Car-Charging Network Planned for European Highways

November 10, 2017 – A German-Danish partnership has announced plans to rollout a fast-charging station network across European highways to increase European use of electric vehicles (EVs). Initially, 180 stations will be built stretching from Norway to Italy with the first stations opening in Denmark and Germany by the summer. The plan is to have charging stations spaced out 180 kilometers (112 miles) apart.

 

 

Range anxiety is the major disinhibitor to consumers purchasing or leasing EVs. The other is downtime during the recharge cycle. No one wants to have to sit and wait 30 minutes or more every 180 kilometers on a road trip. Fast charging stations are designed to provide a battery top up to about 80% in five minutes. Five minutes is probably an equivalent amount of time that gas and diesel-fueled cars require when they visit a refueling station.

The partnership between E.ON SE and Clever intends to have the entire network complete before 2020. This will beat the 2021 European deadline for car manufacturers who will face carbon regulations aimed at taking fossil fuel-powered vehicles off the road. Clever currently operates 600 fast charging stations in Denmark and users purchase a prepaid charging card to use during their travels. Cards vary from 45 Kilowatt hours, for 300 Kronor ($48 US), sufficient for a short day trip, to 225 Kilowatt hours, for 1,305 Kronor ($208 US). for those planning a vacation road trip within Denmark.

In anticipation of COP23 in Bonn, the European Commission, the regulatory arm of the European Union (EU) this week has proposed a further 30% reduction in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 levels, by 2030. This is a bold attempt to get European manufacturers to build more EV models, and to get consumers to purchase them.

Europe is in direct competition with China to become the largest producer of EVs. Compared to these two, North American car manufacturers aren’t even in the running.  China, however, has 400 different models of EVs while Europe, at present, has a few models among its six manufacturers. China is by far the most aggressive developer and marketer of EVs and has set an ambitious target of 10% of new vehicles manufactured in 2019 to be EVs, and 12% by 2020. Neither General Motors or Tesla can match the volumes in EV production coming out of China. Europe doesn’t want to fall further behind but without a fast charging network, getting manufacturers to build EVs and consumers into buying them becomes highly problematic. So this announcement to populate European highways with a network of fast-charging stations is a welcome change.

 

 


Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery.
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