Today, the EU Parliament votes on the negotiated compromises for the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR). The new regulation aims to promote the installation of charging stations or alternative refuelling stations (such as electric or hydrogen refuelling stations) and to support the spread of sustainable vehicles.
The EAC welcomes the more ambitious approach and the proposal to accelerate the development of charging infrastructure for alternative fuels in Europe.
There is agreement on setting binding national minimum targets for the development of alternative fuel infrastructure.
The proposed amendments go beyond the EU Commission's proposal. For example, MEPs propose to set up more hydrogen refuelling stations along the EU's main roads (every 100 km instead of every 150 km) and to do so more quickly (by 2028 instead of 2031).
Users of vehicles powered by alternative fuels should be able to easily pay transparent prices by card payment. Cars should be able to recharge every 60 km and refuel with hydrogen every 100 km. By 2027, an EU access point for alternative fuel data will be established, providing information on availability, waiting times and prices.
We support the Commission's proposal to introduce binding targets for the installation of publicly accessible charging stations for light electric commercial vehicles and to increase the minimum power per vehicle. It is imperative to develop the necessary infrastructure, which must keep pace with the pace of development of zero-emission technologies and sales of the vehicles.
Harmonised regulations that ensure access to charging and refuelling facilities, transparent pricing in combination with uniform, user-friendly ad-hoc payment options increase consumer acceptance and promote the switch to sustainable transport solutions. The principle must apply: Charging like refuelling, uncomplicated, fast and transparent.
Therefore we see the guarantee of user-friendly charging and refuelling in the interest of consumers as an important step. Operators of charging and refuelling stations should be obliged to display the ad hoc price as "price per kWh" and all its components in a clearly visible manner before the start of a charging process. Furthermore, it is to be ensured that electronic card payment is possible on site without having to conclude additional contracts.
However, it is important to keep in mind that in view of the lack of guarantee that sufficient electricity can be generated from renewable energies and the current geopolitical uncertainties, the focus on the electrification of the car fleet is a big risk.
Therefore, we recommend maintaining the principle of technology neutrality to maintain competition between technologies and to ensure that infrastructure is not built exclusively for electromobility.
Charging electric and fuel cell cars every 60 km or refuelling them with hydrogen every 100 km at the latest sounds good, but the figures currently tell a different story.
The reality is: currently, around 70 percent of all charging stations for e-cars are located in only three member states, namely Germany, France and the Netherlands. In six EU countries there is not a single charging point per 100 km of road. 17 countries have less than five charging points per 100 km of road, and only five countries have more than 10 charging points per 100 km of road. What is needed here is an immediate, nationwide infrastructure expansion, especially in Central and Eastern European member states.