The introduction of the Renault ZOE at the end of 2012 and the Volkswagen Golf in 2013 — two electric vehicles (EVs) that could have mass-market appeal — should dramatically increase consumer interest in EVs in Europe, and spur investment from companies looking to provide charging infrastructure.
According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant's Energy Practice, the market for electric vehicle supply equipment will grow rapidly in Europe over the remainder of the decade, with annual sales of equipment growing from less than 47,000 units in 2012 to nearly 900,000 in 2020. By 2020, the study concludes, there will be more than four million charging stations, both commercial and residential, operating across Europe.
"In many ways, Europe is the ideal market for electric vehicles," says research director John Gartner. "European consumers, accustomed to smaller city cars and driving shorter distances, are expected to shift to EVs at a more rapid pace than motorists in North America. Also, because more Europeans live in multi-unit dwellings, commercial charging equipment is likely to be more prevalent there than in North America."
One factor that could limit the spread of EVSE, according to the report, is the great variety between countries in terms of regulations, government support for EVs and charging infrastructure, and technologies.
The absence of a single, region-wide alternating current EV charging connector standard has hampered the deployment of EV charging infrastructure. The European Union must address these country-specific variations if the EV market is to thrive, the report finds.