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European carmakers call for more charging points

By Jonathan Powell in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-30 03:39
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An electric vehicle is plugged into an Iberdrola charging station in Malaga, Spain, on April 24. [Photo/Agencies]

Car manufacturers say the European Union needs eight times more charging points than estimated by 2030 to match the rapid growth of electric vehicle sales in the bloc.

There is a lag in the development of electric car-charging stations compared to the growing number of electric vehicles on the roads, said a report released on Monday by the main lobbying and standards group for the automobile industry in the EU.

The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, or ACEA, said sales of electric vehicles, or EVs, have increased at a rate three times faster than the installation of EV charging points across its 27 nations since 2017.

The ACEA said reaching 8.8 million charging points by 2030 would require the installation of 22,000 each week, which is eight times the current rate, while the European Commission estimates that only 3.5 million will be needed by the same year.

The report emphasizes that reliable EV infrastructure plays a crucial role in incentivizing increased electric car adoption, a critical step in meeting the EU's goal of attaining carbon neutrality by 2050.

The European Climate Law, which was passed in 2021, mandates member states to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, with the ultimate goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, which means net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

"We need mass-market adoption of electric cars in all EU countries to achieve Europe's ambitious CO2-reduction targets," Sigrid de Vries, director of the ACEA, said in a news release. "This will not happen without widespread availability of public charging infrastructure right across the region."

Slightly more than 150,000 public charging points were added throughout the EU last year, which averaged fewer than 3,000 installations per week and brought the total count to little more than 630,000.

"We are very concerned that infrastructure rollout has not kept pace with battery-electric car sales in recent years," warned de Vries. "What is more, this 'infrastructure gap' risks widening in the future – to a much greater extent than European Commission estimates.

"Easy access to public charging points is not 'nice to have', but an essential condition to decarbonize road transport, in addition to market support and a competitive manufacturing framework in Europe. Investments in public charging infrastructure must be urgently ramped up if we are to close the infrastructure gap and meet climate targets."

The ACEA highlights that while some countries are powering ahead when it comes to infrastructure rollout, the majority are lagging behind what is needed and it notes that just three EU countries covering around 20 percent of the EU's surface area – the Netherlands, France, and Germany – are home to almost two-thirds of all EU charging points. The other third of the bloc's charging points are distributed throughout the remaining 24 member states, which cover almost 80 percent of the region's surface area.

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