At LIVE, we have set our sights on company fleets of vehicles, in both the public and private sectors, since they account for a large part of the traffic in our cities and this is one of the markets where vehicles powered by electricity and natural gas have made good inroads. Today, several companies and other bodies now include electric vehicles in their fleets, although one particularly noteworthy example is Aigües de Barcelona, since almost all its fleet of vehicles on the roads in Barcelona are fully electric.
Last October, Aigües de Barcelona’s fleet of 240 vehicles was singled out to receive an Environmental Quality Distinction from Catalonia Regional Government, awarded in recognition of initiatives that surpass the environmental requirements laid down in current legislation. “Aigües de Barcelona decided to opt for a fleet of electric vehicles out of a sense of corporate social responsibility, to collaborate in the concept of a circular economy and, in short, as part of its philosophy of sustainable development, a key aspect of Aigües de Barcelona’s strategy in the form of the Aigües 2020 Plan,” explained Bernat Rovira, head of company operations in northern Barcelona.
Aigües de Barcelona embarked on this initiative in 2011, with the purchase of two fully electric vehicles. Two years later, they were joined by another two vehicles and, in 2014, seven more were purchased. Between 2015 and 2016, the company added 74 new electric vehicles to its fleet, leading in late 2016 to 87 electric vehicles in operation in Barcelona out of a total fleet of 240 vehicles.
The final outcome is that Aigües de Barcelona, a collaborating member of LIVE, has the biggest electric fleet in Catalonia, with 132 vehicles in total, all its electrifiable models. These electric cars work with non-pollutant green energy. That is, they do not release any pollutant emissions. Bernat Rovira summed up the current situation of Aigües de Barcelona’s fleet of vehicles: “We closed 2017 with electric vehicles in our fleet for all models currently available in an electric version. Aigües de Barcelona has a total fleet of 240 vehicles. We continue to work toward eliminating fossil fuels from our vehicles, paying close attention to new innovations in the electric vehicle market: a sector that has evolved in leaps and bounds in recent years.”
More and more companies are becoming aware of the current situation in Barcelona. Today, traffic is the biggest contributor to atmospheric pollution. Due to the waves of pollution that affect the city of Barcelona from time to time, Barcelona City Council has introduced an urban mobility plan, the Plan de movilidad urbana 2013-2018, one of the aims of which is to reduce the presence of fuel-driven private cars by 21%.
It is important to raise society’s awareness of the problem, and companies must take the initiative and lead the way. In this respect, LIVE is working on the development of a project to foster the introduction of electric vehicles to private companies, aimed at facilitating and offering incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles by companies with fleets in Catalonia. Aigües de Barcelona will head the project by offering its experience as a success story and model for other companies to follow.
As for the benefits, sustainable means of transport have a positive impact on both the environment and our health. Although the environmental benefits are widely known, there are also social benefits. Setting one’s sights on sustainability does not just mean reducing atmospheric pollution. It is also a way of building the city of the future and benefitting all social groups. By making the move to electric vehicles, Aigües de Barcelona has reduced its CO2 emissions by 105 tons a year. “Moving away from fossil fuels in a region with high levels of atmospheric pollution is a priority. We offer a public service locally in Greater Barcelona, with each vehicle doing an average of 30 to 40 km each day. A joint sense of responsibility is needed,” explained Bernat Rovira.
As for the results, they speak for themselves. The company’s former 87 diesel-fuelled vehicles consumed 37,845 litres of diesel per year at a cost of €41,360. To calculate the net financial savings, we must subtract the electricity consumed by the replacement vehicles: some 20 kWh per 100kms, which represents 126,150 kWh per year at a rate of €0.12/kWh, leading to yearly electricity consumption of €15,138. Consequently, net financial fuel savings of €26,492 are made per year, savings of 64%, a figure not to be laughed at!
In parallel with this initiative, Aigües de Barcelona is engaged in another one with CitySensia, an interactive information system that provides citizens with data on the quality of the environment. This uses Aigües de Barcelona’s vehicles to monitor environmental quality parameters in real time, via sensors fitted on the cars. With these sensors, data is gathered and processed and analysed using big data systems. Thanks to this tool, it is possible to identify more sensitive areas of the city and to analyse trends in pollution.
The advantages are clear: the reduction of CO2 emissions, promotion of energy efficiency and improvement of the quality of life. All these initiatives by Aigües de Barcelona demonstrate its commitment to clean energy and sustainable development.