Navigating Europe's EV Charging Expansion

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Europe EV Charging Station Market

Europe is currently ranked second to China in terms of e-mobility. However, China's statistics far exceed those of Europe and any other region in the world. In 2022, China had already installed more than 1.7 million EV charger points, whereas Europe couldn't even reach half of that number. The market for EV charging stations reached USD 9.8 billion in China, in 2022. In Europe electric vehicle charging station market was valued at USD 4.1 billion for the same year. 

Despite trailing behind, Europe's EV charging sector is growing at a faster pace, albeit with a slowdown in recent years. AC charger installations saw a 46% growth in 2022, a decrease from the previous year's 76%, and further slowed to 37% in 2023. For DC chargers, there was a 90% growth in 2022, slightly reduced to 84% in 2023. 

Chart EU27 YoY Growth of Public Charging Points (2021-2023)Source: European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO)

There are things that China did a lot earlier than others to make EVs and EV charging infrastructure ubiquitous in the country. The Chinese government began subsidizing electric car sales in 2010 and also enforced a standard plug for EV charging, which led to the high adoption of EVs. Europe has recently drafted some ambitious targets for EVs to align with its “Fit 55 Package”, the EU’s initiative to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). Emissions from the transport sector have been rising since the 1990s, accounting for nearly 20% of total EU GHG emissions.  

The European Parliament aimed high in October 2022 by voting for a regulation on the alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR) to ensure a smooth transition to renewable zero-carbon fuel. The regulation highlights the need to increase the power level of public charging, stimulate fast charging deployment, and enable swift deployment of electric charging infrastructure for heavy-duty vehicles.  

Free EV charging market data

Where Do People Charge Their Electric Cars? 

Residential charging 

In Europe, 70% of EV charging occurs at home or at work, where charging outlets have lower power output and longer charging durations, resulting in lower costs. This makes charging at home and at work the most economical option for EV customers. However, providing charging solutions for residents living in apartment buildings, which represent 46% of EU inhabitants, can be challenging, as reported in ChargeUp Europe's State of the Industry 2022 publication. The main obstacle is the shared parking garages, which receive electricity from the common area meter, making it difficult to install personal EV chargers. In addition, local regulations often prohibit direct connections between charging stations in parking garages and corresponding flats. The ongoing revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) presents an opportunity to address this issue. 

Almost 80% of residential EV chargers in Europe (90% if we include Benelux) were sold in DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and France, corresponding with the existing distribution of EVs in these countries.  

Residential EV chargers are AC chargers with charging power between 7.4 and 22 kW. Each charging point receives more than four charging sessions per week, totaling an average of 100 kWh/week. More than 95% of home charging sessions take place between 12 PM and 8 AM.  

Workplace charging 

It's critical to offer workplace charging, especially for individuals without access to a home charger. Nordic countries and France have the highest share of workplace charging at 60% combined, followed by Benelux and DACH. Workplace chargers usually offer AC charging with a capacity of 22 kW. Despite its significance, workplace charging constitutes less than half of the total residential charging units. 

Each workplace charging point receives more than eight charging sessions on average for each week, totaling 400 kWh/ week. Around 75% of workplace charging sessions happen between 8 am and 4 pm, with the remaining 25% happening between 4 pm and 12 am. 

Public charging 

Public charging options include AC and DC charging points. The majority of publicly available charging infrastructure is AC charging stations with a maximum of 22 kW power. Countries with a high density of charging points tend to offer more AC chargers than DCs. 

The latest data from the European Alternative Fuel Observatory (EAFO) shows that by the end of 2023, the European Union had over 630,000 public charging points, with 13% being DC chargers and 87% AC chargers. This marks a significant increase in the proportion of DC chargers, which grew from 7% at the end of 2021 to 13% by 2023. 

