Where can I find publicly accessible charging stations?

Published by on 06.22.2018 - 5 min

More and more service providers are offering dedicated electric vehicle charging stations across Europe. Whether on a motorway or in a shopping centre car park, electric vehicle charging facilities are increasingly available. Here’s an overview of the infrastructure in Europe today.

In 2010, there were only 3,200 electric vehicle charging stations across all of Europe. By 2017 alone, this number had shot up to reach 131,293 units. This spectacular growth demonstrates rapidly-growing public interest in electric cars.

Large disparities between European countries

Despite these promising figures, there are disparities between European countries. As of 2017, the Netherlands led the pack with more than 35,000 units scattered throughout the country. The runners-up included Germany, with more than 25,000 stations, the United Kingdom and France, with more than 16,000 stations each, and Norway, with approximately 11,000.

At the other end of the spectrum, there were just 38 charging points in all of Greece. More than the size of the country, the number of charging stations is linked to the incentive effects brought about by public policies, whether at the local or national level.

Charging stations on motorways

More and more European motorways are being equipped with charging stations for electric vehicles. This is all the more necessary when factoring in the fact that electric cars consume the most energy when they reach high speeds. As such, fast charging stations are installed along major motorway corridors. They have a power capacity between 43 and 50 kW, which allows the Renault ZOE, for example, to recover 80 to 120 kilometres of battery range during a 30-minute charging break. There are around 2,500 stations of this type in some fifteen European countries.

Up and coming projects in this area include one led by German energy company E.ON and Danish operator Clever, co-financed by the European Commission, which aims to install charging units along the motorways connecting Norway to Italy. 10,000 charging stations will thus be created by 2020 at 180 sites in Norway, Italy, France, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Germany. This new infrastructure will be spread out across the main motorways connecting those countries, with intervals between stations ranging from 120 to 180 kilometres.

Charging up at petrol stations, shopping centres, restaurants, and cafés

Many filling stations that were originally dedicated just to providing petrol or diesel fuels are now making charging stations for electric vehicles available to their customers. Royal Dutch Shell, for instance, has undertaken a plan to install charging stations across Europe in 2017, starting with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. BP has invested 17 million euros in the Israeli company StoreDot in order to equip its petrol stations in Europe with fast charging terminals. Leisure and hospitality facilities such as shopping centres, restaurants and cafés are increasingly offering free charging services.

Finding charge points with Z.E. Trip and Z.E. Pass

Renault Z.E. Trip is a travel assistant integrated to your vehicle’s R-Link navigation system showing you every charging station available on your trip. By registering a credit card or PayPal account, you can use the Renault Z.E. Pass smartphone app also enables you to locate stations and “pay as you go” on many station provider networks.

Smart car parks

Some car parks offer charging services. These include “Park & Charge,” a European infrastructure that lets you charge your electric vehicle at stations in 500 car parks across Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Italy. Q-Park also offers the same service, but only in the United Kingdom for the moment, in the cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield, and York. There is also a growing number of charging stations being installed in airport car parks, such as Heathrow in London or Roissy Charles de Gaulle in Paris.

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