Insight: EV range concerns are not offset by charging infrastructure growth

10 April 2018

10 April 2018

The number of public charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) nearly doubled in Italy in 2017, according to data from However, at just over 3,500 the number of available charging stations is only around 20% of that in France and Germany and just under half the number available in the UK. With fewer than 2,000 public charging points, Spain has the lowest penetration of any market in the Big 5, despite the fact that EV sales in Spain were close to twice that in Italy in 2017.

Fast chargers still only make up a fraction of the available points in most markets, ranging from just 5% of those in Italy to 17% of the network in the UK. Research by Autovista Group suggests that the installation of an ultra-fast charging network across Europe is the most important technological innovation required over the next five to 10 years. Close to 40% of respondents felt a fast charging network is the most important technological development needed for electric vehicles to enter the mainstream, ahead of advances to reduce battery costs (27%) and improvements in battery life (23%).

Nonetheless, the currently limited charging infrastructure is not considered to be the most important factor inhibiting EV uptake. Around one-third of survey respondents believed that worries about the range of EVs was the biggest factor limiting consumer adoption of EVs, with a similar proportion blaming the currently high acquisition costs. Only 15% of respondents believed that a lack of charging stations was the most important factor inhibiting EV uptake. The picture was similar when it came to fleet managers, with around half saying that the high new car cost and limited range meant that EVs were currently unsuitable for business use.

This is borne out by data from The company predicts an 80% rise in new EV sales in Spain this year, taking registrations to close to 15,000 units. While still modest relative to volumes in France, Germany and the UK, it is built on a charging network growing at a rate of 37% in 2017. Anticipated sales in 2018 are again almost twice the volumes expected in Italy with its more developed infrastructure and significantly faster pace of network development.