Inadequate Charging Infrastructure Could Stall European EV Sales

Electric vehicles are poised to take over internal combustion-engine vehicles over the next decade in a bid to cut our reliance on carbon-based energy and reduce our impact on the planet. However, one thing that stands against widespread EV adoption, at least in Europe, is inadequate charging infrastructure. Aside from Tesla, most of the electric vehicles sold across Europe have to rely on an inadequate system of different and often broken down charging facilities.

While Tesla has its own network of charging stations and a streamlined charging experience, most of the other automakers that produce EVs don’t. “There’s a variety of charging providers and they need to talk to each other and make sharing agreements, and there needs to be some kind of alarm system to point out chargers that aren’t working,” says Professor Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management (“CAM”) in Germany.

“There’s also a problem with the transparency of prices to avoid unfair charging and this will have to be improved in Germany and other European countries. I think this is the most important challenge for electric car uptake and as sales accelerate, the more this problem will surface. There could be backlash for e-mobility if this isn’t tackled in the right way. I would assume it will take two or three years before this problem is solved 100%.” he says.

According to British motoring rescue organization the AA, the UK government has tried to persuade operators to rationalize their systems. “We need interoperability and simple, contactless charging to make life easier for EV drivers. Early adopters weren’t too concerned with different charging mechanisms but that is changing as EVs become more mainstream,” says AA president Edmund King. He adds that the British government has signaled it expects charging firms to offer a “roaming solution” across the network that would allow EV drivers to use various charger networks with a single payment method instead of having to use multiple cars and smartphone apps.

According to David Bailey, Professor of Business Economics at Birmingham Business School and an electric car owner, “The British government is supposed to insist on interoperability, but I’m not sure when that will happen. There are about 8 to 10 different networks in Britain and I have a phone full of apps and a wallet full of cards. For new electric car drivers, this is quite a steep learning curve.”

It would be interesting to hear how entities like Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) can help, at least in terms of a single payment platform for charging facilities.

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