rates (below 10% State of Charge).


Destination Charging refers to the charging process that happens after the EV user reaches his/her destination, the most common referred to as either home or office. Destination charging usually lasts up to 8 hours and is done with either Level 1 or Level 2 AC charging stations.

Charging Destination refers to the charging process that happens during short stops, the most common referred to as parking place, gas stations, dedicated charging places, etc. The charging usually lasts up to 4 hours and is done with either Level 2 AC chargers or Level 3 DC chargers.

With many countries and cities introducing ordinances for open access of public charging stations to all EV users, it has become very convenient to charge an EV without a need of smartphone and pay with multiple conventional payment options like debit card, credit card, etc.

Most of the new public charging stations are equipped with an open payment system. This allows the EV users to pay with either cards, smartphone, smartphone wallets, ecommerce solutions, mobile applications, etc.

Electric Mobility Service Providers (EMSP) also provide their customers with prepaid subscription package options, wherein the customers pay a monthly subscription amount and they can charge their EV up to certain kWh per month on any of EMSP’s network charging stations.

The normal charging stations are uni-directional charging stations i.e. the power flows from the electric power source to the vehicle.

The V2X compatible charging stations is a bi-directional charging station i.e. the energy flows both ways in and out of your EV. The V2X compatible charging station can send the energy back into the power grid or even to your home or your office. The different application of V2X compatible chargers have different names like vehicle to grid (V2G), vehicle to home (V2H) and others. The main benefit of V2X charging station is that you can use your EV as an emergency power source for oneself or the local grids and earn money by selling excess energy back to grid.

There are two different types of charging methods and thus charging stations: those with alternating current (AC) and those with direct current (DC). DC charging is used for fast charging stations, for which there are different types of plug: CCS; CHAdeMO. One can find out which plug is supported on the respective charging station via the app or the online page of the CPO or EMSP.

AC charging stations have the standardized "Type 2" plug. For vehicles with a "Type 1 plug" on the vehicle, there are adapter-charging cables that have a "Type 1 connection" on the vehicle side and a "Type 2 connection" on the charging station side. In the case of alternating current charging stations (AC), the electricity in the vehicle is converted into direct current by the built-in, power inverter or on-board charger.

The charge time of any EV depends on the battery size of the EV; State of charge of the battery and power rating of the electrical charger. For example: the TATA Nexon Electric passenger car has a usable battery size of 30.2 kWh. If this was empty, full charging with 2.3 kW will take approx.. 13 hours, with 11 kW approx. 3 hours and quick charging with 50 kW takes about 30 minutes to 80% charge level. The maximum charging power is limited by the maximum possible charging power of the EV and that of the charging point.

The normal home charging socket is designed to use for household applications for limited periods of time. Since most of the home sockets have a charging current of 16 A, it will take longer to charge the electric vehicle. The long periods of charging an EV from home sockets may lead to development of hotspots in the home circuit and increase the risks of fire. It is hence recommended to install special wallbox at home for EV charging.

The Wallbox is a compact charging device and could easily be attached to the wall. It provides charging power at a higher power rating and efficiency as compared to normal charging sockets and could be used at home / office or other locations. There are many manufacturers which offer a variety of models for wallboxes. Some of the “home-charging stations” offer additional functionalities like smart charging. The Wallbox also protects against electric shocks, avoids voltage peaks during charging process, measures energy consumption and supports smart charging functionality. It also supports additional functionality like authorization and billing for commercial use.

The home charging station or the wallbox one choose should be guided by two main factors:

First: It must match the requirement of the onboard charger integrated in your electric vehicle. Depending on the EV manufacturers, different EV models are equipped with either single phase or three phase chargers. Hence 1 phase wallbox will not serve the purpose for the EV with an onboard 3 phase charger and vice versa.

