The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is alerting EU policymakers to a twin problem with charging infrastructure for electric cars: not only is there a flagrant lack of chargers throughout the region, but very few of these can actually charge vehicles at an acceptable speed.

ACEA is sounding this alarm as national governments and the European Parliament are set to prepare their positions on the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) proposed by European Commission in July. The AFIR is a central component of Europe’s ‘Fit for 55’ climate package, which also includes new-car CO2 targets.

Out of some 225,000 public chargers currently available in the EU, only 25,000 are suitable for fast charging. In other words, a mere one in nine European charging points is a fast charger (with a capacity of more than 22kW). The remaining charging points (with a capacity of 22kW or less) include many common-or-garden, low-capacity power sockets.

Charging an electric car using one of these 200,000 low-tech power outlets can take as long as an entire night. By contrast, using a high-capacity fast charger can reduce this to less than an hour. Fast chargers, however, still only count for a fraction (11%) of Europe’s infrastructure network.

“To convince more citizens to go electric, we have to remove all the hassle associated with charging,” said ACEA Director General, Eric-Mark Huitema. “People need to see plenty of chargers in their daily environment, and these charging points must be quick and easy to use – without having to wait in long queues.”

“Charging should be as convenient and simple as refuelling is today. Unfortunately, the AFIR proposal is nowhere near ambitious enough to achieve this goal. What is more, it is totally misaligned with the proposed new CO2 targets for cars,” cautioned Mr Huitema.

ACEA is therefore urging the European Parliament and the Council to significantly strengthen the Commission’s proposal, in order to ensure that Europe can build a dense network of charging and refuelling infrastructure, including sufficient numbers of fast chargers in each EU member state by 2030.

Source: ACEA