BellonaBrief: Attaining an interoperable EV recharging infrastructure in Europe

Authors: Teodora Serafimova

Publisher: Bellona Europa

The past year has been important in terms of putting the transport sector in the spotlight, by unmasking the commonplace nature of car makers’ fraudulent emission testing practices and by bringing an increasing number of actors in agreement over the need to transition to electric transport[1].

2016 looks promising for building on this momentum, with a number of upcoming opportunities to highlight and accelerate the wider uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).

In the second quarter of 2016, for instance, the European Commission is expected to present a proposal for a post-2020 Effort Sharing Decision (ESD), which will be accompanied by a Communication on the Decarbonisation of Transport. Furthermore, 2016 will be a decisive year in terms of EU Member States’ preparatory process for the implementation of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (AFI) directive. In fact, by November 2016, Member States will have to have submitted their so-called National Policy Frameworks (NPFs), outlining how they aim to go about the directive’s transposition.

In this brief, Bellona urges EU Member States to consider in their NPFs:

  1. Ensure an open and timely implementation of the AFI directive, with a clear distinction between public and private infrastructure;
  2. Equip or retrofit new buildings and parking lots with EV charging facilities to accommodate predominance of standard charging at home or at the workplace;
  3. Incentivise EV smart charging to provide flexibility services to the electricity system while cutting consumers’ electricity bills;
  4. Establish fast-charging points where demand is highest, along major European transport corridors in order to enable seamless inter-city travel;
  5. Allow for the co-existence of a number of different fast-charging standards so as to allow for a natural market selection to take place, thereby encouraging further technological innovation;
  6. The establishment of public fast charging points in cities should prioritise connections to electric infrastructure already in place for public (and private) transportation, thus enhancing inter-modality and reducing infrastructure cost;
  7. Subscription-based payment solutions may be necessary initially to foster the business case for investment-intensive fast-charging infrastructure by securing a stable income to operators via customer subscription;
  8. Pay-as-you-go solutions should be made available at public charging infrastructure, and proprietary subscription-based payment requirements avoided;
  9. EV charging services need to be affordable, reasonable and proportionately priced compared to the overall cost level in each Member State;
  10. Allow for electricity roaming, thereby making it possible to easily change preferred energy supplier; incentivising suppliers to provide high quality services;
  11. Put in place intelligent parking schemes to ensure that existing charging stations are optimally used and misuse prevented, e.g. use time-based tariffs or fiscal incentives to stimulate correct parking behaviour.

[1] Paris Declaration on Electro-mobility and Climate Change and Call to Action (December 2015),

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