Second: The size of the home charging station / Wallbox i.e. either 3.7 kW / 11 kW / 22kW / 50 kW should be selected in co-ordination with local power supplier, power grid Management Company and the sanctioned load of your home. For e.g. if the max contracted / sanctioned electric power load of your house is 10 kW then a wallbox with a power rating of only 3.7 kW will be technically feasible to be installed at your premises.

Usually the dealers selling the EVs offers the suitable charging station / Wallbox for charging the EV at home. EV buyers can also select a certified Wallbox system available in open market or from the Wallbox models empaneled by the local grid management or energy supplier companies.

One should get the installation done in co-ordination with local energy supplier or from the qualified electrician in accordance with local regulations.

Yes, it is possible to charge an EV with a photovoltaic system (PV). However, due to the intermittent nature of solar power and limited performance of the solar PV system, it is advisable to have it in addition to normal network charging. The size of the usual home electricity storage systems or the electricity storage in PV systems are designed only for household needs and therefore may be too small to be able to charge an EV. The excess electricity from the PV system can, however, be charged into an EV when it is plugged in and not exporting energy to external power grid.

The best way to find the public charging station is to look in the app of your Electric Mobility Service Provider (EMSP) or Charge Point Operator (CPO). The EMSP / CPO provides a search and find option for nearest available charging point to their end users.

One may also use the local or national level maps of the charging stations developed by local authorities to search of public charging stations along the route. Many EVs also have built in navigation systems which show the next available charging station on a defined route.

Previously EMSP provided restricted access to their charging stations network only to their customers with a valid contract using an access key (rfid, chargecard, etc). The customers will be charged in accordance with the subscription or charge contract signed with the EMSP.

However, many countries have now brought specific ordinances to allow open access to all the public charging stations. This allows the EV users to access all the public charging points and enable them to pay directly using the debit / credit cards, apps, cash, etc. The directives also obliges the EMSPs and CPOs to display the charging prices before the charge process starts.

Yes, one can drive EV across different countries in several regions of the world. Several EMSP in Europe provide a transnational network of charging points to their customers by signing roaming contracts with Roaming service providers.

Roaming service providers also offer solutions to EMSP and CPOs where in EV drivers without a contract can also pay directly through various payment modes at their charging station network.
Hubject, Gireve, e-clearing.net and MOBI:E are few of the roaming service providers.

Interoperability (IOP) is the ability of two or more networks, systems, applications, components, or devices from the same vendor, or different vendors, to exchange and subsequently use that information in order to perform required functions.

To give a practical example: Bus Operators will make sure that the charging plug they use for their charging stations will be interoperable with different models of electric buses. This will allow the purchase of new electric buses from different vendors in the future. Therefore they rely on industry charging standards like CCS oder Chademo.

A Charge point Operator (CPO) installs the charging points and undertakes the operations and maintenance role of the charging points. The CPO also undertakes the role of authorizing the charge process, generating a charge data record and subsequently collect the bill amount from the Electric Mobility Service Provider (EMSP). Big CPOs manage the charging point networks using Charge Point Management System.

e.g. Smatrics is a CPO which provides a network of public charging points in Austria and uses a charge point management system to manage its charging point network. Similarly has.to.be is a Germany based CPO which provides charging point network for home and workplace charging.

Electric Mobility Service Provider (EMSP) provide services to two main stakeholders in the charging business i.e. the CPOs and the end users / EV drivers. EMSP sign access agreements with different CPOs for charging point networks (CPN) and develops a local / regional /national level CPN. EMSP develop charging plans and provide access to the CPN with single access key to the end users. The major roles of the EMSP are initial contract work with CPOs, marketing, provide charge plans & network access to end users and clearing house function.

Certain EMSP also signs contract with a roaming service provider with an aim to provide access to transnational CPN to its end users. Certain CPOs also assumes the role of EMSP.

e.g. Virta is a Germany based EMSP which provides end user services like mobile and web applications, registrations and RFID charging tags, customer portal, charging for unregistered end users. Further Virta also provides services to CPO like charge station management, roaming services, business insights, etc.

