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Electric Mobility in Portugal: Current Situation and Forecasts for Fuel Cell Vehicles


In recent years, the growing concern for air quality has led to the development of sustainable vehicles to replace conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Currently, the most widespread technology in Europe and Portugal is that of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) or plug‐in HEV (PHEV) electric cars, but hydrogen‐based transport has also shown significant growth in the commercialization of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) and in the development of new infrastructural schemes. In the current panorama of EV, particular attention should be paid to hydrogen technology, i.e., FCEVs, which is potentially a valid alternative to BEVs and can also be hybrid (FCHEV) and plug‐in hybrid (FCPHEV). Several sources cited show a positive trend of hydrogen in the transport sector, identifying a growing trend in the expansion of hydrogen infrastructure, although at this time, it is still at an early stage of development. At the moment, the cost of building the infrastructure is still high, but on the basis of medium/long‐term scenarios it is clear that investments in hydrogen refueling stations will be profitable if the number of Fuel Cell vehicles increases. Conversely, the Fuel Cell vehicle market is hampered if there is no adequate infrastructure for hydrogen development. The opportunity to use Fuel Cells to store electrical energy is quite fascinating and bypasses some obstacles encountered with BEVs. The advantages are clear, since the charging times are reduced, compared to charging from an electric charging post, and the long‐distance voyage is made easier, as the autonomy is much larger, i.e., the psycho‐ sociological anxiety is avoided. Therefore, the first part of the paper provides an overview of the current state of electric mobility in Portugal and the strategies adopted by the country. This is necessary to have a clear vision of how a new technology is accepted by the population and develops on the territory, that is the propensity of citizens to technological change. Subsequently, using current data on EV development and comparing information from recent years, this work aims to investigate the future prospects of FCEVs in Portugal by adopting a dynamic model called SERA (Scenario Evaluation and Regionalization Analysis), with which it is possible to identify the Portuguese districts and cities where an FC charging infrastructure is expected to be most beneficial. From the results obtained, the districts of Lisbon, Porto and Aveiro seem to be the most interested in adopting FC technology. This analysis aims to ensure a measured view of the credible development of this market segment.

Funding source: This work was financially supported by the University of Palermo and Lisbon. The authors would like to acknowledge FCT through project UIDB/50019/2021–IDL.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Italy ; Portugal ; Turkey

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