EU Science Hub

Assessing the impacts of electric vehicle recharging infrastructure deployment efforts in the European Union

Abstract: 

Electric vehicles (EVs) can play an important role in improving the European Union’s (EU)’s energy supply security, reducing the environmental impact of transport, and increasing EU competitiveness. The EU aims at fostering the synchronised deployment of EVs and necessary recharging infrastructure. There is currently a lack of studies in the literature for analysing the societal impacts of EV and infrastructure deployment at continental scale. In our paper, we analyse the likely impact of related plans of the EU member states (MSs). With the help of qualitative and quantitative analyses, we study the impact of plans on recharging infrastructure deployment, contributions to the EU climate and energy goals, air quality objectives, and reinforcement of the EU’s competitiveness and job creation. We soft-link a fleet impact model with a simplified source receptor relationship model, and propose a new model to calculate job impacts. The results overall show modest impacts by 2020, as most member states’ plans are not very ambitious. According to our analysis of the plans, a reduction of CO2 emissions by 0.4%, NOx emissions by 0.37%, and PM2.5 emissions by 0.44%, as well as a gross job creation of more than 8000 jobs will be achieved by 2020. The member state plans are very divergent. For countries with more ambitious targets up to 2020, such as Austria, France, Germany, and Luxemburg, the climate, energy, and air quality impacts are significant and show what would be achievable if the EU would increase its pace of EV and infrastructure deployment. We conclude that more ambitious efforts by the member states’ to deploy electric vehicles could accelerate the reduction of CO2 emissions and lead to less dependence on fossil oil-based fuels, along with air quality improvements, while at the same time creating new job opportunities in Europe. In regards to the ratio of publicly accessible recharging points (RPs) per EV, we conclude that member states have to come up with more ambitious targets for recharging point deployment, as the current plans will lead to only one recharging point per every 20 EVs by 2020 across the EU. This paper can serve as useful input to the further the planning of EV and recharging infrastructure deployment in the EU and elsewhere. Our study highlights that the different strategies that are followed in the EU member states can be a fertile ground to identify best practices. It remains a challenge to quantify how different support policies impact EV deployment. In terms of further research needs, we identify that more detailed studies are required to determine an appropriate level of infrastructure deployment, including fast chargers.