Roaming Service provider (RSP) provide access to comprehensive charging point network to the end users of the member EMSP and CPO. Further RSP provides the charge authorization and data-clearing house to charging services across regional / transnational borders.

The main elements of roaming services are:

  • ICT platform: Enables information exchange between Clients using a communication Protocol
  • Data aggregator platform: All the clients data relating to Charging point database, End User information,etc are stored on this platform.

Hubject, Gireve, e-clearing.net and MOBI:E are few of the roaming service providers.

Smart Charging refers to a controlled charging process that optimises the energy consumption by the electric vehicle from the electrical power grid.

Smart charging supports the grid as well as end user, few of the benefits are:

  • Reduces the power grid management cost by enabling peak alleviation by balancing the supply and demand
  • Enables EV charging with whenever intermittent renewable energy is available
  • Reduces electricity prices for end users during off peak times and/or high availability of renewable energy

E-Mobility Costs

At first glance e-mobility options seem to be more expensive than their conventional gasoline alternatives. This is, because in most markets the up-front purchasing costs for the EVs (cars, buses, trucks, scooters etc.) are still higher than for comparable ICE vehicles (mostly due to high battery prices).

At the same time EVs have significantly lower maintenance and repair costs, as they have fewer moving (wear) parts than combustion engines. Additionally, the electricity to run the vehicles is usually cheaper than diesel/ gasoline. This means that in most cases the variable costs per kilometer are lower for most electric vehicles than for comparable conventional vehicles. The total cost of ownership (TCO, see below) over the lifetime of most EVs therefore is already positive, especially if the vehicle is driven a lot. Through falling battery prices vehicle prices as well as TCO are expected to fall over the next decade.

Analysts from Bloomberg forecast that EV (up-front) prices reach parity with internal combustion engine vehicles in all light vehicle segments in Europe between 2025-2027.

The concept of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) estimates the total costs of a product or service over the whole of their life. For making balanced purchasing decisions, e.g. for electric vehicles, in addition to the one-off acquisition costs, ongoing, direct and indirect costs must also be considered. The concept of TCO analyses the various costs in the different phases of a vehicle’s lifecycle:

1. Procurement: One-off acquisition costs and costs for installation.

2. Use: Direct operating costs (e.g. energy costs), indirect operating costs (e.g. ongoing maintenance costs, insurance, taxes) and costs for spares.

3. Disposal: One-off disposal costs.

Since the TCO is calculated from different costs, as described above, it is usually dependent on the vehicle´s segment as well as the location of the user. There are several TCO tools available, targeting various regions of the world. These tools support (private or public) users in identifying the TCO for different vehicle segments.
The following TCO calculation tools can be accessed at the links below:

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Evaluator, WRI India

Vehicle Cost Calculator, Alternative Fuels Data Center – U.S. Department of Energy

Cost Calculator, Electric Vehicle Council (Australia)

TCO Calculator, European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO)

Even though battery prices have fallen significantly over the last years, higher purchase costs for EVs in comparison to combustion-powered (ICE) vehicles still represent a barrier in the transition to e-mobility. The concept of TCO can be a helpful tool to get a more accurate assessment of the economic efficiency of EVs.
The goal of calculating the TCO for specific projects is to make them cost transparent and to get a direct comparison of the TCO of an EV option with those TCO of an ICE vehicle. Such cost transparency can support policy frameworks in setting ideal financial incentives for consumers, provides operators with valuable economic data for a business transition towards EVs, and can also influence consumers purchase decisions.

Procuring EVs

Electric vehicles have the smallest carbon footprint of all drive types over their entire life cycle. Numerous studies show that they cause significantly less CO2 than diesel or gasoline powered vehicles. In the segment of passenger car EVs also offer a significantly higher performance in terms of energy efficiency and cost, compared to vehicles powered by hydrogen and synthetic fuels. They are therefore an important contribution to climate protection.

