‘Setting up the nationwide infrastructure is a very complex program and needs the alignment of different sub-projects, such as acquiring locations, and developing technical solutions and service. Each and every one of them was a challenge,’ said Jarmo Tuisk, E-mobility director at NOW! Innovations.
As a part of ELMO, an analysis and guideline document was prepared for the program to establish the overall background, vision and strategy for the project. Tuisk said that choosing partners with the right skills and knowledge, and who are willing to co-operate, were keys to success. ‘Of course,’ he adds, ‘excellent project management is also important.’ As, it also appears, is a bit of give-and-take: decisions about where to put the chargers were a compromise between analytics (road-usage) and whether locations met the eligibility criteria and were available.
As the Estonian network was developed in very short space of time - within two years - it forced some shortcuts in the implementation process. For example, choosing a single operator/service-provider model may be problematic in the future as it can turn out to be difficult for other investors to compete with the quite ubiquitous service offers. In the future, the government has to make a decision if and how to open the network for other service providers and/or investors.
Tuisk added: ‘The growth in popularity of the public quick-charging network demonstrates that there is a clear need for accessible, easy-to-use EV infrastructure. It also shows that quick-charging is not only meant for highway charging, but also to solve charging problems within urban areas as majority of chargers are located within cities.’