Chart EU27 Number of Public Charging Points Based on AFIR Classification (Units) (2020-2023)
Source: European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO)

Chart EU27 Number of AC Charging Points Based on AFIR Classification (Units) (2020-2023)
Source: European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO)

Chart EU27 Number of DC Charging Points Based on AFIR Classification (Units) (2020-2023)Source: European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO)

Public charging points are divided into two types: "fully" public and "semi-public." Fully public charging points, making up 63% of the total, are accessible anytime and located in public areas like streets or highways. On the other hand, semi-public charging points, constituting 37%, are situated on private properties with restricted access, such as in car parks, underground garages, supermarkets, and hotels, and may have limited hours or require using the property's facilities. 

A study by GridX recorded a total of 137,258 charging stations across 28 countries (25 EU countries plus Norway, UK, and Switzerland). Most of these stations (46%) have two charging points. This is followed by charging stations with four charging points (19%), then one and three charging points as the third most common (10%). Only 14% of stations have five or more chargers, and only 1% can simultaneously serve 20 or more vehicles.  

A few stations have 100 charging points or more. But these stations are exceptions, certainly not the norm, as only 0.03% of charging stations fall into this category. 0.15% of stations provide 50 or more charging points.  

Free EV charging market data

Ultra-Fast High-Power Charging (HPC) 

The High-Power Charging (HPC) network is vital for the rapid expansion of electric vehicle usage across Europe. Under the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR), HPC stations are classified into two distinct levels: Level 1 ultra-fast DC recharging points provide an output of 150 kW up to less than 350 kW, while Level 2 ultra-fast DC recharging points deliver a power of 350 kW or greater, facilitating the fastest charging times available. 

Within the EU27, HPC stations make up 7% of the total public charging points. Expanding the scope to include a wider European region—adding Norway, the UK, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Turkey—HPC stations constitute 8% of the total charging facilities. Leading the pack with the highest ratios of HPC points is Norway at 25%, followed by Finland and Estonia, each with 16%, Germany at 13%, and Austria at 11%. 

Additionally, Latvia, Croatia, Iceland, Sweden, and Bulgaria also feature a significant proportion of HPCs, each with 10% of their public charging points classified as ultra-fast chargers. 

Free EV charging market data

Uneven Distribution of Charging Infrastructures

In 2023, over half (52%) of Europe's total charging infrastructure was concentrated in just three countries: the Netherlands, Germany, and France. Remarkably, these countries together account for only 10% of the EU's total land area. This means that the vast majority of the EU's territory, making up 90% of its land mass, is left with just 48% of the charging stations. 

The 2023 ChargeUp Europe report highlights a contrast in charging infrastructure across the continent. Western (and Northern Europe) significantly outpaces its Eastern (and Southern) counterparts in terms of available charging options. On average, there were 106 public charging points for every 100,000 inhabitants in the EU in 2022. Seven countries—namely the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium—all located in Western Europe, surpass this average. 
Most countries in Eastern Europe are lagging behind with way below-average numbers with Poland, Greece, Romania, and Cyprus at the bottom of the list having less than 10 public charging points per 100,000 inhabitants.  

Chart EU27 Public Charging Points per 100K Inhabitants by Country (Units) (2022)
Source: Statzon/ ChargeUp EUROPE 

Interestingly, assessing the ratio of EVs to public charging points shows Eastern European countries in a more favorable position than might be expected. The EU's recommendation is 10 EVs for every charging point. Within Western Europe, only Austria and the Netherlands achieved the recommendation with around 5 EVs per charging point in 2022. Belgium, Luxembourg, and France exceed it slightly.  

Nine countries in Eastern (and Southern) Europe—Slovakia, Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, and Cyprus—have already met or done better than the recommended ratio, with Spain and Estonia having just marginally higher ratios. 

Western Europe's shift toward electric vehicles has been swift and early, leading to a surge in EV adoption that is outstripping the expansion of charging infrastructure. In contrast, Eastern Europe's move towards electric vehicles commenced more recently and is proceeding at a steadier rate. This gradual adoption ensures a better match between the number of electric vehicles and the charging stations available. Notably, the charging networks in Northern and Western Europe are predominantly composed of AC chargers, while Eastern European countries, despite having a sparser network, are characterized by a higher proportion of fast-charging DC stations. 

