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Polish E-Car Boom Outpaces Charger Growth: Infrastructure Lags Demand

AUTOMOTIVEPolish E-Car Boom Outpaces Charger Growth: Infrastructure Lags Demand

By the end of January 2024, there were already more than 52,000 fully electric private cars on Polish roads. The sales of electric cars have been bolstered by the dynamic development of the charging network – the number of charging points currently exceeds 6,000, with fast chargers accounting for approximately 25%. However, the rate of their increase is slower than the sales of electric cars. Experts also point out that we lag behind in the development of the charging network compared to other countries in our region. Of the 120 proposals presented in February by the industry for stimulating electromobility, 30 relate to public and private charging infrastructure.

“The electric car charging point market is developing very fast, currently increasing at a rate of 30-40% year on year. However, when we look directly at trends related to the increase in the number of electric cars, purely electric, we can talk about a trend reaching even 60% year on year,” Cezary Kowalczyk, a member of the Board for Operations in the Eleport Group, emphasized in an interview with the Newseria Biznes agency.

According to the Electromobility Counter, launched by PZPM and PSPA, the number of private cars with an electric drive exceeded 100,000 by the end of January, of which 52,000 were fully electric vehicles (BEV), and 48,000 were plug-in hybrids (PHEV). This represents an increase of 52% and 48%, respectively, compared to January 2023. If we also consider fully electric vans and trucks, the pace of their increase is 62% on an annual basis. The number of electric buses, as well as hybrid passenger and delivery cars, is also steadily growing.

“This is a very good result, particularly when stacked up against the increase in charging stations, which unfortunately is not keeping up with the increase in electric cars. This means that the gap between the increase in electric cars and the increase in infrastructure will only deepen,” the expert said.

At the end of January this year, there were 6086 publicly accessible electric vehicle charging points in Poland (3362 stations). Almost 30% of them were fast DC charging points, and 63% were slow AC points of equal to or less than 22kW power. Their growth rate was 27% and 73% respectively. The number of BEVs per charger increased from about four in 2019 to almost ten in 2024.

“Unfortunately, we still compare poorly to our neighbours in terms of the number of charging points in Poland. For example, compared to the Lithuanian market, which has 15 points per 100,000 inhabitants, in Poland there are 10 points per 100,000 inhabitants. We still have half as many charging points per 100,000 inhabitants as Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which does not significantly promote electromobility, although the growth dynamics of this sector are still very large,” admits Cezary Kowalczyk.

PSPA experts add that Poland also lags behind in the share of new BEV cars in the overall fleet of vehicles (4%). The EU average is three times higher than in Poland, and other countries in our region, such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, or Romania, also have a larger share.

“Poland looks similar to other neighboring countries in terms of fast charging points. If we compared ourselves to Scandinavian countries, there are definitely fewer in Poland. For example, Norway has 33% of fast charging stations in the whole mix, in Poland we speak around 25% of our entire charging infrastructure,” says the operating manager at the Eleport Group.

According to the data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), in terms of the number of electric car charging points, with a score below one charger per 100 km of roads, Poland is one of the last places in the EU. Additionally, their distribution is a problem. Most charging points are located in large agglomerations.

“We have enough charging stations to travel from north to south and from east to west, although it is still not comfortable,” notes the expert. “The vast majority of charging stations in Poland are concentrated around the Warsaw agglomeration, Tricity, or the southern part of Poland. Trends in electromobility first take hold in large cities, and only then gradually spread to cities around 100,000 and below.”

The PSPA analysis “White Paper of New Mobility”, which covers more than 120 proposals for regulatory and systemic changes, indicates that one of the main reasons for the relatively slow development of electromobility in Poland is imperfect law and numerous administrative barriers. Regulations often do not take into account current market conditions and are implemented with significant delays. As a result, for example, the PSPA reports that the launch of DC chargers in our country currently takes the longest in Europe – even more than two years. More than 30 of the 120 proposals put forward by experts concern public and private charging infrastructure. A lot of space is also devoted to tax incentives.

“The biggest problem of the Polish market in terms of stimulating it by government institutions is the lack of stability in funding, both for electric cars and charging infrastructure. If we run various programs subsidizing the development of electromobility, they should be predictable and scalable to some extent in the long run. The biggest problem was any kind of unpredictability when the appropriate programs will be available for consumers or charging station operators,” persuades Cezary Kowalczyk.

Eleport in Poland manages over 250 charging points and is in the process of investing in over 700 more locations with a total power of 80 MW. In the coming years, it will install 90 ultra-fast charging stations with a power of 150 kW in Poland. On its four key markets – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland – the company had a total of over 500 charging points at the end of 2023, an increase of 400% compared to the end of 2022.

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