Foundry on Wheels: Interview with Rui Vieira - GALP
1. In your opinion, what will be the drivers’ preferred locomotion source of the future? Electrical or internal combustion engine?
We have made it clear that the position of Galp, both now and in the coming years, is not focused on a specific technology but, more broadly, focused on meeting the energy and mobility needs of our customers. That is, to provide energy whatever the source of locomotion - electric, gasoline, diesel, LPG, natural gas or any other fuel that is not currently in the front line. We are customer focused so, considering the different needs of the various customer segments and profiles, we will do everything to give the best possible response with our station chain and with the various solutions that we offer.
2. Concerning infrastructures, to accompany this electric vehicles use growth, the country is prepared or is it still necessary to reinforce of the existing structures in terms of access points and global load?
Of course it will be necessary for the network to grow even because it is not uniformly distributed throughout the country. Some areas of the country already have significant coverage in relation to the maturity of this market. Of course, as the fleet of electric vehicles increases, the charging network will also have to keep pace with this growth. For now, and even comparing with what was done in other European countries, the work that is done in Portugal is very meritorious, we already have a network, in which Galp has been actively involved since the beginning, very interesting and I believe it will respond to the sector’s challenges.
3. Is there a risk of overloading the power grid in the future?
The risk exists but I think the network will eventually be prepared for the charging needs, and the price mechanisms themselves will help to define that demand. Of course, a price that is higher during the day and lower at night will transport consumption levels into the night, when the network is less used. All this will also contribute to network and investments rationality and I am sure that the regulator, the various entities involved and MOBI.E itself will not fail to analyse these issues carefully.
4. Galp has been working with supply side parties, i.e. car manufacturers, very close companies in Portugal, tier 1, tier 2, builders, and even with suppliers such as DriveNow and other parties involved, who come and bring us differentiated car-sharing solutions? Has Galp been working with these players or is it outside this game and is it more towards the final stage of the value chain, closer to the user side?
As a leading mobility company, we naturally follow the latest trends and this new mobility dynamic. We end up being very involved with the other mobility parties, whether they are manufacturers or emerging companies that offer new solutions to customers. We cannot and do not want to stop following all of this closely because there are different forms of relation and commercialization of energy depending on whether it is an end user or a company providing a service.
5. We will now have a session with Portuguese start-ups. Is it another ecosystem that you follow?
Clearly! This dynamic of start-ups is great and it is increasingly evident. Some will contact us directly for presentations, others will be appearing on our radar and we must value the high number of new ideas and business models that are emerging. Since many of these start-ups are energy-related to home, business and mobility, that is, areas where Galp stands, they are obviously on our radar.
6. Galp as the largest Portuguese company may be linked to some of them, may support some, either as a customer or an investor?
We are very attentive to all initiatives that add value to the activities we carry out and to the sectors in which we are present. Our primary focus is on our customers and on ways to improve how we meet their needs, and many of these improvements also come from interacting with other companies, regardless of their size. It is therefore natural that we end up developing a relationship of proximity with some of the start-ups that have emerged with increasing intensity in our outlook and that we seek, even, to enhance their work.
7. Do you think this is relevant, is it useful to continue this dialogue between the different visions of the future of the transport and mobility sector?
I think so, all these initiatives are extremely interesting. The sharing of experiences, not to mention the network that naturally appears in this type of events, but above all the sharing of experiences and knowing the developments and challenges of other companies, whether or not the same sector, is always an exercise of which draw relevant insights. No one can be sure how the future of transport and mobility will evolve so it is important to realize what supports the different perspectives in order to develop and deepen the various possible scenarios for this evolution.
8. Can we count on Galp in two years' time?
Certainly. It has been a pleasure to participate this year and we are always available for this interesting exchange of experiences and visions.