Norway and Netherlands show way on charging networks

Member states looking to comply with AFIR regulation can learn from existing deployments

Norway and Netherlands show way on charging networks
The AFIR regulation requires EU member states to deploy EV charging infrastructure

EU member states looking to comply with the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (Afir) can learn lessons from nations which have already widely deployed charging infrastructure, according to a panel at the International Mobility Portal summit.

AFIR requires that from 2025 onwards, fast recharging stations of at least 150kW must be installed every 60km along the EU’s main transport corridors, the so-called ‘trans-European transport (TEN-T) network’.

From the same date, recharging stations for heavy-duty vehicles with a minimum output of 350kW need to be deployed every 60km along the TEN-T core network, and every 100km on the larger TEN-T comprehensive network.

The rules also specifies that for each battery electric light-duty vehicle registered within a member state’s jurisdiction, publicly accessible recharging stations must supply a total power output of at least 1kW. 

Countries with minimal public charging infrastructure – such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia and Poland – face issues with deployment because of lack of funds for both EV incentives and also for charging infrastructure deployment.

“For countries from Eastern Europe it could be really challenging [to meet the AFIR goals],” says Krzysztof Burda, president at the Polish Chamber of Electromobility Development (PIRE).

However some nations — such as Norway and the Netherlands — have networks that are already compliant with Afir. 

Currently around 25pc of the 500,000 public recharging points in the EU are in the Netherlands.

"The Netherlands is very good example of planning ahead,” says Philippe Vangeel, secretary general at the European Association for Electromobility (Avere).

As well as putting in place tax incentives for EV charging point installation, the nation has simplified grid connection and permitting procedures.

Meanwhile Norway has a fully viable commercial market for EV charging without any incentives. 

“We had a small scale subsidy programme finished by 2017. Most fast chargers after that have been built by private companies at their own risk,” says Sveinung Andre Kvalo, senior advisor at the Norwegian EV Association. “What we can learn is that this is doable. The pace of new chargers is now higher than ever without subsidy.”

A key factor has been Norway’s high rate of EV adoption. EVs account for more than 20pc of passenger vehicles in the country and more than 80pc of new vehicles sold.

The nation has had a number of incentives for EV purchases which have now largely been phased out as a subsidy-free market has developed. But there are lessons to be learned beyond just encouraging EV adoption and charger rollout, according to a report from consultancy McKinsey on Norway’s rollout.

“As Norway’s experience shows, selecting the appropriate charging point management system (CPMS), backend software, operating model (make versus buy), and hardware can be critical because they directly affect customer satisfaction,” it says.
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The report goes on to note that electricity prices can be an issue for consumers. 

“A sound power procurement, trading, and hedging strategy working in tandem with rigorous on-site energy management are central to optimising power costs,” it adds.

The panel also noted that connecting DC fast charging stations can take two years — too long if Afir targets are to be met. But it is possible to improve these timelines by co-ordinating planning and permitting process at a regulatory level.

“Stockholm is the poster child. They are aiming for a 6-8 months timeline to install DC fast chargers,” says Evan Costagliola, senior principal at charging firm Cityfi.

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