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Charging stations: less growth than electric cars in the EU Charging stations: less growth than electric cars in the EU

Charging stations: in the EU they are developing less than electric cars and this is not a good sign, despite massive public support

May 18, 2023 – 2:00 p.m.

In EU countries and UK public charging stations are developing less than electrified cars (+31% average annual growth from 2016 to 2022 against +50% for cars) and this is not a positive aspect, given that the European Commission recommends a ratio of 10 to 1 to ensure adequate charging service, a level that has yet to be achieved. These and other data are contained in the report “Competitive Analysis of Electric Vehicle Charging Market in EU27 + UK”, carried out by CRA’s Energy and Competition Practices on behalf of the European Commission, which relates in particular to public support for the electric mobility sector and how this has affected the growth of the market so far.


The rapid growth of electric vehicles is key to achieving climate neutrality goals. In this context, the dissemination of public charging infrastructures is considered fundamental. However, from 2022, the ratio between the number of electrified cars in circulation (BEV + PHEV) and the number of charging stations it’s not sufficient: as mentioned, the European Commission estimated the optimal ratio at 10 to 1, but now we are 11.3 to 1 (i.e. for every charging point there are 11.3 electric and plug-in cars, that’s too many). Compared to the 5,010,000 electrified vehicles in Europe + UK, public charging points are still around 442,000. And to think that in 2016, at the start of the survey, the ratio was 4.9 to 1 . But then electrified cars have increased by +50% on annual average and columns by only +31%. The tables below are quite explanatory (CAGR stands for Compound annual growth rate).


Beyond the different diffusion of electric mobility between the different EU + UK countries, it seems clear that we must take a decisive turn in the implementation of new public charging stations. And this is where comes the weight of state support for the construction of new infrastructure, today predominant, and the importance of also having a strong private contribution.

In this respect, the report written for the European Commission (download the full English version here) found, albeit with some differences, a decisive correlation between public support and rapid deployment of charging infrastructure for electrified vehicles. Indeed, countries with reduced diffusion of electric mobility are those that have received the least public support, while those with a high level of development have benefited substantial state contributions in terms of the availability and extent of funding. However, the correlation is not perfect as there are several exceptions of poorly supported countries that have reached a high level of development, and vice versa. The following table clarifies this very well.

Indeed, the EU report underlines that in the development of a particular market, in this case that of electric mobility, other factors may intervene such as the GDP per capita and the population density. That said, it is still not wrong to say that there is a sufficiently strong correlation between public support and the expansion of electric vehicles. Consider, for example, the PNRR funds, therefore of European origin, which Italy uses for the construction of thousands of columns on highways and in urban centers.


However, there is a flip side. Public support is likely to stifle private initiative in a market potentially as rich as that of charging infrastructure for electrified vehicles. In short, too much public funding can hamper any competition from private subjects, which would instead be extremely important for greater expansion (and to reduce costs). It is no coincidence that some markets with large state-funded players they have become more competitive thanks to the growth of private operators. However, according to the report, this is a problem that will resolve itself over time, almost naturally: today, electric mobility is still in its infancy, but over the years the increasing spread of battery-powered cars will require the installation of more and more public charging stations, open the industry to more competition.

Source : Sicur Auto


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