The European Commission announced that it has granted approval under the EU state aid rules for the roll-out of a network of infrastructure for charging electric vehicles in Germany. The German Federal government will invest €300 million over the next four years in order to promote the installation of new standard and high-speed charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as the extension of the existing infrastructure. The regulation, and with that the public funds, will be open for companies, consumers and public authorities for the next four years. The funding will be awarded pursuant to open and transparent tendering procedures.
The scheme includes a requirement that the electricity for the charging infrastructure comes from renewable energy sources.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of EU competition policy, said that “Electric vehicles can provide real benefits to society by reducing harmful emissions and noise pollution. The German support scheme will encourage consumers and businesses to use electric vehicles. It will provide the necessary infrastructure in a cost-effective way in line with EU state aid rules”.
In recent years, the European Commission has approved similar public investments in electric vehicle infrastructure in other countries, most notably Denmark and the Netherlands.
In the UK, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles offers a range of grant schemes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as well as financial incentives on drivers to switch to electric vehicles. Figures published by the Department for Transport indicate that the number of new ultra low emissions vehicles on Britain’s roads has risen by more than 250% in the last two years.
As these exciting markets grow and mature, it will be interesting to monitor the extent to which European governments reduce their level of direct intervention and allow market forces and innovations to determine future infrastructure developments.