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Eleport to triple station infrastructure in Poland by 2024

AUTOMOTIVEEleport to triple station infrastructure in Poland by 2024

According to the AFIR EU regulation, electric vehicle charging stations have to be located every 60 km along the main transport routes of the TEN-T network in EU countries, and their power is set to increase to 400 kW by 2025. This means that about 160 new stations will need to be built in Poland. Experts believe this will be challenging and costly, as routes are often located far from the power grid. There is also a lack of support tools for such investments – both financial and legislative. Acceleration in this process is necessary, as today the number of electric cars is growing much faster than the number of charging points.

The PEVO Index prepared by PSPA, IBRM Samar, and OTOMOTO indicates that as of the end of 2023, the total number of fully electric vehicles (BEV) registered in Poland was almost 57,000. Their share in the market of new passenger cars was 3.6%. In 2023, the number of publicly accessible charging points increased by over a third (1.5 thousand). In total, there were 5.9 thousand publicly accessible points in Poland at the end of last year, including 4.4 thousand AC (+29% YoY) and 1.5 thousand fast DC stations (52% YoY).

Charging infrastructure will significantly expand by 2035, especially as only zero-emission vehicles will be allowed for sale from 2035 across the European Union. Access to this infrastructure will be simplified, among other things, by a greater number of options for paying for charging sessions, suggests Cezary Kowalczyk, a board member responsible for operations at Eleport, an Estonian company that is building an electric vehicle charging network in Central and Eastern Europe.

The EU’s AFIR regulation on alternative fuels, which was enacted last year, will help the vision become a reality. The new rules will come into effect on April 13, 2024. Every 60 km along the main corridors of the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), fast-charging stations for passenger and delivery vehicles with a power of at least 150 kW will have to be installed in member states. Public charging zones must reach a power of 400 kW by 2025 and at least 600 kW by 2027.

In Poland, this will affect about 160 locations. It will be a big challenge to bring connection power directly to these locations, as they are usually in less urbanized areas. Building a power connection in such places can take a lot of time and cost, grades Kowalczyk.

The “Polish EV Outlook 2023” report shows that in the first half of 2023, there were only 31 new chargers along the Polish section of the TEN-T network, meaning the pace of expansion of such devices can hardly be considered satisfactory.

The report also notes that the charging infrastructure in Poland is developing at a slow pace. This is indicated by the fulfilment of obligations relating to the minimum number of points, as provided for in the electromobility law. In 2023, only 10 out of 37 local governments required to do so met their targets, even though the deadline for their implementation was three years ago. Poland ranks among the last in the EU in terms of the development of both a fleet of zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure. This is largely due to insufficient support.

The charging infrastructure support program has been ineffective, according to the report’s authors. The first call under the program ended in March 2022, and as of November 2023, many beneficiaries were still waiting to sign financing agreements, as a result of which some entities suspended further investments while waiting for subsidies.

The process of launching new charging points can take up to three years, while the increase in the number of electric cars is three times greater than the growth in charging infrastructure. Therefore, support tools for such investments are undoubtedly needed. The problem is that funding sources are lacking.

Future technologies could involve V2G, or direct use of electrical energy from electric cars for buildings or other home installations. It is already possible to use electric cars as a kind of home storage.

In the future, it is also likely that inductive charging of electric cars will be possible, but this requires further infrastructural investments. This is not a prospect for the next five or 10 years, however.

As the charging station network develops, solutions that streamline the process of billing for the use of chargers will appear in the near future. An innovation introduced by the current AFIR regulation is the implementation of payment terminals, which will simplify access to charging infrastructure and make it easier to pay for charging sessions using RFID cards, applications, or payment terminals.

Eleport, which has been present in the Polish market since last year, plans to triple its station infrastructure in the country by 2024. This means a total of 1,5 thousand locations in Poland.

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