The European Commission announced this week a set of measures to ensure a host of new alternative fuel stations be installed across Europe by 2020. The Commission hoped to make it a binding measure on Member States; and in so doing, making the sale of electric vehicles (as well as natural gas, hydrogen and biofuels) an easier proposition to the general population.
The Commission said in a statement announcing the benchmarks:
Clean fuel is being held back by three main barriers: the high cost of vehicles, a low level of consumer acceptance, and the lack of recharging and refuelling stations. It is a vicious circle. Refuelling stations are not being built because there are not enough vehicles. Vehicles are not sold at competitive prices because there is not enough demand. Consumers do not buy the vehicles because they are expensive and the stations are not there. The Commission is therefore proposing a package of binding targets on Member States for a minimum level of infrastructure for clean fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas, as well as common EU wide standards for equipment needed.
Citroen C-Zero Gets Plugged In
The Commission found that the amount (and type) of EV charging station across Europe is too varied, and that while some countries like the Netherlands, UK and Germany have been pro-active getting behind the new technology, others have not.
Under this new proposal, all member countries would have a set minimum amout of electric charging points to build out, and that those recharging points would all have a common plug, which the Commission refers to as a "Type 2" plug.
In response, the CHAdeMO association has issued a statement wanting to be included in the fast-charging portion of the program, as their CHAdeMO standardization was excluded in the DC fast charging specifications:
"We request the European Commission consider a dual charging system for DC fast charging with CHADeMO and CCS (combined charging system) that will allow use by the majority of current and future electric vehicles. From a cost point of view, there are significant commonalities between the two devices of more than 80%, with the only difference relating to communication protocol and charging gun.
The adoption of a technology-neutral approach not only reflects market realities but also ensures that multi-standard Combo2/CHAdeMO DC chargers are deployed. If this path is taken, Europe will leverage significant investment already made in the member states, and will be able to build a quicker and strong zero-emissions transportation network."
The program, if enacted, means good news for the plug-in sector, as the chart (below) details just how many new stations would be put into place over the next 7 years as compared to today:
EU Commission Proposal For Charging Stations In Europe (click to enlarge)