Electric vehicle (EV) industry and infrastructure across European Union

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Climate change is the most constant and the most discussed issue over the past few decades. Many countries take this problem seriously and have already started replacing their energy sources with newer, alternative ones. Through this process of exploring and developing new green technology, electric cars were more widely presented to the market. Since everyday life is getting faster each day, this solution is beneficial and many countries recognized it.

European Union set ambitious goal for the future: completely climate-neutral economy and lifestyle by 2050. Having this goal in mind, the plan is to have at least 30 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the streets by the year 2030. This presents an enormous enhancement for the European Union, which now only fields around 1.4 million EVs. In order for this plan to be realized, many member states need to speed-up their development of this sphere through set of regulations and targets to divert everyone in this direction.

In order to accelerate this process, 750 billion euro will be divided between member states as stimulus for further development. 20 billion euro will be diverted to boosting the marketing and sales of EVs. Through this stimulus, European Commission is also financing the construction of 1 million EV charging stations across Europe. The plan is to set up these stations by the end of the 2025.

Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Finnish member of the European Parliament, stated during Virta webinar: “Transport represents almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, so boosting e-mobility is very crucial if we wish to achieve climate goals. The charging infrastructure needs to be aligned with the new national strategies and targets”.

There are some currently ongoing strategies implemented by European Union, which are setting groundwork for future expansion. Most notable one is EU Taxonomy program. This project introduced new classification system, which created a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities. It also requires industry operators to report regularly on how they reduced, prevented and managed emissions. If these operators show positive results, they will be supported and further financed from European Union funds.

Next important strategy is The Energy Efficiency Directive known as EED. The plan is to reduce nearly 33% of energy consumption on EU level through energy efficiency projects. This initiative is set to be realized by 2030. However, this regulation is non-binding, with a sole purpose to enhance the speed of the shift towards more efficient vehicles and their EV counterparts. Many members have already started with more e-mobility and national zero-emission targets.

To further support these two directives, European Commission set the third one called The Renewable Energy Directive, also known as RED. RED is focused on developing incentives for European Union member states to promote the use of electricity as a fuel, similar to their project regarding biofuels. Their primary goal was to establish credit system from which each country could finance their own projects in regards of building infrastructure for EVs. This initiative ended in 2021, but played a crucial basis for other two to establish and implement them.

Furthermore, each country implemented their own national strategies that followed the framework set by European Commission.

The top three countries that provide most financial benefits for purchasing electric vehicle are France (maximal support from state to customer is12,000 euro), Italy (maximal support from state to customer is10,000 euro) and Germany (maximal support from state to customer is 9,000 euro). The 4th place goes to Greece with its 7,000 euro for each buyer of EV.

Recently announced strategy for France, which is the leader in the field of electrification, is to provide around 8 billion euro as a rescue plan and initiative to set up a new goal. French government wants to reach the 100 thousand charging stations around the country by the next year and produce annually over 1 million EV by the 2025. For the future projects, EV adoption boost projects have been announced. Those will enable the wider population to obtain their EV. This will soon raise the financial aid from the state to customer from 12,000 euro to 19,000 euro. 

In addition to the mentioned purchase benefits in France, the EV leader also offers various tax exemptions. For example, if an individual purchases a fully electrified vehicle or plug-in hybrid, a 50% discount is guaranteed, with possibility of full exempt from paying the license plate in Metropolitan France. This also varies along different regions and their own regulations.

There are also different subsidies for charging stations in France: four categories cover different investors for construction of charging station. First category is for individuals that want to install a charging station, which grants them 300 euro of tax credit upon completion of the station. Second category represents companies, which are eligible for 40% discount for purchase and installation of charging stations. Third category is consisted of condos or apartment blocks, which gain 50% discount on purchase and installation. 

The last category is for public entities such as municipalities, which are eligible for 50% discount for purchase and installation of these stations. The process for public entities is a bit different than for the other three categories. Firstly, there needs to be a request from local residents to municipality. If these requests are permitted, charging station needs to be built in radius of 500 meters from the place of residence of those who submitted the request.

France posesses a great of example of national strategy that keeps up with the plans of European Commission. However, this would not have been such a widely spread idea if there were no industry associations that support this process. One of the most popular one is “ChargeUp Europe”. This organization represents ideas and provides support from member companies, all in order to further develop the field of electric vehicles and their charging stations. This organization is important because it represents a support role for government projects and also introduces large companies in these projects. Three biggest members are “Shell”, with their own policies also providing solid basis for further development, “bp Europa S.E.”, one of the biggest private sponsors of this process, and “TotalEnergies”, the biggest provider and private operator of nearly 100,000 charging stations around Europe.

All these initiatives will hopefully be realized and implemented to the maximum extent. They bring life to changing processes in each country that implements them and will hopefully inspire even more countries to do so as well. France, a definitive leader in this regard,is a huge inspiration for all those aiming at achieving this goal of zero-emission. (photo credit: wikimedia)