A new report by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) shows an alarming gap between the current availability of public charging points for electric cars in the EU and what is needed in reality to meet CO2 reduction targets.

The ACEA report shows that sales of electric cars in the EU grew three times faster than the installation of charging points between 2017 and 2023. According to industry estimates, eight times more charging points will be needed in the EU every year until 2030.

"We need broad acceptance of electric cars in all EU countries in order to achieve Europe's ambitious CO2 reduction targets.This will not succeed without the widespread availability of public charging infrastructure."

Sigrid de Vries - Director General ACEA

Development of charging points in Europe (source: ACEA)

Development of charging points in Europe (source: ACEA)

Last year, just over 150,000 public charging points were installed across the EU (an average of less than 3,000 per week), bringing the total number to over 630,000.

According to the European Commission, 3.5 million charging points should be installed by 2030. To reach this target, around 410,000 public charging points per year (or almost 8,000 per week) would need to be installed - almost three times the current annual installation rate.

However, the ACEA estimates that 8.8 million charging points will be needed by 2030. To achieve this, 1.2 million charge points per year (or over 22,000 per week) would need to be installed - eight times the current annual installation rate.

"We are very concerned that the expansion of infrastructure has not kept pace with the sales of battery electric vehicles in recent years. Moreover, there is arisk that this 'infrastructure gap' will widen in the future - and to a much greater extent than estimated by the European Commission."

Sigrid de Vries - Director General ACEA

Easy access to public charging points is not a "nice to have", but an essential prerequisite for the decarbonisation of road transport, in addition to market support and a competitive production framework in Europe. Investment in public charging infrastructure must be urgently increased if we want to close the infrastructure gap and achieve the climate targets," warned de Vries.

There is a significant difference between the Commission's and ACEA's estimates of the number of charging points required by 2030, which can be attributed to several factors:

The Commission underestimates the number of vehicles on EU roads that will need a charging point by 2030. Its estimate is 30 million, while Strategy& and Fraunhofer ISI assume 65 million, which was used in the ACEA calculations. The ACEA figures include battery electric vans, which are primarily charged using the same infrastructure as cars, as well as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, while the Commission only counts battery electric cars.

The Commission assumes a significantly lower energy consumption of the vehicles compared to the latest figures from the field (14.8 kWh/100 km for battery electric vehicles (BEV) and 19.2 kWh/100 km for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), compared to 20 kWh/100 km for BEV and PHEV according to ACEA); and the European Commission recognises that the requirements of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) are the minimum necessary and will not be sufficient to meet the CO2 targets for cars and vans.