Car hire companies consider it important to include electric vehicles in their fleets as a strategic step towards the evolution of mobility of the future. Major international firms such as Hertz and Sixt have announced that they are to expand their purely electric vehicles, and Europcar says 20% of its fleet in Spain will be electric or hybrid this year. The National Federation of Vehicle Hire Companies (Feneval) estimates that 28% of car hire vehicles in the country in 2022 will be electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrids.
Customers seem to like the idea as well. Electric cars allow them to drive into city centres with no restrictions and facilitate entry to natural and protected environments, as well as reducing the impact of tourism. However, there is a problem. There are not enough charging points for this type of vehicle in mainland Spain.
The latest report from the Spanish Car and Lorry Manufacturer Association (Anfac) claims there are 245 charging points per one million inhabitants, and that includes private installations. Although two out of every three drivers say they would be prepared to pay more for to buy or rent cars if it meant less contamination, 38% have not done so because of the lack of anywhere to charge them.
Although the administrations claim to be keen to install more charging points, most of those available so far are in private buildings. The law states that any car park with more than 20 spaces will have to have at least one charging point, and one more for every 40 spaces, from January 2023. This will be especially relevant for tourist accommodation, because the visitors will have the reassurance that they will have the charging infrastructure they need during their stay.
“Hotels, restaurants and campsites which adapt to electromobility will gain a competitive advantage now, and they can take advantage of that in coming seasons. They would become known to tourists who opt for electric hire vehicles, so they would attract more clients and really stand out in the market,” said Henrik Bergman, regional director for Spain and Portugal at Charge Amps, a leading supplier of intelligent charging solutions for electric vehicles.
“Also,” he pointed out, "for tourist infrastructure outside towns, like amusement parks, monuments and natural areas, it is essential for there to be charging points to guarantee that visitors can travel there and back with no problems”.