New legislation will encourage the growth of public charging infrastructure but does it solve existing driver pain points?

6 minute read

Sustained policy support has been one of the main drivers of rising Electric Vehicle (EV) sales over the last few years. Now, a growing number of municipalities are introducing further legislation that will expand the existing public charging infrastructure, however, the highly fragmented industries involved, and poor POI data, means driver experiences are unlikely to improve. Automakers now have a responsibility to their customers who have embraced their EV powertrains to improve their charging experiences and deliver the seamless ‘electric lifestyle’ that was promised. 

According to the IEA, overall public spending on EV subsidies and incentives doubled in 2021 to nearly $30 billion. However, despite growing sales, poor public fast-charging infrastructure is still a barrier to full EV adoption due to range and public charging anxiety for the one-third of potential EV owners, who are not able to charge their vehicles at home. 

Growing EV sales

Most countries have now set ambitious vehicle electrification targets, with many UN members agreeing to go all-electric by 2040 at the last United Nations Climate Change Conference. Many also encourage purchases with incentives such as discounted vehicles, free parking and tax reductions. As such, 6.6 million fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold last year, more than double the number from the previous year, taking the global total to 16.5 million, three times the number from just three years ago. 

Despite supply chain challenges, the industry shows no signs of slowing down, as more than 2 million units were sold globally in Q1 2022, a 75% increase in sales from the same period last year. China is currently the leading market, with sales in the country tripling to 3.3 million in 2021 - accounting for half of all global sales. Sales in Europe also increased in this period by 65% to 2.3 million, and more than doubled in the US to 630 000. 

As many as 70% of drivers are now also considering an EV as their next vehicle, and, in response to the growing demand, many automakers are already electrifying their entire line-ups, with 450 electric models now available globally, five times as many that were on the market in 2015. However, poor quality data for public charging, combined with conflicting and difficult-to-use software and apps are leaving automakers unable to confidently provide drivers with accurate charger location and key information, which is compounding the existing public charging issues and deterring drivers away from EVs. 

Growing EV charging infrastructure 

There are currently around 224,237 EV charging stations across Europe, however, distribution is not spread evenly across the continent. 70% are located within just three countries - the Netherlands, France and Germany - together, these countries make up just 23% of the EU’s total surface area. In the US, there are just 122,000 Level 2 and DC fast-charging connector charging ports at 48,000 locations across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, with almost one-third located in just one state - California. 

The European Union (EU) aims to install 1.3 million public chargers by 2025, and close to 3 million by 2030 to help ease charging pressures and to decrease CO2 emissions, yet, according to ACEA, at least 6 million are needed to achieve the EU’s goal of cutting 50% CO2 emissions by 2030.

The recently proposed Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) in the EU also requires parking spaces to be pre-wired for EV chargers, as well as pre-cabling for the installation of private chargers in all new buildings and buildings undergoing extensive renovations, while new and renovated non-residential buildings, will also be equipped with a minimum number of installed charging points. 

In the US, municipalities such as Los Angeles and Hamakua, have introduced legislation which requires off-street parking facilities to house a minimum number of EV chargers, after recent surveys of residents found that the lack of charging options was a limiting factor in their potential purchase of an EV. In Vancouver, a similar scheme will see 30% of gas stations, and 40% of parking lots install chargers by 2030 - increasing the total number of chargers within the city by more than 100, at no further cost to the state, while also generating funds that can be reinvested in further climate initiatives, as businesses who are not opting into the scheme will be charged an annual licence fee of $10,000, expected to total $1.7 million.

Public charging challenges

An increasing number of publicly available charging points may help to alleviate the biggest barrier to mass EV adoption, however, drivers still have difficulty finding and accessing these chargers with the existing inaccurate POI information provided. Many new additional charging points will also be housed within parking facilities where GPS navigation is not available, which may result in drivers still not being able to find or navigate to available EV charging. 

Parkopedia’s ‘Park and Charge’ service leverages our highly accurate and complete POI dataset of more than 70 million parking spaces, alongside our existing in-house expertise, technologies and data-management skills, to deliver the most comprehensive and accurate charging service available. 

We are the only provider covering parking and charging POI data that continually validates our dataset by sending ground teams to each location for verification. We also regularly carry out Ground Truth Testing in partnership with leading research firms, with recent testing completed in both China and the US, confirming Parkopedia as the leading provider of the most accurate and complete data across both countries. 

‘Hidden’ EV chargers and frictionless payments

Despite sustained policy support, incentives for EV drivers, and now infrastructure growth, the public charging experience is still far from frictionless. Even when drivers are finally able to conveniently locate an available charger, activation and payments are also a cause of frustration for many. With Park and Charge, our industry-leading POI parking data allows for accurate location geofencing, and when coupled with our In-car Payment Platform - enables public charging activations and payments utilising Parkopedia’s secure single sign-on capabilities. This solves the time-consuming and expensive task for automakers of aggregating a large number of suppliers or providers and enables us to provide vehicle-centric payments including EV charging for an end-to-end frictionless public charging experience. 

With vehicles needing to be parked in order to charge, and with parking facilities taking up as much as one-third of ground-level space in cities, this has increased demand for space-optimising indoor and underground options greatly. Demand is particularly high in smart cities, where on-street parking is being reduced to accommodate greener living, with wider roads built to improve traffic flow and incorporate growing last-mile services. This decrease in on-street parking will inevitably see more EV chargers moved into indoor parking facilities. 

Parkopedia is the only supplier of a navigation solution for indoor EV chargers that will be housed within existing parking facilities where traditional navigation via GPS is not available, such as in underground or multi-story parking facilities. When combined with Park and Charge, our indoor mapping technology allows drivers to find ‘hidden’ EV charging stations, as well as the most likely available parking space. This minimises the overall journey time or maximises available electric  range, by optimising a multi-modal route consisting of driving and walking directions, and ensures accurate directions for the driver directly to chargers anywhere within the parking facility.

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