ACEA report finds growth of charging points not keeping pace with rising demand for electric vehicles in Europe
A new report by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) shows that despite strong growth, the available charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in the EU still falls far below what is needed, and remains unevenly distributed across member states.
ACEA published the second edition of Making the Transition to Zero-Emission Mobility, an annual study which tracks progress on the availability of the infrastructure and incentives which are necessary to foster market uptake of alternatively-powered vehicles.
This new report shows that sales of electrically-chargeable cars in the EU increased by 110% over the past three years. During the same period however, the number of charging points grew by just 58% (to less than 200,000)—demonstrating that investment in infrastructure is not keeping pace with increased sales of electric vehicles.
This is potentially very dangerous, as we could soon reach a point where growth of electric vehicle uptake stalls if consumers conclude there are simply not enough charging points where they need to travel, or that they have to queue too long for a fast charger.—ACEA Director General, Eric-Mark Huitema
ACEA’s analysis found that just 1 in 7 charging points in the EU is a fast charger at the moment. Only 28,586 charging points are suitable for fast charging (with a capacity of ≥22kW), while normal points (<22kW) account for the vast majority (171,239). Many of the so-called ‘normal’ charging points that are included in EU statistics are common-or-garden, low-capacity power sockets that are not suitable for charging vehicles at an acceptable speed, such as ordinary power outlets in garages.
Another key finding of ACEA’s report is that the existing infrastructure remains highly unevenly distributed throughout the EU. Four countries covering 27% of the region’s total surface area—the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK—account for more than 75% of all electric charging points. The country with the most infrastructure, the Netherlands, has more than 1,000 times more charging points than the country with the least infrastructure (Cyprus, with 38 charging points).
ACEA has been calling on the European Commission to fast-track the review of the EU Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive as part of its COVID recovery plan, including clear and binding deployment targets for all member states.
Other findings of the report include:
3.0% of all cars sold in Europe in 2019 were electrically-chargeable (+2.4 percentage points since 2014).
5.9% of new cars in the EU were hybrid electric last year (+4.5 percentage points over six years).
0.5% of all cars sold in 2019 were natural gas-powered (-0.3 percentage points since 2014).
Fuel cell vehicles currently account for a small share (0.04%) of total EU car sales.
2.8% of new van sales were alternatively-powered last year.
1.2% of all vans sold in 2019 were electrically-chargeable (+0.7 percentage points over six years), and 0.2% were hybrid electric.
The market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs) is directly correlated to a country’s GDP per capita, showing that affordability is a major barrier to consumers. All countries with an ECV market share of less than 1% have a GDP below €30,000, including EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe, but also Italy and Greece. More than 80% of all electric cars are sold in just 6 EU countries, with some of the highest GDPs.