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EV charging challenges in Europe – smart solutions for charging infrastructure utilization

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In a previous article, the focus was on the EU’s efforts towards achieving zero emissions and how smart parking can contribute to sustainable urban development strategies. In this article, the focus shifts to electric mobility and its potential, as well as the challenges associated with electric charging. 

The European Union stands out as a prominent leader in the adoption of electric cars, with its Member States contributing to over a quarter of global EV production. Notably, in 2021, electric vehicles accounted for 20% of all new car sales. This shift from polluting, fuel-burning vehicles to clean and emission-free EVs plays a crucial role in mitigating global emissions and significantly enhancing local air quality for millions of individuals worldwide. However, to successfully achieve our target of zero net emissions by 2050, concerted efforts are needed to further amplify this trend and promote the widespread adoption of electric mobility.

According to a 2019 McKinsey survey, over half of consumer concerns regarding electric cars revolve around batteries, charging, and range. This suggests that a significant portion of consumers perceive electric cars as inconvenient, requiring lengthy detours to charging stations and potentially discouraging their preference for electric vehicles over conventional petrol or diesel cars. Therefore, it is crucial to assess the current state of electric charging infrastructure in Europe.

To provide an overview of the available electric charging infrastructure in Europe, it’s important to note that the region has made substantial progress in expanding charging networks.

EV charging infrastructure in Europe 

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) extensively addressed the issue of EV charging infrastructure in a 2022 article. According to their study, to achieve the proposed 55% CO2 reduction for cars by 2030, it may be necessary to establish up to 6.8 million public charging points. This would signify an increase of over 22 times the current number of charging stations in less than 10 years.

Another challenge lies in the concentration of charging points within a limited portion of the EU. Presently, half of the charging points for electric cars in Europe are found in only two countries – the Netherlands (approximately 90,000 chargers) and Germany (around 60,000 chargers). This leaves other countries with the task of catching up. Notably, six EU countries currently lack any charging points per 100 km of road, while 17 countries have fewer than five charging points per 100 km of road. Merely five countries have more than 10 charging points per 100 km of road.

Countries with the most and least electric car chargers in Europe

On-street electric charging stations are indeed in short supply, particularly for electric car owners residing in apartment buildings who heavily rely on these chargers. According to a 2021 study, 42% of EV owners in European cities face the challenge of not being able to charge their vehicles at home, resulting in the need to share the already limited number of public charging stations.

Challenges in deploying public EV chargers

The urgency of addressing this issue is heightened by predictions that electric cars will make up approximately half of all vehicles in major European markets by 2035. Sustaining the current momentum in electric vehicle adoption requires the availability of convenient and affordable charging options, both in public and private charging points, to cater to an increasing number of individuals. Achieving this goal necessitates conscious government support, including the encouragement of investment in charging infrastructure and the minimization of barriers that impede its deployment. But what exactly are these barriers to charging stations in public spaces?

Costs: The installation of charging stations involves significant upfront costs, including equipment, electricity network upgrades, permits, and ongoing maintenance. In areas with low electric vehicle penetration or uncertain charging demand, these costs may discourage investment.

Infrastructure Challenges: Adequate infrastructure is required for the installation of charging stations, including access to electricity and available parking spaces. In some cases, the existing electricity grid may need significant upgrades to support additional charging stations. In urban areas, the installation of an electric charging point often means sacrificing a regular parking space, requiring careful site selection and assessment of needs.

Regulatory and Permitting Barriers: The permitting and regulatory processes associated with installing charging stations can be complex and time-consuming. Obtaining the necessary approvals and navigating the regulatory landscape can delay the deployment of charging infrastructure.

However, there are innovative solutions available that leverage existing infrastructure to provide alternative charging options. For example, in London, over 7,000 charging points have been integrated into lampposts, offering low-power, cost-effective, and conveniently located charging options for electric vehicle owners.

Utilizing EV chargers in public spaces – immediate solutions

Addressing the shortage of chargers requires a long-term solution, such as expanding the electric charging network. However, at present, some steps can be taken to optimize the utilization of existing resources. One key aspect is improving the information available to users about the availability of charging points.

Currently, most charging points only indicate whether a car is currently being charged, providing little information about whether the charging point is available for use. This can lead to inefficiencies where charging points are occupied by vehicles that have completed charging or are being used as regular parking spaces. Smart parking sensors installed at on-street charging points can indeed provide a solution to the problem of determining the availability of charging points in real-time. By integrating these sensors with mobile apps, users can easily check whether a charging point is occupied or available for use before arriving at the location. The Parker smart parking app, as mentioned, is an example of an application that already provides such information for some electric chargers.

Parker’s smart parking app allows you to filter by electric car charging points

With this enhanced information, motorists can make more informed decisions about where to park and charge their electric vehicles, optimizing their charging experience and reducing the time spent searching for available charging points. Additionally, public space authorities can utilize this data to efficiently manage parking violations and ensure that charging spots are used appropriately for their intended purpose.


In conclusion, achieving sustainable transport requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses the development of charging infrastructure, implementation of incentive measures, and technological advancements. Collaborative efforts among governments, industry players, and society are vital to foster the necessary conditions for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles and make sustainable mobility a reality.


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