Progress and Challenges of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Europe

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Europe has made significant progress in developing its electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, but there is still a long way to go before EV charging infrastructure is ubiquitous throughout the continent. Here are some highlights of the progress and challenges of Europe's EV charging infrastructure: 

EV Charging Points in Europe: A 54% Increase in 2022

According to the latest data from the European Alternative Fuel Observatory (EAFO), there were over 479,000 public charging points in the European Union (EU) in 2022, a 54% increase from the previous year. Majority of these charging points are AC chargers with a maximum of 22 kW power. DC chargers make up around 12% of the overall public charging points but it saw a tremendous 90% increase in number, growing from around 30,000 in 2021 to 57,000 in 2022. 

Europe to follow China’s ambitious deployment progress

China is currently leading the way in terms of EV charging infrastructure, with over 1.2 million chargers installed in 2021. In contrast, Europe had less than half of that number in 2022. However, the EV charging infrastructure market in Europe is booming at a rate that surpasses China's. The European Parliament has agreed on a set of regulations to increase the power level of public charging, stimulate fast charging deployment, and enable swift deployment of electric charging infrastructure for heavy-duty vehicles.  

The Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Masterplan, created by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), proposes an ambitious deployment goal for the European Union. It suggests that by 2030, a total of 6.8 million public chargers should be installed for passenger cars, along with 0.7 million for LCVs, and 0.1 million for trucks and buses. This is necessary to support an estimated 42.8 million EVs (BEVs and PHEVs), 4.4 million electric LCVs, and 0.3 million electric trucks and buses that are expected to be on the road by the end of 2030. 

Uneven Distribution of EV Charging Infrastructure 

ACEA's June 2022 findings reveal an uneven distribution of public EV charging points across the EU, with half of the infrastructure located in just the Netherlands and Germany, leaving the remaining 90% of the EU's land mass to share the remaining 51.2%. While the situation has improved slightly, the issue of disparity persists, particularly between western and eastern Europe. The top 5 countries with the best infrastructure are Norway, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Austria. Twelve countries in the eastern and southern parts of Europe show delayed e-mobility progress. The unequal distribution of EV infrastructure correlates with a discrepancy in the adoption of EVs between affluent and less affluent European countries. Four wealthy western European nations, namely Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, accounted for nearly 75% of electric car sales in the EU.  

The Importance of Residential and Workplace Charging  

Access to residential and workplace charging are becoming increasingly important. In Europe, residential charging accounts for 70% of EV charging. Charging mostly taking place between 12 pm and 8 am. However, providing charging solutions for residents living in apartment buildings, which represent 46% of EU inhabitants, can be challenging. The ongoing revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) presents an opportunity to address this issue.  

Workplace charging is critical for those without access to home charging, but it constitutes less than half of the total residential charging units. Around 75% of workplace charging sessions happen between 8 am and 4 pm, with the remaining 25% happening between 4 pm and 12 am. 

Rika Melissa
Data Journalist, Statzon

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