ELMO: Estonia's innovative national quick-charging EV network
Audience: Large City
Topic: Clean fuels and vehicles
Step in the SUMP cycle: Step 10: Manage implementation
In 2011 Estonia launched an ambitious, nationwide e-mobility program to promote the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country. The program involved making available grants for citizens to buy EVs; awareness-raising campaigns; an EV car-sharing project; and providing EVs for public social workers.
The ELMO program was considered a crucial long-term instrument to encourage the wider adoption of EVs in the country. ELMO was officially launched in mid-summer 2011 and included three main parallel processes to develop locations; grid connections; and turnkey solutions for chargers and an IT system and service set-up. The ELMO network was officially opened in February 2015 and consists of 165 CHAdeMO-standard quick chargers. It was the first of its kind in the world. Charging points were distributed on all roads with dense traffic; in towns with over 5 000 people; next to frequently visited locations such as petrol stations, cafes, shops and banks; and ports servicing international and local travelers. The distance between each charging station was 40-60km.
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. 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.