Sufficient publicly accessible charging infrastructure is a key enabler for the accelerated uptake of electric cars. This briefing by the Platform for Electro-Mobility analyses the current and planned future roll-out of EV charging infrastructure in European Member States, based governments’ plans (National Policy Frameworks) submitted to the European Commission as part of the implementation of the EU Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive.
The aspirations of the Member States to support alternative fuels varies greatly – but 10 Member States (Austria, Denmark, France, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, and Luxembourg) clearly prioritise electro-mobility, on the basis of their National Policy Frameworks. Only 3 countries (Italy, Hungary and Czech Republic) have ambitious goals for the roll-out of natural gas vehicles. Three countries have proposed unrealistically high estimates for future number of EVs on the road by 2020 (Germany, France, Austria) given there are only 36 months of sales and are unlikely to achieve their goals.
The national plans show that the current level of recharging points available in the EU is sufficient for the number of vehicles on the road – based upon the European Commission recommendation of 10 EVs per 1 recharging point. National plans for the roll-out of public charging infrastructure by 2020 EU-wide are also expected to keep pace with the anticipated growth in the number of vehicles. There will also be sufficient fast chargers alongside the principal highway routes with at least one fast charger every 40km. Accordingly, there is not likely to be any widespread shortage of recharging points if Member States deliver on their plans – although there may be local areas of over and under supply. After 2020 there will need to be a significant further investment, beyond existing plans, to match the number of EVs expected to be on the road. Some further EU funding will be essential particularly in less developed markets.
The national plans indicate that the development of a market for EVs in the EU is likely to occur in three distinct waves. Take-up in Western Europe and Nordic countries will happen first and has already begun; South Mediterranean countries are likely to transition to electricity in a second deployment stage with sales picking up appreciably in the mid-2020’s. The Baltics, Central and Eastern European countries are more likely to switch to electric cars in significant numbers until the late 2020’s or early 2030’s – although there could be an earlier second hand market.
Member States need to ensure that they deliver on their national plan commitments for charging infrastructure; and several countries (notably Austria and Germany) will need to strengthen fiscal and other incentives to encourage sales to meet their 2020 EV sales targets. There is no time for complacency if the EU wants to become a world leader in zero-emission technologies.
Bellona is a founding member of the Platform for Electro-Mobility, which unites 31 organisations from across civil society, industries, and transport modes in their commitment to accelerate electro-mobility uptake across Europe.