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1 million new chargers in 5 years? The new European Commission’s e-mobility agenda

image credit: Copyright: GreenWay Infrastructure

From CO2 emission standards to energy directives, batteries, and financing of charging infrastructure, Brussels plays an out sized role in the development of e-mobility and a cleaner energy future in Europe. With the new European Commission president and a new college of commissioners, the new commission is officially all set to begin their work. What can we expect from the new commission in regards to electric mobility, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and push towards electrification in Europe?  We head to Brussels & talk about the European Green Deal and the Recharge EU program promising 1 million chargers in EU by 2025 with our plugged in purveyor of all things Brussels and e-mobility, Julia Poliscanova from Transport & Environment, for part 1 of our miniseries. 



Julia Bircakova's picture

Thank Julia for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 3, 2019 1:54 pm GMT

Love this-- please keep sharing your mini-series with Energy Central!

When it comes to goals like this-- 1 million chargers-- my biggest hope is that those in charge are taking them seriously and follow through. Big numbers and lofty goals in the energy industry are common, especially pushed by politicians, but when the goals' timelines stretch out further than a leader's term, it becomes easy to pass the buck, lose accountability, etc. These type of goals, to be achieved, require many years of commitment, collaboration, and work. It sounds like you think there's a good chance this one lives up, Julia?

Julia Bircakova's picture
Julia Bircakova on Dec 5, 2019 8:58 am GMT

Thanks Matt, surely we will😊

At the level of the European union, there’s a strong consensus on the need for investment in so called alternative fuels infrastructure (and quite a few laws on the books already ordering it to be done). The EC has a 5 year term so that is a fair amount of time right there, and is building on the work of the previous commission, which invested a many tens of millions just into EV charging networks already. And, now with the European Investment Bank becoming a “climate bank” there is that much more inter-institutional support & financing to make these goals a reality. This, coupled with the political dynamic on the ground now, Fridays for the Future, the EU Green Deal being a top priority item, yes, I’m optimisic about the direction and priorities of the new commission in this regard. Plus, there will be so many more EVs available on the market soon that market pressures will also cause them to act.

Sadly, this is not nearly enough to wean us off of fossil fuels, even in transport, but it’ll be another big step in the right direction.


Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 3, 2019 4:55 pm GMT

Julia, I'm curious whether founders/employers at Greenway drive electric vehicles themselves.

I've owned three electric cars here in über-mobile Los Angeles, and have been involved in the local EV community since 2006. In my experience, and the experience of other local EV drivers, public charging is seldom used, and becomes used less and less per EV-km driven.

Why? Though it may seem anti-intuitive to those who haven't experienced EV driving, it's easier, and cheaper, to charge an electric vehicle at home overnight. Though years ago range was severely limited after an overnight charge, economical Li-Ion batteries are taking a new generation of EV drivers 260 km or farther. With an average of 50 km driven each in the U.S. it's rare when range is an issue here, and I would think even less in the EU.

There will always be a place for economical public charging at shopping malls and termini of public transportation - train stations, bus stations, and airports. But the uncertainty of whether a charging station will be available/functional when one arrives does nothing to dispel the "range anxiety" which once haunted EV drivers.

Talk to some local EV drivers about their charging habits. You may discover one million additional public charging stations would likely be both unnecessary and unprofitable in 2025.

Julia Bircakova's picture
Julia Bircakova on Dec 5, 2019 8:58 am GMT

Hi Bob. One of the biggest differences we see between Europe and LA is how many more people ( ( would guess) live in apartment buildings here, vs. single family houses, and therefore do not have their own designated parking place even, much less a place to put their own charging station. This makes public – or publicly available – charging that much more important for most people. Now, that publicly available charging can be in a parking lot, at a rest stop on a highway, or in a shopping mall (free, public, limited access, paid, etc) but its important to have here. By the way, wherever possible we advocate home & workplace charging too but again, for many that’s not yet a reality. As to range anxiety, while it’s still one of the top things people ask about, with the new vehicles coming to market with a few hundred km of range / charge, I’m hopeful that we can dispel that concern more easily. Public charging is really designed to break the gridlock of the “chicken and egg” problem, what comes first the chargers or the EVs, and my feeling is that you need the chargers to ne there to make most people feel comfortable to get an EV in the first place, whether they can do most of their charging at home or not.

And yes, both founders, and all the execs of GW own and drive EVs, or at least PHEVs, and our company fleet is completely EV so that the rest of us all drive electric at least to our work trips.

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