The cross-border regions of Algarve (Portugal) and Andalusia (Spain) have been working on a network of electric vehicles for tourist areas along the coast of both countries, according to researchers at the universities of Huelva and the Algarve.
Designated as T2UES – Sustainable Electric Urban Tourism Transport, the project aims to “promote the electric transport industry powered by renewable energy sources” in the two regions, explained José Manuel Andújar, a researcher at the University of Huelva, in statements to Lusa news agency.
Co-financed by the Interreg VA Spain-Portugal (POCTEP) cross-border cooperation programme the T2UES project, in addition to boosting the technological development of a network of electric vehicles, has invested in smart and environmentally sustainable charging points to equip the tourist areas of Andalusia and the Algarve.
Started in January 2018, the cross-border initiative will run until the end of 2021, with a total investment of around 936 thousand euros, of which 702 thousand euros are guaranteed by Community funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Asked how many vehicles are expected to be made available in tourist areas on the Andalusian and Algarve coast, José Manuel Andújar said that it had not yet been defined, explaining that “the number of vehicles will depend on the specific needs of each area and the business models that develop as part of the exploration project”.
The electric vehicles “have nothing to do with the electric car concept that the automobile brands currently manufacture and sell,” José said. The T2UES vehicles are lightweight, very easy to use, do not require a driving license and are designed for short distances; from urban centres and hotels to the beaches.
From the University of Algarve, researcher Jânio Monteiro explained that T2UES project is a continuation of the GARVELAND project – an action plan for the promotion of electric mobility in areas of special tourist and environmental interest, in which an intelligent charging station was developed, “trying to use the maximum amount of energy that is generated from renewable sources and minimizing the consumption that comes from the electricity grid”.
“At this moment, we will try to use more of the solar potential, which is quite abundant, both in the Algarve region and in the Andalusian region”, he continued, noting that electric vehicles can also be powered by wind energy.
At the end of 2020, it is expected that the technical specifications of vehicles and charging stations will be ready, together with the characteristics of the software for the end user.