Fastned calls on EU to support EV fleet uptake

European EV demand growth slowdown sounds warning for the charging industry

Fastned calls on EU to support EV fleet uptake
Fastned has over 300 operational public charging locations

Dutch CPO Fastned has called on the EU to support EV demand with a favourable incentive environment, as the effects of slowing vehicle sales growth and delays associated with the bloc's tender system trickle into the charging market.

While Fastned has seen strong year-on-year growth in its locations and revenue, signals of slowing EV penetration in the vehicle mix leads the CPO to characterise the charging market as "going through a transition phase", and to urge the EU to sustain a strong incentive environment for EVs as national subsidy programmes change.

"Whilst the EU Commission is drafting a proposal to accelerate the transition of companies' car fleets to EVs, governments are reassessing their approach to sustainable mobility, given its growing scale and maturity, and are moving from subsidy schemes in the initiation phase to norm-based incentive systems," Fastned says in its quarterly results statement.

The company adds that this incentive shift "causes some volatility in EV sales in the short-term", which may trigger some knock-on effects in the charging market. Indeed, with the upfront costs of procurement and construction of public charging contracts, CPOs like Fastned are sometimes forced to invest in expansion first and wait for the demand from the EV parc to catch up to their level of installed supply. Indeed, Fastned says it "continues outgrowing the EV fleet growth".

While it reported a year-on-year increase in charging sessions, Fastned's 1.2mn sessions hosted in Q1 is also down 8pc sequentially, likely losing out in the saturated European public charging market.

 "I believe that promoting regulations, incentives, and taxation is the only way for Europe to ensure a sustainable shift. This is why there is a lot at stake in the upcoming European elections," says Fastned CEO Michiel Langezaal.

The CPO also says that delays in large tenders throughout 2023 will slow down the pace at which it can build out its charging locations across 2024, and that local schemes aimed at supplementing last year's EU-wide Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (Afir) must make use of "open and competitive" tender systems for the EU to build out the necessary levels of charging infrastructure.

Fastned increased its revenue by 42pc year-on-year in the first quarter. It also dispensed 31.4GWh of energy, a 52pc increase over the same period last year.

During the quarter, Fastned secured 52 new high traffic locations, close to its total for all of 2023 of 59. Only eleven of these stations were opened in the quarter, however, with the rest being prepared for operation. Most of the stations, 37 in total, are in Germany, with five in Belgium, three in France, and the rest spread between Spain, the Netherlands, and Italy.

The firm now has 483 locations in its pipeline of locations under construction, and 307 operational.

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