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The Role of Infrastructure for Electric Passenger Car Uptake in Europe

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) can be a main lever towards a decarbonised road transport system. The PEV market uptake needs to be nurtured by appropriate support measures for users, for technological advances related to the vehicle and its components, and for all relevant recharging infrastructure deployment. This paper focuses on the role of PEV recharging infrastructure for electric passenger car uptake in Europe. It examines the status of road transport electrification, relevant policies, incentives and national plans. We find that the status and plans of PEV and recharging infrastructure and the corresponding support measures vary significantly between countries. The PEV share in the various analysed countries ranged in 2017 from 0.01% to 5.49% and is estimated to reach values between 0.05% and 12.71% in 2020. The corresponding ratio of PEV per one publicly accessible recharging point ranged between 1 and 60 and is estimated to vary between 3 and 161 in 2020. Diverging plans could lead to market fragmentation in the European Union (EU) and impede the EU-wide circulation of PEVs. The appropriate level of recharging infrastructure should be determined to both support PEV deployment and to prevent sunk investments. Different country experiences vis-à-vis PEV and infrastructure support could be useful to identify best practices.

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Keywords: transport electrification; recharging infrastructure; incentives; transport policies