Electric Vehicles are becoming increasingly affordable and attractive. The cost of batteries has reduced by almost 90% over the last ten years. On top, federal and local governments are providing additional benefits like purchase grants, tax exemptions, free parking, priority lanes, etc. making electric vehicle adoption not just affordable but comfortable. Today buying an electric vehicle is associated with similar costs as a conventional vehicle in many markets.

EV batteries undergo cycles of 'discharge' that occur when driving and 'charge' when the EV's plugged in. This repeated cycle process over time affects the amount of charge the battery can hold. This decreases the range and time needed between each journey to charge. Most EV manufacturers offer a five to eight-year warranty or a drive limit (for e.g. 160,000 kms for passenger cars) on their battery. Currently, there are not enough facts to prove the length of a batteries life span as the technology is quite new. However, some predictions says that an electric car battery could last for around 10 – 20 years.

Yes, most EV manufacturers provide battery warranty either in terms of time i.e around 5 to 8 years or as a drive limit in kms, for e.g. 1,60,000 kms for passenger cars. The manufacturers usually promise that after this time or distance the battery still has at least 65 to 70 percent of the original energy capacity. It is therefore advisable to study the warranty conditions before buying an electric vehicle.

Following are the basic things, one must keep in mind before purchasing an EV:

  • Understand your driving needs in terms of average driving kms and check for the realistic range of the EV models
  • Check if you can charge at home and if you require to increase the sanctioned electricity load (kWh)
  • Check the battery warranty offered by the manufacturer
  • Check remote functionalities offered by the manufacturer, for e.g. whether you can start charging and preheating the cabin via your smartphone. Preheating the battery and compartment can save energy and hence provide more range in winter conditions
  • Check for the different charge point compatibilities (CCS, CHAdeMO, Type-2 etc.), for e.g. if the EV could be easily charged at different public charging stations in and around your city / country.

EV incentives are mostly a Federal or state matter and are generally in line with the political objectives of the governments. However, with an aim to decarbonize the transport sector sever federal and local governments are providing a range of fiscal and monetary incentives. The most common monetary incentives are purchase grants for Electric vehicle and for the charging stations. Further incentives / benefits include tax exemptions, exemptions from vehicle registration fees, free parking at public places, priority lanes, etc. These incentives / benefits makethe electric vehicle adoption more attractive for consumers.

Yes, in many countries around the world public and private banks are offering vehicle purchase loan for electric vehicles.

The secondhand market of EVs is growing in certain markets around the world. The following basic rules should be kept in mind before purchasing a second hand EV:

  • Check the battery power, charging type and charging voltage
  • Check for the latest battery test report
  • Carefully examine the service booklet and warranty documents
  • Considering the recuperative braking system that comes with most EVs, check for the brake discs
  • Check if heating and cooling work at full power
  • Check which charging cables and accessories are being provided
  • Consider taking a test drive and check for running distance, fuel consumption, range and battery level data

The basic factors that impact the range of an EV are:

  • Extreme hot / cold temperatures
  • Driving behavior: High speed and short-sighted driving style may affect the driving range
  • Ancillary power use: For air-conditioning and heating have little effect on driving range, the ability to pre-heat the vehicle whilst connected to a charger could help retain battery range
  • Terrain: Hilly journeys use more battery power than driving on a flat road. One can use the regenerative braking (energy recovered when slowing down) to counter this
  • Weight: Range will be affected by the load one carries although unless the EV have an exceptionally heavy payload, the range reduction is not too noticeable
  • Battery age: EV batteries undergo cycles of 'discharge' that occur when driving and 'charge' when the car's plugged in. This repeated cycle process over time affects the amount of charge the battery can hold. This decreases the range and time needed between each journey to charge

The frequency of charging an electric vehicle depends on the battery capacity or the range of your vehicle, the state of charge and the average daily driving distance. Most EV manufacturers provide EV batteries that can hold the charge for long and hence costumers with regular driving habits don’t need to charge the battery every day/night.

