17 September 2020

Time for the EU to help deploy smart charging capacities for electric vehicles – ECOS views

Responding to a series of EU consultations on infrastructure policy and the EU's vision on sustainable mobility by 2050, ECOS presented its views on the need for direct electrification.

 Becoming a zero-carbon society means getting rid of fossil fuels as soon as possible. This can only be achieved if as many sectors as possible are quickly electrified. In support of this transition it is key to effectively roll out smart infrastructure for electric vehicle (EV) charging.

In an electrified economy, maintaining a stable electricity grid will be essential – and electric vehicles have an important role to play – it is time for Europe to fully capitalise on the potential of smart charging.

What is it? Through smart charging EVs can be ordered to charge when demand for energy is low (so-called ‘demand-side flexibility’), while returning energy to the grid when demand peaks (so-called ‘vehicle-to-grid’ service).

While large scale, interoperable deployment of this technology is still awaiting the finalisation of appropriate standards, it is essential for EU charging and grid infrastructure policy to prepare the ground.

Furthermore, to enhance the stability of the grid the rules governing the EU electricity market (so-called ‘network-codes’), it should accommodate for the demand-side flexibility services of a growing EV fleet. Promoting these views, ECOS provided its expert insights to a European Commission consultation on network codes, meant to set the priorities for the next three years.

We strongly believe that the European Union should support the deployment of a network of interoperable smart charging stations, suitable for all brands and types of vehicles. We shared these views with the European Commission, responding to the consultation on the revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID), which sets a framework for public and semi-public EV charging stations in Europe.

AFID should set minimum technical requirements facilitating interoperable smart charging, and these should be supported by appropriate standards. Furthermore, commercial properties such as offices or car parks should provide (smart) charging infrastructure while EV manufacturers should give access to all documentation needed to encourage smart charging.

A clean grid for clean cars

For electric vehicles to really contribute to a zero-emission world, the electricity grid must be decarbonised, interoperable, smart and stable – issues covered by the Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) Regulation, for which the Commission also ran a public consultation. In our input, we argued for investments in smart charging projects, and a halt to financing fossil energy infrastructure.

In response to the Commission’s preliminary outline of its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, ECOS argued for a reduction to the overall environmental footprint of the transport sector. It should be guided by the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle: less and better transport through maximum direct electrification and a modal shift towards zero-emission mobility, prioritising the most sustainable means of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport. By the end of September, we will provide our input to the dedicated consultation on the Strategy.

To date, and in line with our call, the European Commission has indicated its intention to issue a standardisation request for a vehicle-to-grid standard. 

ECOS will continue working on essential EV smart charging standards and monitoring policy developments so large-scale electrification becomes reality.

ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

Website by