Charging points: Growth not keeping pace with rising demand for electric vehicles, new data show

Brussels, 28 October 2020 – 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 today 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 under 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,” warned ACEA Director General, Eric-Mark Huitema.

Indeed, ACEA’s analysis reveals 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 over 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. “With Europe’s higher climate ambitions in mind, there is now an even greater urgency to upgrade the infrastructure requirements for all alternative vehicles,” Mr Huitema stressed.

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Notes for editors

About the EU automobile industry

  • 14.6 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), accounting for 6.7% of all EU jobs.
  • 11.5% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.7 million – are in the automotive sector.
  • Motor vehicles account for €440.4 billion in taxes in major European markets.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €74 billion for the EU.
  • The turnover generated by the auto industry represents over 7% of EU GDP.
  • Investing €60.9 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe's largest private contributor to innovation, accounting for 29% of total EU spending.

About ACEA

  • ACEA represents the 16 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, CNH Industrial, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • More information about ACEA can be found on www.acea.be or www.twitter.com/ACEA_eu.
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, [email protected], +32 485 88 66 47.