For e.g. if the range of an electric vehicle is 300 kms and the daily average driving distance of the EV owner is 30 km, he/she shall not require to charge the EV daily.

Public Transport

  1. Battery Electric Buses (BEBs): BEBs have a battery pack and an electric motor instead of a fuel tank and an engine. The battery pack is the vehicle’s sole source of power and must be recharged, from the electric grid or any other power source. When charged with electricity from renewable sources, BEBs offer zero-emission mobility and quiet operation. As compared to the conventional buses the BEBs have slightly lower maintenance costs are slightly and a longer technical life (except for their batteries). At many places around the world, the electricity used to power the vehicle is cheaper than diesel fuel, which further reduces the operational costs.
  2. Hybrid Electric Vehicle Bus (HEV): HEVs have both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine and utilize both electricity and gasoline. While the vehicle can use gasoline for part of its mileage, it can also run emission-free once switched to electric mode. The battery of HEVs cannot be plugged in order to be recharged. The two main types of hybrid vehicles are:
    • Conventional HEV: Conventional HEVs can recharge their electric batteries from the energy created from braking. They have an increased fuel economy compared to conventional vehicles when it combines both its gasoline and electric mileage. Increased fuel economy reduces fuel costs and can save money.
    • Plug-in hybrid electric bus (PHEV): PHEV is similar to conventional HEVs but have a larger battery. It can be charged by using external power through an on-board charger. PHEVs ability to be charged reduces the need for gasoline as compared to conventional HEVs. The users can opt to operate PHEV entirely on electricity, with gasoline for emergencies.
  3. Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV): FCEVs are powered by hydrogen. FCEVs use a propulsion system similar to that of electric vehicles, where energy stored as hydrogen is converted to electricity by the fuel cell. They are more efficient than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and produce no tailpipe emissions—they only emit water vapor and warm air. Hydrogen when produced from low carbon energy sources (renewable, biomass or nuclear energy), the on-road carbon emissions from FCEVs can be eliminated. Learn more on how FCEVs process here.
  4. Trolley Buses: The trolleybus is a dynamically charged electric bus. The dynamic charge is provided through direct contact between the trolleybus pantograph systems and the overhead contact line. The direct contact is the most effi­cient method to transfer electrical energy. The trolleybuses do not have a range problem and can remain in customer service as long as operationally required. It can travel autonomously over short distances (up to 10 - 50 kilometers), without contact with the overhead contact line; relying solely on the electrical energy stored in on-board batteries.

The different charging technologies available for Battery Electric Buses are:

  • Slow Charging: The slow chargers typically of power rating 50 – 100 kW are used to charge the buses mostly once a day, typically overnight. Under this charging approach the BEB may require a larger battery set to have sufficient driving range considering the length of routes it caters during the daytime. The capital expenditure of the buses will increase, however, the same for charging system will be reduced. The charging system is easy to manage and enables to charge the buses at low electricity cost during the off-peak times.
  • Fast Charging: The fast chargers typically of power rating 150 – 400 kW, which allows the buses to be recharged within 15-30 minutes depending upon the battery size of BEB and charger rating. These chargers could be used either for intermediate day charging or at night charging. This charging system enables longer driving range for buses even with smaller battery capacities and hence reduces the capital expenditure on the buses. However, the capital expenditure on the chargers increases and also the operational cost increases due to consumption of electricity at the peak hours during the daytime. This charging system could be operationally more complex as compared to the overnight slow charging system.
  • Opportunity Charing: This is a special form of fast or ultrafast charging that takes place at the end of the route or at regular bus stops along the route. The ultrafast high-power charging occurs with chargers having up to 600 kW ratings with a charge time of up to 50 secs. Plug-in hybrids as well as BEBs can be charged using such systems. Buses using this charging system can be equipped with minimal battery sizes because of the availability of the fast chargers at regular or end of the routes and hence reducing the capital cost of the buses. However, capital expenditure on the charging infrastructure increases and operational flexibility of the vehicles may be reduced, as the buses needs to be operated only on equipped routes.
  • Battery Swapping technology: Instead of charging the batteries in the bus, the batteries are removed by robots and replaced with new units in a process that takes up to 20 minutes. The Quick interchange station project in Ahmedabad, India completes a battery swap for e-bus within 3 minutes. More batteries are required both with the bus as well as at the battery swapping stations. This increases the capital expenditure of the technology.
  • Overhead Charging: An overhead charging system is typically used for trolley buses. The continuous availability of the charging infrastructure allows for a minimum battery size in the vehicle. The battery size will depend on the autonomy required along the routes due to potential non-availability of the overhead charging system. some trolley buses in China have an autonomy range of up to 20-50 kms and hence different trolley buses have a battery size ranging from 40-120 kWh. Considering the minimal battery size requirement, the capital cost of e-buses, using overhead charging reduces. At the same timer, investments in the necessary charging infrastructure increase. Therefore overhead charging is most suitable for BRT routes operating with high frequencies and fixed routes..

