Accelerating Electric Recharging Infrastructure Deployment in Europe

The Platform for Electro-mobility, of which Bellona is a founding member, has today launched a new paper on ‘Accelerating Electric Recharging Infrastructure Deployment in Europe’. The Platform is an alliance of organisations from across industries and transport modes representing manufacturers, infrastructure managers, operators and users of all types of vehicles as well as cities, civil society and other stakeholders.

Having acted as chair of the Platform’s infrastructure working group, Bellona has brought together all of its 24 members in producing this well-timed paper: which comes as EU Member States are delivering national plans for their implementation of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (AFI) Directive and just two days prior to the release of the Commission’s Energy Union Winter Package.

Electro-mobility offers an unequalled solution to make Europe’s transport more efficient, less dependent on imported energy, low carbon, clean and quiet. Specifically, the electrification of surface transport will enable Member States to meet their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2030 and to address the public health crisis arising from urban air pollution. The construction of a private recharging infrastructure as well as an EU-wide interoperable public infrastructure, however, remains an important pre-condition for the wide-scale deployment of electro-mobility.

On a positive note, 2016 and 2017 are set to be decisive years for accelerating the roll-out of electric recharging infrastructure in light of this month’s deadline for the submission of EU Member States’ national plans for the implementation of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (AFI) Directive 2014/94/EU. The AFI Directive aims to address consumer anxieties by (i) facilitating the deployment of private recharging points, (ii) mandating the build-up of sufficient numbers of publicly accessible charging stations and (iii) setting EU-wide harmonised standards for charging connectors as well as for user information requirements.

While the AFI Directive’s objectives of harmonised technologies and common standards are key for the mass deployment of electro-mobility across Europe, it is important to keep in mind that the EV market is a fast moving environment where technological and business innovations are crucial and should be promoted.

To this end, the paper calls on EU countries to ensure a flexible implementation of the directive whereby the connector requirements mandated for normal- and high-power charging stations are seem as only minimal, and only applied to publicly accessible charging points.

Such a distinction between public and private infrastructure in the implementation of the directive would enable further technological innovation towards more advanced charging solutions, in particular “very high power charging” solutions. In fact the industry now expects that by 2020 a majority of new electric cars will be capable of accepting 150 kW or even possibly 350 kW charging i.e. much more than the 50 kW provided within the current standards on both passenger vehicles and charging equipment at present.

Ensuring a flexible yet coordinated approach to the implementation of the directive across Europe is crucial. The charging connectors mandated by the directive are already outdated, and we need to allow room for further technological innovation. This is key to rendering EVs a viable substitute to conventionally fueled vehicles” comments Teodora Serafimova, Policy Adviser at Bellona Europa, who has led the Electro-Mobility Platform’s infrastructure working group.

The paper provides comprehensive recommendations for the implementation of the AFI Directive in a number of key areas, namely (i) the deployment of normal- and high-power recharging infrastructure; (ii) intermodal electro-mobility synergies; (iii) shore side electricity; (iv) smart charging; (v) payment solutions; and (vi) appropriate parking schemes. These can be summarised into the following key recommendations:

  • A quick and appropriate rollout of normal- and high-power charging infrastructure, which addresses interoperability barriers while securing a competitive market conducive to innovation and technological advancement.
  • Facilitating the deployment of normal power charging points through simplified regulations and approval procedures.
  • Increasing Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funds for the construction of multi-standard, downward compatible 150 kW high power charging infrastructure linking urban nodes and Member States.
  • Accelerating the standardisation of the charging interface for electric buses as well as increasing EU funds for the construction of their recharging infrastructure.
  • Prioritising investments into recharging stations that foster multi-modal mobility and make use of existing electric infrastructure from public transport.
  • Putting in place appropriate parking schemes to ensure recharging points are optimally used and misuse prevented.
  • Stimulating smart charging to make EVs an asset to the electricity value chain through inclusion of appropriate measures in the context of the Energy Market Reform in 2016.
  • Ensuring customer-friendly finding, access and payment solutions for EV charging services on publicly accessible charging points across Europe.
  • Providing transparent information with regards to pricing, level of service, origin of electricity and the ability of consumers to easily choose/change between different charging services or providers.

The full paper can be accessed on the Platform’s website here.


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