Are There Enough EV Charging Points in Europe? 

EV sales have been growing a lot more ambitiously than the deployment of charging infrastructure. At the end of 2022, Europe sold close to 2 million BEVs, a 17-fold increase since 2016, paired with a 6-fold increase in charging point quantity since 2016. It’s evident that the deployment rate of infrastructure is falling far behind the exploding demand for EVs.  

Chart Charging Points Deployments vs. Sales of Electric Cars in EU (Units)
Source: ACEA 

An analysis from McKinsey suggests that the European Union will need at least 3.4 million operational public charging points by 2030 to enable a complete switch from ICEs to EVs. This figure includes 2.9 million public chargers for passenger cars, 0.4 million for light commercial vehicles, and 0.1 million for trucks and buses. It does not include the estimated 29 million residential and workplace chargers.  

An average of 6,000 public charging stations per week would need to be deployed throughout the EU from 2021-2023 to achieve this target and with only 1,600 installations per week in 2021, according to McKinsey, the EU is currently way behind the target rate. We have around 407 weeks left until the end of 2030, with 2.9 million charging points to be installed. The two countries with the fastest public charging installation pace in the EU are France (400/ week in 2021) and Germany (200/ week in 2021), still, they would need to speed up their pace in the future.  

Nevertheless, the predominant mode of charging in the future is anticipated to remain within private domains. By 2030, residential charging is forecasted to comprise the lion's share, making up 79% of all charging, followed by workplace charging at 15%.

Free EV charging market data

More Charging Points, More Grid Power 

Major improvements to the grid system will be required for the proper distribution of electricity to the millions of new charging stations in the future. According to McKinsey's estimation, EV electricity demand could potentially rise from nine terawatt hours (which is less than 1% of EU total electricity consumption) in 2021 to 165 terawatt hours in 2030. Even though EV-specific electricity demand is predicted to increase by nearly 40% annually, it is only taking up about 6% of the total electricity consumed in the EU.  

The Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Masterplan 

Does McKinsey analysis seem feasible? Or is it too ambitious?  

Actually, the analysis was provided for the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) which then developed a proposed guideline called The Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Masterplan. This masterplan lays out an even more aggressive deployment target for the EU to achieve the Fit 55 Package. It covers all EU-27 countries and various vehicle types with a focus on access to charging infrastructure and driving range for electric vehicles (passenger cars, light commercial vehicles (LCVs), trucks, and buses). An estimated EUR 280 billion needs to be invested by 2030 to install charging points, upgrade the power grid, and build renewable energy capacity for EV charging. The total investment will go up to approximately EUR 1,000 billion by 2050 for a complete transformation to electric road mobility in all EU member countries.  

In accordance with the Fit 55 Package, the 2030 goal is to reduce passenger cars’ and LCVs’ emissions by 55% and emissions from trucks and buses by 30%. To achieve this goal, EV share should be ramped up to 17% for passenger cars, 13% for LCVs, and 3.5% for trucks/buses. That’s an estimated 42.8 million EVs (BEVs and PHEVs), 4.4 million electric LCVs, and 0.3 million electric trucks and buses on the road by the end of 2030. 

A rapid rollout of charging infrastructure is crucial to realize this goal. An imbalance in the number of charging points and EVs would only hinder customers from leaving ICEs behind. The EV Charging Masterplan recommends a total of 6.8 million public chargers for passenger cars, 0.7 million for LCVs, and 0.1 million for trucks and buses should be installed by 2030. This means that deployment rates must increase from less than 2,000 public charging points per week in 2021 to over 23,000 per week in 2030, with an average deployment of 14,000 per week between 2021 and 2030. A lot higher than McKinsey’s 6,000 installations per week recommendation.  

Free EV charging market data 

Sources: Statzon, ACEA (1), ACEA (2), ACEA (3), EAFO (1), EAFO (2), McKinsey, Jato, ChargeUp EUROPE State of The Industry 2023 report, gridX


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