The overview of Electric Bus Models offered by various manufacturers across the world can be accessed here.

It is advisable to select an appropriate E-Bus and charging technology considering the local characteristics like topography, local climate, route statistics, passenger utilization, etc. Today many public transport companies are using software-based tools to strategically derive on the vehicle and charging station specifications. These tools offer support in selection and decision making by evaluating the operational, technological, economic and ecological aspects of EV systems based on different local criteria and conditions.

Some of the service providers, offering software based tools for e-bus planning are Besysto, Fraunhofer IVI, RWTH Aachen, ebusplan.

Additional online tools like the Eliptic E-Bus decision support Tool can also help in determining which technology is appropriate based on the operators operational profile and specific city context.

Yes, there are many guidebooks available for E-Bus project implementation.

TUMIVolt has developed a "How To" checklist for introduction of E-buses in cities. The aim is to facilitate relevant stakeholders in understanding the preliminary step by step e-bus project planning process. The checklist further includes links to relevant publications/webinars on each step, to enable self-learning. The key steps include:

  • Electrification Strategy
  • Legal Requirements
  • Finalizing Zero Emission Bus Technology
  • Finalizing Charging Infrastructure
  • Tendering / Procurement
  • Financing & Funding
  • Ensuring Energy Supply
  • Staff Training & Capacity Development

The checklist can be accessed here.

The E-bus operator can avail almost all normal digitization services which are available for conventional fleet operators. Additionally, with new technology introduction new service offerings have evolved for e-bus operations. A brief overview of the available services is described below:

Digitization services for conventional Fleets

Additional Services for E-Bus Fleets

Automated Vehicle Location system

E-Bus Operation Monitoring:

  • E-Bus operation monitoring (range, temperature)
  • E-Bus battery monitoring (temperature, SOC, charging cycles, energy used, etc.)
  • Charging process monitoring (parking space allocation, precondition, vehicle dispatch, etc.)

Control Centre Management

Crew Management

Depot Management & Vehicle Scheduling/ Dispatch System

Passenger Information system

Fare Management & Collection System

Enterprise Management system

Charging Management / Smart Charging:

  • Charging process planning
  • Smart charging
  • Monitoring electrical systems

Business Intelligence – Performance accounting & reporting

E-Bus Dispatch monitoring & control by analyzing:

  • E-Bus Battery profiles
  • Charging infrastructure profiles
  • Charging costs
  • E-Bus models

The broad benefits of the digitization services for E-Bus operators are as under:

