Hello and welcome to the Electric Vehicle Experience
Today I bring big news for charging Electric Vehicles in Europe. And I’ll also tell you real experiences I had which show how welcome these improvements are.
The European Parliament wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. A set of rules will improve the EV charging experience for European drivers, which will promote EV usage.
One great obstacle to using a charger is the payment method. You generally need to start a contract with an EV charging network. Later you’ll receive a physical card at home so you can start the charging sessions while on the road.
Once it’s done, it gets ok. At least while you charging in your own country.
But what happens if you want to travel to another country? Then you’ll need a contract with local charging networks.
That’s impractical if out of the blue, you decide to go spend a few hours in a nearby country. Or a few days.
If you drive a Tesla you have a safety net when travelling between countries. The Supercharger network makes long trips easy.
Without access to the SuC network, it’s not as easy.
Another problem is the price. In many situations, the price you’ll pay for the charging session is not clear. There are too many variables.
Some apps allow us to estimate and compare prices, and that’s good.
In Teslas Superchargers it gets easier, they have a price per kWh and it’s easy to get that information before even arriving. If you drive a Tesla you’ll even get the cost displayed on the screen as the charging session happens.
Yes, there are apps that allow you to use some charging stations but… just some, not all.
Improvements are coming.
By 2027 Europe will have a database of every charging station with real-time information on availability, waiting times, and pricing. There are already apps that can do that but I’m guessing it will get even better.
Even more important in my opinion, it will be mandatory to have a simple and widely accepted means of payment. That surely means the use of cards or contactless devices.
That means that whether you’re a veteran EV driver or it’s your first ever time driving an EV, charging will become a lot easier, especially when you travel abroad.
That’s not all; on the EU primary roads, it will be mandatory to have a 400kW charger every 60 kms by 2026. In 2028 the minimum output will have to go up to 600kW.
That’s great, it really is. But I’d also like to see the obligation of having 2 or 3 200kW chargers alongside.
What I see on highways in Portugal is that there are sometimes only 2 fast chargers and one might output somewhere between 100-160kW but the other only gets you 50kW. And sometimes there both taken.
A few months ago I stopped at two consecutive service stations and both chargers were taken. I ended up charging at a shopping mall later while having dinner. If I had less range I’d have no choice but to wait.
Let me tell you a secret. My car can charge up to 250kW but guess how many times I used a charger faster than 160kW. I’ll tell you. Once. Yes, only once.
A 50kW charger for me feels slow unless I’m in a shopping center or somewhere I can make the most out of that time. For a short stop during a long trip, 150kW is great. In my car that means that I can charge from 10% to 50% in 15 minutes.
So for now I don’t feel specially excited about 400 or 600kW chargers. I think we have 10 cars or less that charge between 250-350kW. But, obviously, in 2026 and 2028 the market will have cars that charge even faster than today.
The great news doesn’t stop there. There are also new rules for charging EV trucks and buses. Charging points will have to be located every 120 kms with an output of 1.4-2.8MW, or 1.400-to 2.800 kW, depending on the road.
These heavy-duty vehicles in EV form are still far from being a common sight on our roads and this is a very important step.
Many electric cars have battery capacities of around 50-60 kWh. Electric buses and trucks can easily have batteries as large as 400-600 kWh. That’s about 10 times larger than a car’s.
A 75-100kW charger might be ok to charge these buses or trucks overnight while there parked but not during a trip.
A 350 kW charger might be way fast for a car but during a trip in these heavier vehicles, it’s nowhere near as fast as it’s necessary.
There is also news in the UK.
In the UK they also want to implement easy payment methods. Not only that, they want to:
- price charging per-kWh (instead of charging both per kWh and per time);
- show price displays so you can easily estimate how much you’ll pay;
- have the ability to use cards and contactless payments;
- and access live data on charger availability.
These rules might only be applied to chargers of 8 kW or above.
Another goal is to get the charging network running with 99% reliability. That’s the figure that has been met by the Netherlands and it’s an important aspect for bringing down obstacles for EV adoption.
Let me share another situation.
Last summer I was in the interior of the country with a low SOC and I tried to charge. The first charger was off. I went to another charger a few kms later and I don’t remember if it was off or if it just didn’t start.
These were 2 consecutive failed experiences.
It helped that I had prepared for a really bad scenario while I was charging previously. The two chargers that didn’t work had no alternative for long kms.
By the time I finally got charging again, I did have a few options between 5 and 20 kms from that spot. If that charger wasn’t working, I had options nearby.
So, yes, reliability is important. We need more chargers and more reliability in the charging experience.
And the ability to pay with regular debit cards will be awesome.
The fact that both the EU and the UK are trying to push improvements in this area will benefit drivers in both regions for sure.
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Thank you for watching and I’ll talk to you soon