Risk of two-track Europe for e-mobility with sharp divisions in roll-out of chargers, auto industry warns

Brussels, 29 June 2021 – A new data analysis by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) shows a completely unbalanced picture when it comes to the spread of charging points for electric cars across the European Union.

70% of all EU charging stations are concentrated in just three countries in Western Europe: the Netherlands (66,665), France (45,751) and Germany (44,538). Together, these countries make up just 23% of the EU’s total surface area. By contrast, the other 30% of infrastructure is scattered throughout the remaining 77% of the region.

To illustrate just how asymmetrical the distribution of chargers is, Romania – roughly six times bigger than the Netherlands – counts only 493 charging points, or 0.2% of the EU total.

This two-track infrastructure roll-out is developing along the dividing lines between richer EU member states in Western Europe and countries with a lower GDP in Eastern, Central and Southern Europe. Countries with a sizeable land mass but a lower GDP, such as Poland (0.8% of EU chargers) and Spain (3.3%), seem to be left behind.

Indeed, the gap between Germany, the number three country (accounting for 19.9% of all charging points in the EU), and number four Italy (5.8%) is already huge, and the share of chargers goes downhill quickly from there.

This patchy EU roll-out of both charging and refuelling infrastructure for alternatively-powered cars has been evident since ACEA started its annual analysis in 2018. Without decisive action now, it is unlikely to improve in the years to come, the association warns.

As the European Commission gears up to review the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive two weeks from now, ACEA is therefore calling for binding targets – not only for charging points for electric cars but also for hydrogen stations for fuel cell cars – for each EU member state.

“Anyone who wants to buy an electric or fuel cell car depends on having reliable charging or refuelling infrastructure – whether that is at home, at work and on the road,” stated ACEA Director General, Eric-Mark Huitema. “The time has come for governments across Europe to pick up speed in the race to greener mobility,” Huitema urged.

Based on Commission calculations, a further decrease of car CO2 emissions to -50% in 2030 would require some 6 million publicly-available charging points. With less than 225,000 available today, that translates into a staggering 27-fold increase in less than a decade.

Top 5: countries with MOST chargers

  1. Netherlands (66,665)
  2. France (45,751)
  3. Germany (44,538)
  4. Italy (13,073)
  5. Sweden (10,370)

Top 5: countries with LEAST chargers

  1. Cyprus (70)
  2. Malta (96)
  3. Lithuania (174)
  4. Bulgaria (194)
  5. Greece (275)

Correlation: electric car infrastructure and surface area (by country, 2020)

70% of all EU charging stations are concentrated in just three countries: the Netherlands (66,665), France (45,751) and Germany (44,538). Together, these countries make up just 23% of the EU’s total surface area.


Notes for editors

  • All data on charging infrastructure are from the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO) and are the latest full year figures (2020).
  • The information in this press release will be published as part of the 2021 edition of ACEA’s statistical report, ‘Making the transition to zero-emission mobility’, on 12 July.
  • This annual ACEA report monitors the market uptake of alternatively-powered vehicles, as well as the availability of infrastructure and purchase incentives – the two main ‘enabling factors’ for zero-mobility – over a seven-year period (2014-2020).
  • It also makes a number of correlations, analysing the influence of certain factors – such as national income or the number of charging points per 100km of road – on the market uptake of alternatively-powered vehicles.

About ACEA

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, CNH Industrial, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, Renault Group, Stellantis, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • Visit www.acea.auto for more information about ACEA, and follow us on www.twitter.com/ACEA_auto or www.linkedin.com/company/ACEA/.
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, cm@acea.auto, +32 485 88 66 47.

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About the EU automobile industry

  • 14.6 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), accounting for 6.7% of all EU jobs.
  • 11.5% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.7 million – are in the automotive sector.
  • Motor vehicles are responsible for €398.4 billion of tax revenue for governments across key European markets.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €74 billion for the EU.
  • The turnover generated by the auto industry represents more than 8% of the EU’s GDP.
  • Investing €62 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest private contributor to innovation, accounting for 33% of total EU spending.
Content type Press release
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