E-Bus operation monitoring

Smart Charging

E-Bus Scheduling

  • Optimizes auxillary loads
  • Increases bus range
  • Ensures high up-time
  • Allows for route specific performance analysis
  • Allows for driver specific performance analysis
  • Supports in incentivizing good drivers
  • Supports driver training need assessment
  • Reduces peak vehicle requirement
  • Supports in avoiding battery degradation
  • Reduces operation cost
  • Allows billing per bus
  • Offers adherence to demand response
  • Offers remote resets
  • Reduces peak energy charge
  • Addresses power grid capacity limitation
  • Integration with charging management
  • Helps in maintaining minimum battery thresholds
  • Reduces peak vehicle requirement
  • Less expensive/most efficient schedules
  • Multiple schedules possible like only e-bus, E-bus + Diesel bus, most efficient schedule

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a quantifier or qualifier of performance. KPI has the capability to express the effect of a change/measure in respect to the expected impacts and to verify against the performance targets. The detailed KPIs of an e-bus project considering the dimensions like cost, availability, reliability, performance, service quality and environmental impacts was developed under the Assured Project funded under the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme.

The detailed KPI compilation can be accessed here.

The public transport operation involves several activities under three main verticals:

  • Planning: route planning, demand assessment, setting service quality standards, operation planning, financing, finalizing terms of contract, etc.
  • Implementation: fleet & charging infrastructure procurement, ensuring regulatory requirements, marketing, implement monitoring & control center, ensuring fuel supply for fleets, procuring digital services, etc.
  • Operations & Monitoring: operating & maintaining (O&M) the buses, O&M the charging infrastructure, operating the control center, service quality monitoring, fare collection, etc.

The business models involved in electric fleet operations are:

  • Complete ownership model: The public authority / transport company takes the complete ownership of the three service verticals.
  • Public private partnership (PPP) model: The public authority / transport company takes partial ownership of the three activity verticals and outsources the rest of the activities to a private operator. There are several different types of PPP models like gross cost contract (GCC), Net cost contract (NCC), Hybrid GCC, Hybrid NCC, read the details here.
  • Leasing model: Like in PPP model the public authority / transport company and the private operator take up partial ownership of the three activity verticals. Additionally, a third party takes up the responsibility of procurement of capital-intensive assets like e-buses (or just the battery of e-buses), charging infrastructure and leases them to the operator. This model serves as an ‘Asset light financing’ model to reduce the total cost of ownership of the e-buses project. Several cities across the world like Shenzhen, Santiago, etc. are using this model.

You can access more business model case studies on the TUMIVolt E-Bus Checklist.

Depending on the local public transport situation the public transport companies/authorities can promote various other E-mobility solutions in partnership with other stakeholders. For e.g.

  • Hamburger Hochbahn AG, a public bus operator in Germany partnered with VOI an e-scooter provider to improve the first/last mile connectivity in certain localities of the Hochbahn’s service area. As a part of pilot project, the customers receive special benefits (such as reduced rental fees for the scooters). For more details follow the link.
  • Hamburger Hochbahn AG partnered with MOIA, a ride-sharing company in the Volkswagen Group (VW) to provide an environmentally friendly mobility offer for residents of Hamburg. The project complements public transport and offers an attractive alternative to private cars. For more details follow the link.
  • Several European cities like Bremen, Barcelona, Szeged, etc. are providing their electric charging infrastructure for multiple use cases. For more details follow the link.

Financing E-Mobility Projects

E-Mobility projects can range from e-buses in public transport to public e-bikes. Depending on the project scope and vehicles segment different financing models can be used.

When financing an e-mobility project the traditional ownership model is paying upfront for all EVs and often includes a combination of self-funding, taking out a loan and using grants from different levels, such as international, national, regional or local sources (further information on existing funding see below).

To overcome high upfront costs there are new options of financing models emerging, such as battery leasing. Using this model transport operators can purchase the EVs, e.g. e-buses and lease (i.e. “rent”) its batteries from leasing companies. This way the operator can lower the upfront costs and shift it to an operating expense. Further the leasing model helps to outsource the maintenance, repair and potential replacement costs for the battery to the manufacturer or leasing companies.

