By 2030 3.4 million EV charging stations will be needed

A recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company demonstrates that by 2030, it will be necessary to install a great quantity of EV charging stations in the European territory, in order to encourage and sustain the penetration of electric vehicles, supporting in this way projects aiming at the decarbonisation goals of 2050.

Making EV charging stations available, requires the deployment of the single charging units, joint with interventions on the electric grid infrastructure of the different EU Countries.

Effectively, as the report highlights, European States have shown a propensity to switch from fossil-fuelled vehicles to EVs from the outset, and roughly 25% of electric vehicle production in the world is in Europe. This means that an increase in investments would contribute to creating new jobs, reduce climate-altering emissions and make Europe a leader territory in this domain.

Europe needs to double the number of charging stations by 2030

In 2021 in Europe there were approximately 375,000 EV charging stations, but according to calculations made by McKinsey, at least 3.4 million active public charging stations will be needed by 2030.

This also translates to a great investment in the electric grid, in order to satisfy an energy demand equal to 160 terawatt/h arising from public and private charging points.

Electric vehicles will require a synchronized rollout of new charging-point infrastructure, power grid upgrades, and renewable-energy capabilities.

The relationship between charging stations and the inclination to purchase EVs

As shown in the McKinsey report, a current barrier that consumer face when evaluating the purchase of an EV is the scarcity of charging stations, particularly in some less urban areas.

Indeed, if charging stations are not available within just a few kilometres, the purchase of an electric car is strongly discouraged, and the possibility of installing one in a private garage or private road is not sufficient, as the vehicle’s autonomy is still limited.

Two possible growth scenarios

Obviously, the availability of the recharging stations could favourably influence the sale of electric vehicles, but on the other hand strong investment in terms of infrastructure on the existing electric grid have to be considered carefully and thoroughly .

Indeed, there are two potential scenarios included in the report:

  • Preventive measure installation of charging stations could translate to a substantial increase in sales, and therefore in production, of electric vehicles
  • Installation of charging stations could follow the sales of electric cars, creating supply on the basis of actual demand

Even in the second instance, definitely more cautious, it would still be necessary to create 3.4 million charging stations by 2030 to satisfy drivers’ demand, moving from an average of 1,600 new installations a week in 2021 to 6,000 by 2030, when we should reach a record-making 10.500 installations per week.

The pace of public-charger installations in Europe must quadruple by 2025.

Updating the electric grid

As explained, the increase in demand for charging stations, and their subsequent installation, could put the electric grid under stress, which would therefore require important investment to be build up.

Even in this instance however, we should make a distinction between slow and rapid charge stations: residential areas could make use of slow chargers used by residents, whereby vehicles are charged overnight to be ready for use in the morning. These types of charging points should not create a huge peak-time demand for electric energy, and therefore the increase in consumption could be absorbed relatively easily.

Rapid charging stations on the other hand, would inevitably creating peak consumption times which must be managed somehow to avoid problems.

In this instance the electric grids need to be built up.

This said, consumption generated by electric cars would represent just 6% of total electric demand in Europe in 2030, according to the projections of the report.

Despite rapid growth, energy demand from e-mobility will account for only some 6 percent of Europe's total energy demand by 2030.

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