The Electric Future of Transportation



Silvia Caballero, Marketing & Commercial Manager for Shore Connection Solutions, Schneider Electric, Grenoble, France


Recently, nearly 200 nations adopted an historical climate agreement at the COP21 conference in Paris. The agreement aims to help the world abandon fossil fuels this century and move toward cleaner ecological sources of energy expeditiously.

A greener energy mix means an increase in the integration of decarbonised sources of energy in the contemporary age, which is directly linked to an increase in the use of electricity as the source of energy for more and more applications. In other words, switching coal-based or fuel-based applications such as heating, cooling or transport to power from renewable energy sources will lead to an increase in electricity consumption, an increase that will, ironically, mean a more efficient and sustainable use of energy. Therefore, proper KPIs need to be established to correctly measure and encourage the progress of this key transition in the world economy.


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This global electrification trend is directly impacting the maritime transportation despite the fact that this industry was excluded from the scope of the COP21 climate conference agreement. The future fuel for transportation is electricity, not only for road transportation, but also for the shipping industry. Initiatives are flourishing to promote and incentivise the switching over to electricity for vessels when docked, a reality today thanks to the current maturity of shore side electricity solutions and standardisation. While vessels are sailing, the technology is not yet available for the necessary batteries to have electricity as their only source of energy. However, a few limited pilot projects are progressing nicely on the use of battery-powered small ferries on short-distance lakes or fluvial itineraries in the North of Europe.
In summary, the electrification of maritime transport,

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