In addition to battery leasing models, transport operators can rely on the “classic” operating or capital leasing model for their vehicle financing. With this model not only the battery is leased by the operator, but the whole vehicle. Financing models with even more flexibility in terms of adjusting to technological advancements are giving the opportunity to set variable time frames and ending conditions.

Pay as you save approaches, where electric utilities bare the incremental cost of e-buses and recover the cost through the electricity bill, are another promising financing instrument. More details can be found here.

Another financing approach is the so-called joint purchasing, by cities or bus (transport) operators, to achieve economies of scale. Here cities as well as bus operators can team up to increase the amount of purchased vehicles and therefore lower the costs per vehicle.

A broad overview of different financing approaches for e-buses can be found at Financial Mechanisms for Electric Bus Adoption.

Funding e-mobility projects can be secured from different sources such as:

  • National or local governments,
  • Capital markets (banks),
  • Development banks (with usually lower interest rates),
  • Private sector investments.

Capital provided from the private sector usually comes with higher commercial rates than capital provided by development banks or governments. E.g. grants, as funding from governments, are often based on public budgets coming from different levels (federal, state or local) and with certain restrictions regarding who has access and what it is used for. Grants can help operators to overcome high up-front costs for e-buses and the accompanying infrastructure.

For financially viable projects a growing number of cities shift from traditional models with owner-operators to unbundled models involving private and public stakeholders to decentralize the risk and responsibilities from local public authorities.

The following article gives a valuable overview on solutions for developing profitable projects: Six tips for your electric bus project´s financial viability in the green recovery.

Policy & Regulation

Supporting a sustainable electric mobility development will require clear and coherent policies in both the transport and energy sector. The paper "Sustainable Electric Mobility: Building Blocks and Policy Recommendations” (SuM4All, 2021) lays out a solid basis to inform decision makers about effective policy measures, on the international, national and local level.

To read all policy recommendations please refer to: buildingblocksandpolicyrecommendations_english.pdf (sum4all.org).

The International development public policy community such as bilateral and multilateral development organizations, international finance institutions, United Nations programs and agencies as well as international think tanks and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) are crucial to raise awareness and promote sustainable e-mobility. Examples for helpful tools to do so are global initiatives like EV100 or EV 30@30. International support can help developing countries, which lack resources and capabilities, implement good electric mobility policy and avoid negative effects of unsustainable transport. Supporting harmonized carbon accounting frameworks, international standards for battery life cycle, second-hand vehicle markets as well as supporting balanced and accurate information about electric mobility should be key efforts for a broader (global) shift towards sustainable mobility.

Specific information on successful public policy for the development of sustainable electric mobility can be found here.

Acknowledging that national policy, through legislation and funding, has a strong influence on the development of electric mobility, the main recommendations toward the national policy community are to set clear electric mobility and transport sector targets to reduce GHG emissions — such as phase out of combustion engine vehicles — to help build momentum and provide solid policy frameworks for long-term planning.

Such policy frameworks can include aligning taxation and carbon pricing with a sustainable transport vision, for example bonus-malus systems and temporary subsidies for sustainable and active electric mobility segments. Further recommendations on national policies supporting e-mobility can be found here, grouped by three action fields visions, policy and implementation (see page: 45).

On the local level, the potential to avoid or reduce the need to travel and shift modes is highest, as many trips are within the city and therefore of short distance. Policies which focus on the reallocation of street space and promotion of the "15-Minute City" should have priority. Electrifying suitable bus routes and advancing bicycle infrastructure for electric city logistics are effective ways for cities to promote new forms of electric mobility. Considering the local context, established forms of electric mobility— rail, tram, and trolley bus—could also be expanded.

Specific recommendations on how decision makers can analyze cities’ local context for setting ideal electric mobility priorities can be found here (see page: 39, box III-1 and page: 47).

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