The need for electric vehicle charging infrastructure has emerged as a key concern for the large-scale electrification of road transport, which is crucial for decarbonising Europe’s transport sector. Where and how public charging infrastructure is built can pave the way for more users to switch to electric mobility. As electric vehicle use increases, it will also determine the costs and benefits of integrating EVs into the grid. This paper highlights the opportunities that decision-makers in Europe have to accelerate the growth of EV charging infrastructure as part of the transport sector’s “green recovery” from the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.

Policymakers and planners need to find the right balance between creating a competitive market that will ensure convenient electric vehicle charging and guaranteeing a minimum density of charging points for all users. This paper presents a clear path to address this challenge. It starts with the recommendation that European policymakers, national governments and industry stakeholders develop a joint vision for a self‑sustaining and competitive market for EV charging services. In this vision, drivers across the European Union would have ready access to a range of services to fit their needs, with competition driving the innovation needed to provide the services at attractive prices.

Within the process of ongoing legislative reforms, planners and policymakers have concrete opportunities to realise this vision. For example, to help develop robust infrastructure, the European Member States should define an “essential EV charging network” that can provide the basis for a competitive services market. As part of this process, regulators need to:

  • Clarify the roles of regulated entities, in particular grid operators, in the emerging charging services market.
  • Ensure that pricing accurately reflects costs. This applies both to network fees for use of the electricity grid and to the prices consumers pay for EV charging services.

Insights in the report also apply to other regions seeking to accelerate the switch to electric transportation and secure maximum benefits for consumers, the grid and the environment.