Monday, July 18, 2016

Looking For EV's - Spain (Barcelona)

Toyota Prius taxis are everywhere...

The first thing that struck me when I arrived at the Airport was the large amount of Toyota Prius taxis, I know they are not plug-ins and they shouldn’t be on this post, but it was hard to escape the fact that some 25% of all taxis were Priuses (Prii? What’s the name for a group of Prius?), with this model representing an even larger percentage of taxis in the Old Town.

I knew the Toyota Prius was a popular choice for taxi fleets in Spain, but in Barcelona they have a high point, and it’s not only taxis, the Police also uses them.

 Third Generation (The one above) represent the largest part of them, but there’s also some Second Generation units running around, as well as the seven seater Prius + / V.
First and Fourth Generations are a rarity, I saw one of each but both were from private owners.

Moving on to actual EV’s, the most visible were fleet units, as with the City-owned Piaggio EV’s, working as garbage trucks in the narrow Ramblas of the Old Town…

Piaggio EV mini-garbage trucks

 …Or the rental Renault Twizzies, which are one of the best ways to know the town, not only they feel at ease in the (many times) clogged streets of Barcelona, but they are also a blast to drive, especially once you incorporate the vacations-mode and let yourself go from every day rational thinking, as this is probably one of the most suited vehicles to use during the always short summer vacations periods.

33ºC, sun & beaches nearby: The ideal place for a Twizy 

Back to more mainstream EV’s, there weren’t that many zooming around, I counted one Renault Zoe, one BMW i3 and two Nissan Leaf’s, one of them being a taxi.

These days spent here helped me to understand why the Spanish EV Market has such high share of LCV’s and fleet deals, it seems that private buyers are still unaware / reluctant to jump into the EV Bandwagon, whereas fleet buyers, both public and private, are more open to it, not only on light vehicles, but also regarding buses, as an important percentage of them were either hybrid or running on Natural Gas.

A final note for a Solar Hybrid Catamaran boat that makes small cruise trips along the Barcelona Coast, the lack of engine noise during the trip makes the whole experience much more pleasant and inviting, making me wonder if the next step for transport electrification won’t happen in boats…

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