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European charging network must increase 20-fold to meet CO2 targets, say carmakers

Europe’s electric charging network is failing to keep pace with the development needed to facilitate EV take-up by 2030 – putting compliance with “extremely ambitious” CO2 targets at risk.

The report says conservative estimates by the European Commission set out that at least 2.8 million charging points will be needed by 2030; a 20-fold increase

So say European carmakers as they renew their calls for increased charging infrastructure and incentives for alternatively fuelled cars, which they say are essential to meeting the 2025 and 2030 CO2 targets.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association’s (ACEA) 2019 progress report on ‘Making the transition to zero-emission mobility’, in 2018 there were fewer than 145,000 charging points available throughout the entire European Union. Although this is three times more than five years ago, it still falls far short of the at least 2.8 million charging points that will be required by 2030, which translates into a 20-fold increase in the next decade.

The report, which has been published ahead of a European Commission ‘mid-term review’ of the CO2 targets in 2023 and tracks progress on the availability of infrastructure and incentives, also says it’s not just the overall lack of infrastructure that poses a problem, it is also the huge imbalance in its distribution across the EU. According to the ACEA’s analysis, four countries covering roughly one quarter of the EU’s total surface area – the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK – account for more than 75% of all ECV charging points in the EU.

In addition, the report says there is a clear link between the market uptake of plug-in vehicles and the number of charging points per 100km of road: almost all EU countries with less than one charging point per 100km of road also have an plug-in vehicle market share of under 1%.

Instead, the report – published at the start of a new EU political term – sets out that much more work is needed, in particular from EU Member State governments, and says moving to zero-emission mobility requires a ‘360-degrees approach’.

Carlos Tavares, ACEA president and chairman of the Board of PSA Group, said: “From our side, we are offering an ever-growing choice of alternatively powered cars to our customers. In parallel, governments across the EU need to match the increasing pace at which we are launching these cars by dramatically stepping up investments in infrastructure.”

The report also says another major issue with plug-in vehicle take-up is affordability. The new ACEA data shows that the market uptake of plug-in vehicles is also directly correlated to a country’s standard of living. All EU member states with a plug-in vehicle market share that is less than 1% have a GDP per capita below €29,000 (around £25,800). That includes many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, but also Greece, Italy and Spain.

As such, the report also says governments have to put in place sustainable purchase incentives that are consistent across the EU.

“We need to safeguard people’s right to mobility, regardless of where they live or their financial means,” concluded Tavares. “Mobility must be clean, safe and affordable.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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