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[Discussion] EU's Charge Towards Greener Future: Fast EV Chargers Along Highways

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New EU Legislation Paves the Way for Green Transportation

The Council of the European Union has taken a significant stride towards greener transportation, passing a landmark law aimed at facilitating electric vehicle (EV) usage across Europe. The new rule mandates the installation of high-speed EV chargers along highways throughout the continent by the end of 2025. In a move to simplify the charging process, the regulation also requires that the charging stations allow for ad-hoc payments using a card or contactless device, without necessitating subscriptions.

Redefining EV Infrastructure

The freshly adopted regulation is a major boost to EV owners, aiming to diminish range anxiety by vastly increasing the EV charging infrastructure along Europe’s primary highways. It simplifies payments at charging points, eliminating the need for an app or subscription, and mandates transparent communication of pricing and availability to prevent unexpected costs.

From 2025, the legislation stipulates that fast-charging stations with at least 150kW power should be situated every 60km (37mi) along the EU's Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). This network includes the most critical highways connecting major cities and transport hubs in the EU.

Greater Power Output Requirement

As per the new regulation, charging stations along the TEN-T core road network should have a minimum total output of 400kW by the end of 2025, including at least one charging point capable of an individual output of 150kW. By the end of 2027, these stations should upgrade to provide at least 600kW of total output while maintaining the 150kW requirement for individual charging points.

This rule will ensure EV owners can always avail of at least one charging point capable of providing the faster 150kW output, critical for certain EV models that can handle 350kW, as well as future models expected to exceed this.

Expansion to Comprehensive Road Network

The deployment of fast EV chargers on the TEN-T comprehensive road network, which connects different EU regions to the core network, will occur over a longer period. Nonetheless, the regulation enforces a maximum distance of 60km between fast chargers, mandating at least 300kW of total power output, with a minimum of one charging point capable of 150kW by the end of 2027. By 2035, these stations should be able to deliver at least 600kW total output with a minimum of two charging points capable of 150kW output.

Payment Simplicity and Price Transparency

The legislation also obligates that ad-hoc charging payments be facilitated via cards or contactless devices, bypassing the need for a subscription. This should allow any EV owner to charge at any station without the hassle of searching for the appropriate app or subscribing to a specific network. Operators must also clearly display prices, wait times, and availability at their recharging points.

A Step Towards Sustainable Future

The regulation, part of a series of initiatives known as the "Fit for 55" package, aims to reduce the EU's greenhouse emissions by 55 percent by 2030 (relative to 1990 levels) and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. With transportation responsible for 25 percent of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions and 71 percent of that originating from road use, this new regulation could significantly impact these figures.

Spanish Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez Jiménez, lauded the new law as a milestone in the EU’s green policy. She expressed optimism that citizens would soon be able to charge their electric cars as easily as they refuel at traditional petrol stations. The regulation is now set to go through a few formalities before becoming law across the EU.

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