Create centers fast recharging of electric cars taking advantage of the energy of the railway network, either from the catenaries or from the electrical substations that give light to the trains. That is the essence of railway stations, term coined by the state body Adif to baptize this initiative that is advancing steadily and that is conceived to contribute to the deployment of the electric car recharging map, especially in areas where the conventional network does not reach or the cost of deployment makes it unfeasible.
In 2020, Adif launched its generic offer: a list with 400 locations that, a priori, determined that they were likely to host recharging points connected to the rail network. Now a
year later, National operators and foreign investors have pre-applied for 165 of these enclaves. Adif is studying the feasibility on a case-by-case basis. If the report is positive, it will remove bidding each of these points, so that those who have shown interest in them can bid and undertake the construction of the railway stations. Part of the electricity to be used is that generated by the trains when braking, the kinetic energy that they return to the catenaries.
What is still unknown is when these facilities will become a reality. “It is very difficult to talk about deadlines”, explains to ABC the Deputy Director of Strategic Innovation at Adif, José Conrado Martínez. This body is speeding up the work to the maximum, despite the limitations of Adif’s resources, because this ambitious extra project has been assumed by the same units that have to attend to the functions that are really inherent to this entity, the management of the railway infrastructures. Spanish. “We would love to be able to answer in three or four months the viability of the recharging points that have been requested by the operators and, in this way, start with the tenders”, says the Director of New Business Development at Adif, Dolores Alonso. That is the wish.
«In this project we are not motivated by the business, but rather to cover the gaps faced by the deployment of the electric car recharging network in Spain and, in this way, contribute to sustainable mobility and decarbonisation objectives ”, emphasizes Dolores Alonso.
The Spanish employers’ association of automobile manufacturers, Anfac, recognizes the strategic value of this effort in which Adif has embarked with its innovation and management departments. From Anfac they insist that it is urgent to promote the creation of a network of recharging points that really facilitate the use of electric cars in Spain and, at the moment, the railway stations may be an ideal formula for this, not only because of the number of new ones. recharging points but because of their geographical distribution, beyond the large urban centers.
«In order to meet the goals for the implementation of the electric car that Spain has set itself, by 2030 we should multiply the current number of recharging points by almost 30, and do so, in addition, guaranteeing capillarity to cover the national geography as much as possible, primarily the major highway axes “, he explains the director of the Industry and Environment area of Anfac, Arancha García.
Ferrolineras are an asset for this capillarity. An example: on the highway that connects Madrid with Zaragoza and Barcelona, the Adif project would allow the creation of intermediate recharging points in towns such as Medinaceli (Soria) or Alhama de Aragón (Zaragoza).
Félix Izquierdo, head of business development at Adif’s Operations Department, highlights that the railway station project is also a spearhead to bring the development of electromobility closer to rural areas, to depopulated Spain.
To the tail of Europe
According to the data collected by Anfac, in Spain there are currently 11,847 public charging points. To meet the expansion goals of the electric car “There should be 340,000”, indicates Arancha García. And with more power. Now 86% of the existing ones do not exceed 22 kilowatts (kW), which need a minimum of three hours to fully recharge a car. Of more than 250 kW, which recharge a car in ten or fifteen minutes, there are only 66 points in all of Spain.
The rail stations powered by Adif are also an added advantage, because all of them would be fast or ultra-fast recharging points. And, as Arancha García emphasizes, to make the electric car attractive, it is essential, among other factors, to have an extensive and fast recharging network, “that the time spent recharging the car is the closest thing to that of refueling a vehicle in the fuel station”.
Spain has to step on the accelerator to meet all those challenges, because it lags far behind. According to the quarterly electromobility barometer produced by Anfac, our country it is the penultimate in the European ranking, only ahead of the Czech Republic. Spain only gets 8.3 points out of 100 in this evaluation. The EU-14 average is 22.9 points. The ranking is led by Norway, the Netherlands, France and Germany.