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Electric car charging points needed on ‘every street’

Electric vehicles could become a common sight on roads around Europe – but only if drivers are able to charge up their cars wherever they park them, says industry association

Vehicle manufacturers in the European Union are world-wide technology leaders in fuel efficiency and safety. Electrically Chargeable Vehicles provide the opportunity for further EU leadership in engineering and can also encourage competitiveness in the industry, with a potentially positive impact on employment, including in other related sectors.

For this dream of electric or ‘e’ mobility to become a reality, both industry and consumers need to have confidence that investment in an ECV will pay off not only in terms of reduced running costs, but also in durability. Presently, ECVs are mostly considerably more expensive than their internal combustion engine equivalents. If a vehicle’s obsolescence or impracticability is anticipated by consumers, they may decline the initial purchase. It is for this reason that the automobile industry has been pressing for standardisation of charging formats and components.

Standardisation provides predictability to investors, including both users and producers; it enables economies of scale, reduces costs for all stakeholders and is essential in increasing user acceptance. Electric vehicles will require an energy infrastructure that is more developed than the one that exists today. If electric vehicles are to take off, it should be possible for electrical vehicle owners to charge their cars wherever they park them, whether or not they have access to a garage. Every street will need charging points, which need to be functionally the same if a significant fraction of Europe’s 200 million cars are to be replaced with electric vehicles, all of which will each need charging.
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