The odyssey of charging an electric car in emptied Spain: “It is something unfeasible”


Rural Spain produces most renewable energy -solar and wind- in our country. However, as is the case with many other infrastructures and services, the rural world is also being left out of the new mobility or green mobility. The emptied Spain is empty of chargers for electric cars. Barely 30% of charging stations and chargers are in rural inland Spain and they are also found on high-capacity roads that run through these territories.

“If one enters regional roads the situation is already dramatic”, acknowledges Antonio, a farmer and rancher from Extremadura, who thought about buying an electric work vehicle a few months ago, but “In the end I decided on a hybridbut that runs mostly with gasoline because the closest charging station to the place where I have my home and my agricultural and livestock farms it is almost 30 kilometers. It is something unfeasible”. Charging the electric car in emptied Spain is an odyssey today.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the electric vehicle has barely penetrated rural Spain where only one in 1,000 cars is electric. Some 8,000 of the 7.7 million car fleet in these areas when in urban areas the penetration of electric vehicles is five times that of rural areas and five out of every 1,000 vehicles are electric. And that the car park of emptied Spain is very old, since 75% of the vehicles are more than 10 years old and 30% of passenger cars are over 20 years old, but according to a report from the Rural Decarbonization Observatory, 94% of the population in rural areas have no intention of purchasing an electric vehicle and only 1% consider doing so before two years.

“As long as there is no significant deployment of charging points or the inhabitants of rural Spain will be helped a lot with these own and private supply points, this deployment of the electric car in the rural world will be very difficult because, in addition, the people who live in these environments use vehicles that are not passenger cars. That they are work tools that we use every day and neither there are so many electric vehicles that can work in rural areas where cargo vehicles are needed, high load capacity and reliable in harsh weather environments“, says one of the coordinators of the Federation of Empty Spain.

The truth is that the territorial imbalance when we talk about electric mobility is obvious and evident. The bulk of charging points in Spain, 70% is on urban land, with 3,760 chargers, while only 1,162 are in rural areas and 1,028 are located in corridors and main highways. However, when fast chargers are analyzed, the figures change: there are 17 in rural areas, 132 in urban areas, and 134 in corridors and high-capacity highways.

According to a report by Ecodes and the Sustainability Observatory, that of the power available in the chargers is another of the great problems for emptied Spain, since only 0.7% of the public points installed in rural areas have a power greater than 150 kW, which prevents them from taking full advantage of the fast recharging capacities that current cars offer to make trips in a reasonable period of time. For exampleGalicia, Cantabria, La Rioja and Navarra They do not have fast chargers in their territories, nor do provinces such as Castellón, Guadalajara, Guipúzcoa, Huesca, Jaén, Palencia, Segovia, Soria and Teruel.

In all, approximately 28% of the peninsular national area lacks publicly owned high power points. With these figures, zero emission mobility is very difficult in some parts of the Peninsula. In rural Spain there is one charging point every 349 square kilometers compared to one every 4.11 km2 in urban areas. A fact that begins to weigh down, in some way, the economic development of the so-called emptied Spain.

Joseba, for example, is a Biscayan who recently spent a weekend in a town in the Sierra de Francia in Salamanca, in a rural hotel. He has an electric car, a Tesla, and the closest electric charger to the place where he stayed. “It was 20 kilometers away when the gas station had it less than a kilometer away” and “not to mention the nearest high-capacity charger, which was almost 50 kilometers away.” Thus, “until there is a fairly large and dense network of chargers, I am going to think very hard about returning to tourism in many areas of the interior of Spain because you run the risk of being ‘struck’ on the road,” says José María.

Raúl Estévez, head of Big Data and Geographic Information Systems at the Sustainability Observatory, points out that it is emptied Spain that is massively producing renewable energy and “bearing its important impacts on biodiversity, landscape and its citizens”, so they should be “the first beneficiaries in terms of accessibility and price from this electrification of transport”, but this is not the case. Rural Spain once again falls behind, also in sustainable mobility.


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