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Miércoles - 24.Mayo.2017

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Electrifying the transport on Ibiza and Formentera. Some conclusions drawn by my experience

Andrés Moreno



A few weeks ago it was reported that Formentera wanted to electrify the transportation of the island.
About the same time a forum on electric mobility at the Consell (Regional Government body) had a very interesting participation. It seems we are all interested on a cleaner island.

Here my conclusions drawn from my experience from using my electric bike on Ibiza and Formentera, the tabues and disadvantages that we will have to jump.

Lack of information.
Great public acceptance, but lack of accurate information about batteries and motors.
Anyone who has tried my electric bike was surprised and came with what we call "the electric smile". The initial impulse of the engine and ease of pedaling, especially going up hills, makes everyone talk beautiful things about the model.
Yet almost everyone believes that the batteries must be changed every two years and are very expensive. Not true. And most should do the right math.
The average cost per car is about 350 euros per month, that is, more than 4,000 euros per year in gasoline, insurance, taxes, fines and minor repairs.
With that money you can buy 10 batteries. All you need throughout the life of your electric bicycle.
Moreover, it is true that in two years of use, the batteries can lose up to 20% of capacity, or 20% of autonomy, which is not excessive. We really should change the batteries every four years, which comes out to about 100 euros per year.

If we add the cost to charge a battery completely, which is about 20 cents a day, totals 80 euros per year for some 6,000 kilometers, and leave us a total of about 200 euros annual cost.
Compare it to 4,000 euros to use a car.



Lack of charging points.
Gianandrea di Terlizzi reported on the new building of "electrolineras" that are planned. Absolutely necessary in my opinion. They can charge the battery of a car in just 10 minutes. Even an eternity with three minutes we need to fill the gas tank.

The idea of setting up some charging points on beaches or other places of great affluence is interesting only if its use is not massive. But if we want many people to use an electric vehicle, whether bike, motorcycle or car, these points seem to me insufficient.
Restaurants asking for a plug is also not the solution. They are so busy serving their customers that they have little time to "help" those who come to charge a battery.
That has happened to me many times on the island. And while some sites have let me charge the battery of my bike if I consum something, if the influx of people is high the restaurant in question will not have enough free outlets to meet demand.
There are several companies that mount electric recharging stations, but the problem is how and where to install them, or if the land is private or public, request authorizations necessary to Costas, Salinera, Ayuntamiento, Consell,  ....
It will not be easy and will take time until the necessary recharging infrastructure is implemented.
However the Consell is moving in the right direction.



More participation of businessmen of the island.
It is not a matter of losing money. But we must also invest in the long term.
I have visited almost all rental bikes on Formentera. None wanted to know nothing, or almost nothing about electric bikes or scooters.
It is not a rule, but I have seen some tourists suffer going uphill from La Savina to San Francisco with a bicycle that was doing a "Clack, clack, clack" in each pedal stroke. Do you think that tourist will speak well of your company or the experience on the island? Of course not. Give them an electric bike ... They will love it.
I understand to offer a service with electric bikes or scooters is different and needs reorganiyation, but ... why always try to offer the cheapest products? Bad policy. The cheaper vehicles may save a higher cost of initial investment, but certainly give many more problems because of the poor quality of its components, and give bad image and always need repairs.
But we can not blame the entrepreneurs. Without an adequate recharging infrastructure, however good the vehicle is, tourists can not return from a long journey of over 30-50 kilometers. Again the ghost of recharging appears.

However, without the participation of businessmen, tourism remains "gasoline oriented". How many more mopeds fit in Formentera? How many more rental cars on Ibiza? ...
Moreover, rental car / motorcycle companies give a necessary transport service, and may have to be help with grants to make the qualitative leap.

The indifference of the inhabitants of the island.
Let us be critical with ourselves. Many carry in our cars the sticker "No prospections in Ibiza coast" ... Man, we are a little hypocritical. Or it is that our car do not need gasoline?
We should carry a sticker that says "No prospecting in Ibiza coast, but please make them somewhere else because I need gasoline"
Most trips on the island are less than 30 kilometers a day. And most of these trips are to go from our house to the point of work, leave the car parked 8 hours and then go home ... Alone.
If we want to improve the island where we live we have to go looking for some solutions, make decisions.
I think a car is needed on the island. There are many points where the bus does not arrive, or arrives at odd hours, or we need to carry things or people. ... But still, many take the car to run errands that can be done on foot or by bike much more quickly, efficiently and cleanly.
Again, there are many electric vehicles to serve us on the market. And cheaper than you think. Everything statrs with the wish and a search in google, because the offer in Ibiza is very small. There are even electric bikes that can transport people or things up to 200 kilos.
But we have become accustomed to the car. A kind of vice.



I conclude.
I may receive many complaints to this article. Ok. The better. What I want is this movement of opinion. Without these, we can not know what is needed on the island, what companies and visitors need, or what are the neccesities of those who live here so that they start using vehicles that do not suck our vital air and return us poison.
We need more charging infrastructure, it will take some time, but the island will appreciate that vehicles are cleaner and quieter. Its users also will appreciate it, because the repairs are much lower. Electric cars for example havnot so many parts that can break (ie water pump, injectors, carburator, filters, clutch, etc ...)

In addition a car or electric scooter usually have more acceleration, are quiet, and very fun to drive.

An electric bike is a vehicle that takes us with little effort from door to door, no traffic jams, no parking search. Some tell me that I have a lot of patience. I think it's the other way around, patience for me is to be stuck into the heavy traffic everyday, waiting in traffic jams, finding a parking space or having to park far from where we want to go and have to walk a few blocks to do only a couple of errands.

If we want a cleaner Ibiza don´t leave the work alone to politicians. Start doing the change now.

Article by Klever Mobility

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