Call for one million public EV chargers in the EU by 2024

12 February 2021

12 February 2021

Carmakers, environmentalists and consumer groups have called for one million public electrically-chargeable vehicle (EV) points in the EU by 2024. By 2029, they want this number to triple to three million, with the addition of 1,000 hydrogen stations.

The collective letter to the EU climate, transport, industry and energy commissioners was signed by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), Transport and Environment (T&E) and the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC).

he organisations called for ambitious EV infrastructure targets to be set in each country as part of this year’s revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID). They argued that doing so would send a strong signal to consumers that charging points are keeping pace with the surging sales of EVs.

Fragmented and insufficient

Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) accounted for 10.5% of new-car registrations in the EU last year. ‘With transport CO2 emissions being the largest contributor, with the least progress to date, we must rapidly develop re-charging and hydrogen re-fuelling infrastructure,’ the letter states.

Setting these targets would also help grant certainty to the automotive industry, transport companies, as well as grid and infrastructure operators. Plus, it would create one million jobs across the continent, all while helping the EU reach its climate goals.

‘If we are serious about global warming, we need to go electric fast. To speed up the transition, we need ubiquitous and easy charging not just in Norway and the Netherlands but all across Europe,’ said William Todts, executive director at T&E. ‘EV charging targets per country are a great way to make that happen and the Commission should stop dragging its feet over this.’

Infrastructure threatens efforts

‘European automakers are driving the transition to e-mobility and are literally outperforming each other in launching new electric vehicles. But the success of this huge effort is seriously threatened by the delayed installation of charging infrastructure in the EU,’ said Oliver Zipse, ACEA president and CEO of BMW.

ACEA, T&E and BEUC all pointed to the European electric-charging and hydrogen-fuelling infrastructure as being ‘highly fragmented and insufficient.’ They stated that inadequate coverage is the result of lacking binding targets across member states, technical discrepancies, and divergent approaches on opening concessions. This, in turn, has led to barriers to investment, which undermine the connectivity of consumers, threatening the growth of the sector, which is a key contributor to the Green Deal and related economic ambitions.

‘The EU Commission quickly needs to take action and set binding targets for the ramp-up of charging infrastructure in the member states,’ Zipse said. ‘Otherwise, even the current reduction targets in fighting climate change are at risk. In addition to public charging infrastructure, we also need to put a stronger focus on workplace and home charging.’

Easy as petrol

The groups argued targets should be allocated to each country based on a ‘simple and fair methodology.’ This would account for factors like how much private charging is available. ‘The number of publicly accessible chargers should increase in line with the number of EVs on the road’ they said. ACEA, T&E and BEUC also called for fast and ultra-fast charger targets in urban areas to help EV drivers with little or no access to private charging, as well as electric taxis and ride-hailing services.

They also called on the European Commission to propose replacing the directive with a regulation. This would help harmonise re-charging standards, payment methods for consumers, tariff transparency, and maintenance, for example. ‘A regulation would also allow for swift implementation of the new targets while a directive would require their transposition into national law, which can take years,’ the letter read.

‘It must be as easy to charge an electric car as it is to fuel a petrol one,’ said Monique Goyens, director general at BEUC. ‘Having sufficient – and convenient – charging infrastructure is the highway towards consumer confidence and uptake of electric cars. Policymakers should therefore tackle practical concerns, such as displaying charging tariffs in price per kilowatt-hour and allowing commonly available payment methods.’