Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: June 18, 2024
Inés Platini
By Inés Platini
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Charging point deployment dilemma: How does AFIR plan to cover secondary roads?

AFIR stipulates that a fast charging point be installed every 60 kilometer along major European corridors by 2026. However, what about installations in areas with lower traffic?
Charging point deployment dilemma: How does AFIR plan to cover secondary roads?

“Authorities should organize the charging points, as there are areas with high population density where they are installed and others with low usage where nothing is implemented,” says Juan Manuel Moya García.

In dialogue with Mobility Portal España, the Ambassador of the Association of Electric Vehicle Users (AUVE), maintains that the European Infrastructure Regulation for Alternative Fuels (AFIR) is a good solution for this.

However, “it’s for main roads, not for secondary ones.”

Which roads are being referred to? The network formed by all routes under regional, provincial, and municipal ownership.

According to a recent study carried out by Transport&Environment (T&E), 10 per cent of the country’s population lives in 70 per cent of the territory, which makes it essential to have charging points also in unpopulated areas.

The majority of public chargers are located in the provinces that contain the largest cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, ​​which represent only three per cent of the Spanish territory, but concentrate more than 13.4 per cent and 19.5 per cent of the equipment. installed, respectively.

While in other locations, whose area almost doubles that of the Community of Madrid, there are a significantly smaller number of devices.

In this framework, the association maintains that, although the deployment of charging points is adequate in large cities, provincial objectives are not aligned. 

Therefore, it points out that, if the AFIR is applied to the entire territory of a country, as provided, it is essential to implement it in a decentralized manner, dividing the national objective into provincial objectives.

What does it specifically establish?

The Regulation proposes deploying by 2030 at least 3,600 kilowatts (kW) of charging power for heavy transport every 60 kilometers (km) on main roads and 1,500 kW every 100 km on secondary routes. 

“The regulations of the European Union will contribute in part to solving this problem,” highlights Moya García in this sense.

Nevertheless, he adds: “The same measures that have been achieved at the European level could be implemented at the national or regional level to cover the deserted charging areas.”

This will also help eliminate the so-called “refueling” anxiety.

In the third edition of the Rural Decarbonization Observatory prepared by CIDE31 per cent of residents in rural locations claim to have access to public charging infrastructure near their home.

The average distance to these points is approximately three km, considerably greater than the average distance in urban areas, which is less than one km.

It should be noted that in many rural areas, the deployment of infrastructure, especially fast charging, is limited due to the high cost of reinforcing connection networks and the low investment in these areas.

This is an aspect that will also be addressed by the AFIR, which foresees accumulated investments of approximately 1.4 billion euros, allocating nearly 50 per cent to strengthening and expanding the network.

Not only this, but it is also expected to be solved with the European Union (EU) Action Plan for Electricity Grids.

This aims to address the main challenges to expand, digitize and better use the electricity transmission and distribution networks of the EU.

It will also allow the network to be updated, since 40 per cent of European distribution networks are more than 40 years old.

To this end, an investment of approximately 575 billion euros is expected for the year 2050, with Spain being one of the main countries considered to receive subsidies.

All of this will be essential to cover secondary routes, especially as the number of electric vehicle users increases.

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