EU lawmakers can increase the ambition for the growth in the number of electric vehicles beyond what the European Commission has proposed with the confidence that there will be enough charging points, new analysis shows.

EU’s draft infrastructure law requires member states to roll out charging infrastructure in line with the expansion of the EV fleet.

Currently there are around 340,000 public chargers in place, but there could be up to 5.1 million public charging points by 2030 and 10.4 million by 2035, according to modelling by Transport & Environment, Europe’s leading NGO campaigning for cleaner transport.

Fabian Sperka, vehicles policy manager at T&E, said, “Public charging is a key concern for drivers, and governments will be required by law to address this by expanding national networks in line with the electric car fleet. European lawmakers don’t need to hold back on setting higher car CO2 targets for fear of a lack of charge points.”

T&E however says that the vast majority of charging will continue to be at private chargers at home and work and it questions whether the very high numbers of public chargers proposed by the European car industry lobby is viable. The car lobby is calling for 31 million public chargers by 2035, which says T&E, would lead to chargers being used less than one hour a day – far below the 3.6 hours needed to be financially viable according to the industry’s own report.

T&E said the car industry’s targets are unnecessarily high and would require huge public subsidies on a continuous basis for the charging network. The industry targets, it says, are based on unrealistic assumptions that 60% of charging will be public and that the average electric vehicle in 2030 will be less efficient than today’s models.

Fabian Sperka said, “The more the merrier does not apply to the charging business. Massively overbuilding the charging network, as some in the car industry demand, is unnecessary and would require taxpayers to foot the bill. Europe can have up to 10 million public chargers in place to meet the needs of the expanded electric car fleet by 2035 and have a financially viable network. Unrealistic infrastructure demands should not get in the way of ambitious car climate targets.”