Can Tesla Superchargers satisfy the charging demand of Europe?
Electrification is not just a strong trend but a goal in the European Union’s (EU) future, but most recent reports reveal the lack of pace in deploying charge stations compared to the increase of EVs. While Tesla has sped up its investments in Europe, how effective will this be, comparing the vast disparity of charging stations across the continent?
The European EV charging station market has opposing sides. While the number of charging points in China reached over 5.2m by the end of 2022, Europe managed to install around 480,000 charging stations, with only 12% being direct current (DC) by the same time, according to European Alternative Fuel Observatory (EAFO). On the other hand, the European EV charging station market value is the highest globally, reaching $5.7bn in 2021 and is expected to hit around $46bn by 2028, according to Skyquest.
Despite the pandemic and supply chain issues, Europe’s electrification process is smooth. In 2035, all the new cars sold in Europe are expected to be all-electric, according to Virta Global. But how much does this picture fit future expectations?
Source: Virta Global
- The “Fit 55 Package” targets reducing emissions by at least 55% by 2030. In Europe, 70% of EV charging takes place at home or work, but 46% of EU residents live in apartment buildings, and the residential chargers are AC, with power between 7.4-22Kw, creating a challenge, according to Statzon.
- McKinsey says the EU needs over 3.4m public chargers by 2030 to pursue zero-emission goals. In the same year, the EV number on European roads is expected to reach 70m.
- Moreover, according to McKinsey, the EV industry has to shift accordingly to regulations and zero-emission targets, requiring around 24 gigafactories for battery production and eliminating emissions during EV production, which is 80% higher than ICEs.
- More troubling, only 10% of ICEs will align with Euro 7 standards by 2035, risking higher fleet expenses.
Where is Tesla in this picture?
The Apple of EVs, Tesla, followed an ambitious European expansion strategy, reaching 10,000 stalls (connectors) in its European Supercharging network in October 2022.
According to Supercharge.info, Europe has 981 active Supercharger stations, including the UK and Switzerland, providing around 320 km range in 15 minutes (between 72-250Kw). At the beginning of March 2022, Tesla began installing the new fourth-generation (V4) Supercharging stalls, which first appeared in Twitter photos:
Additionally, figures provided by Electricfelix show the average price of charging up your EV at a Tesla Supercharger station looks acceptable, considering the time-effectiveness (as of 14 March):
- Birmingham: €0,43/kWh
- Hilde: €0,52/kWh
- Metz: €0,43/kWh
- Eemne: €0,42/kWh
- Fredericia: €0,38/kWh
- Halmstad: €0,45/kWh
- Grålum: €0,32/kWh
- Eberstalzell: €0,44/kWh
- St.Gallen: €0,54/kWh
- Parma: €0,60/kWh
- Pamplona: €0,52/kWh
- Hartola: €0,33/kWh
However, the essential feat of Tesla is the compatibility with non-Tesla EVs through the Combined Charging System (CCS) Combo 2 adapter. Similarly, Tesla owners in Europe can access third-party CCS2 fast-charging stations. While the availability of standard technologies will significantly boost the electrification process in the EU, the main problem lies in disparity.
Active Tesla Superchargers in Europe.
The disparity problem
- European countries with the most Tesla Superchargers are Germany (164), France (144), the Uk (113), and Norway (94).
- Charging stations in Central and Eastern Europe are well below Western European figures, while some countries are at the beginning: Romania, Greece (6); Bulgaria, Latvia (2); Serbia, Slovakia (3); Luxembourg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein (1).
- Only eight Supercharger stations in Europe (including Germany, Norway and Sweden) currently have over 40 stalls.
The local players dominate the European EV charging station market, but the penetration of Tesla into the market is great news, especially for Western Europe. Statista figures show that the number of total fleet electric passenger cars in the Netherlands surpassed the half million mark in 2022. In Norway, 79.3% of newly sold cars were all-electric in the same year, according to the Norwegian Road Federation. On the other hand, Germany reached a new high in 2022 with total all-electric vehicle sales of over 470.000 cars and passed the one million Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) threshold the same year, the German Institute for Economic Research says.
Yet, there are vital concerns to be addressed to meet the continent’s zero-emission goals:
- The disparity of charging stations across Europe is quite unbalanced, directly impacting EV adoption.
- The EU regulations targeting zero-emission goals may not align perfectly with the market developments and consumer expectations and even may cause disruption,
- Tesla aims to boost the charging capacity of Europe by following the general strategy of expanding in major markets, which doesn’t help other regions.
The market share of BEVs reached 12.1% in the EU last year, and the continent is the manufacturer of over a quarter of global EV production. But the charging network needs to catch up to these figures. The latest report on the European EV market by Ernst & Young summarizes the current dynamics quite accordingly to the information above:
- Forecasts show the European EV charging network will fall behind EV production in the next decade.
- Charging anxiety is becoming one of the main concerns of potential EV owners,
- To meet the European targets, charging point operators, governments, and automotive OEMs shall cooperate.
The EU is determined to reach zero emission, depicted well during the pandemic and supply chain disruptions. Yet, the disparities between countries may cause problems in eliminating ICEs and successfully implementing zero-emission plans.
Main image: Tesla