Electromobility: The situation of charging stations in Europe – Part 2
19. April 2022
It is true that public charging stations, which by law must allow ad hoc charging without contractual commitment, are “mushrooming”. But major regional differences and problems in Europe play an important role. They have to be addressed differently from country to country. However, it is already clear that we are heading toward a two-tier society in Europe when it comes to electromobility. The only thing is that this two-tier society will cause considerably more consequential problems, since significant economic concerns are involved in all transportation issues. One is the sheer number of charging stations. In the Netherlands, there has already been an almost uncatchable lead for several years. With 66,600 charging stations, the rather small country accounted for 30% of all European stations in 2020. Germany, which is almost five times as large in terms of population, has just 45,000 stations, behind France in third place. But what about Poland with 1,700 or the Czech Republic with 1,200 public charging stations? Not to mention Greece with 275 and Bulgaria with 194 places.
Then there are the differences in technical equipment. There are long hours of waiting between modern fast charging and private or outdated slow charging at less than 22 kW. While in the Eastern European countries the problem is currently the low number of electric cars and the resulting low demand, in the economically powerful countries such as Germany, the infrastructure in the metropolitan areas is not so good. Here, infrastructure means the limited opportunities to set up profitable charging stations that are not located on highways due to high land prices and few parking spaces. Another problem has not even been mentioned yet. That is the incredible diversification of providers, technologies and software conditions that still exist today in the operation, accessibility of charging stations and payment for charging. It’s reminiscent of the gold rush days, when there were literally millions of individual gold miners before the concentration on a manageable number of companies.