How to implement a successful EV charging network, financially and technically

How Cities Can Support Successful EV Charging Networks, February 16th, 2019 by , Clean Technica

As part of CleanTechnica’s Cleantech Revolution Tour in Warsaw, Poland, Zachary Shahan began a panel discussion about the hurdles, potential, and best practices of EV charging infrastructure.

His group of panelists constituted truly early adopters and early entrepreneurs in the transition, mostly EV charging leaders who were able to tell more about the difficulties of starting infrastructure, especially when education and change are not apparent to the mass market, and how to make the process smoother, easier, and more efficient.

Understanding the transition at hand well in advance, we should applaud them for their vision, patience, and tenacity — as we also listen to their constructive insights and advice.

The lessons learned and suggestions for future EV charging development and policies are especially important now, with mass-market, long-range, semi-affordable electric car models like the Tesla Model 3, Nissan LEAF e+, Hyundai Kona EV, Kia e-Niro, and others hitting the market.

The Market Is Changing Quickly

With many disruptive, transformative technologies, there’s a dramatic improvement underway for decades or for years under the surface, so to speak, before we get to a visible inflection point in the market. While the technology is improving “under the surface,” one becomes used to slow growth. Consider the old rotary phone that we had to plug into phone wall outlets. Who could have imagined decades ago, when foundational work was well underway, that small independent cell phones with full computer systems would become the norm?

We will see this transition from dirty oil and toxic gas stations to clean energy powering charging infrastructure for our carsshuttles, and buses. Well, some of us already see it.

Zach asked the panel, “We have to be able to efficiently and effectively get charging stations ready for this. So, practically and technically, there are various challenges.

“What are one or two key technical or financial challenges that you think still need to be overcome and work through in this market — either policy wise, politically, or anything else?”


The first speaker, Peter BadikCo-founder & Managing Partner of GreenWay, responds that in his profession, the main one is definitely the utilization.

Utilization is still low. There are large monthly payments just to be connected to the grid and ready to suck the energy at a high rate (not to mention all of the capital investment costs), but people are not using the chargers very often. So, that’s the challenge in the short term.

Zach offers more insight, mentioning Western Europe fast charging leader Fastned. They’re also eating so much money because of relatively low utilization, despite being in some of the hottest EV markets. However, they’re trying to build out as a really adequate network for the mass market. So, it’s really about long-term vision at this point … and money.

Another panelist, ChargePolska co-founder and CTO Matt Tymowski, points out that in the energy storage industry there’s another problem. The TSO taxes storage-connected charging providers for charging and then again for giving energy back to the grid. Eliminating such taxes would help charging companies to get on their feet financially.

Investors × EV Charging Leaders,
Governments × EV Charging Leaders

Zach goes on to say, “I mean, you need investment — but what do you need from this investment? What do you need the investment community to understand or to see — to get that investment?”

Peter explains that some people call it “patience money.” Investors must understand “that this is the time which you simply need to go through,” he added.

“But it’s not only about the investment, it’s about how you set up the market, for example. Since the utilization is so important in the charging infrastructure business, I tend to link any kind of support, any kind of measures from the city, from the government, from DSOs (distribution system operators) … to the number of electric vehicles on the road. Whatever we think, how to help to go through this phase, whatever kind of help, it should be somehow predictable.” Certain things should be in place to stimulate the market until a place reaches 2%, 3%, 5%, 10%, 15% market share — at different milestones, the market will respond and service consumer demand.

Zach responds that there are various measures the governmental side, the city our country, could do to support that market adoption and also EV infrastructure pioneers — they can provide land for free, co-financing (the GreenWay network is co-financed by the EU), or other support structures. Zach asks David Beeton, the CEO of Urban Foresight, about his extensive experience with what cities have done and can do to help charging companies cross the gap.

“I think a challenge cities face is, in an age of austerity, where they have limited resources and finance and expertise to make this happen, why should they spend time investing in infrastructure for electric vehicles ahead of demand?” He explains that it is a difficult. So, they have to really want to make it happen, really want to be champions.

David highlights procurement. For example, where cities own and install the infrastructure but then give companies a license to operate it. Procurement where you bundle infrastructure provision with carsharing operations is an effective solution to hit two policy objectives — more shared mobility and more charging infrastructure. And then there’s simply procuring electric vehicles for your own city government use. Looking at total cost of ownership can often make this financially sensible.

Palmetto city vehicles parked at charging stations at Palmetto city buildings. The spots are free for the public as well.

It could also be a requirement for bus operators, school bus operators, and electric taxi operators in the city — to use a certain portion of zero-emission vehicles.

David notes, “One small related point I’d like to make is I think there’s also a risk when it comes to utilization that operators, such as taxi operators or other mobility service operators start to build up their own private networks. And we’ve already seen companies, like Uber, say that they’re going to build private infrastructure networks so that they can guarantee a recharge when they need it. So obviously that dents the business case for publicly provided infrastructure.”

Zach offers some personal business insight from being a co-founder of Tesla Shuttle. “With Tesla Shuttle, you have to make sure you can get that charge for your next clients, and this is a big challenge when there’s a limited of infrastructure or even where there’s a lot of infrastructures but a lot of use, like in Norway.”

Cities Need To Consider The Cost of Health Care From Pollution

Zach also notes that cities can take into account health costs, and the savings from reduced health costs, when considering EV investments and policies. It is not only a matter of costs, but also public health savings. He asks Lena Artemenko, CEO of Tesla Club Ukraine, to talk more about this.

Lena emphasizes that EV infrastructure businesses are doing society a favor. They are working for a transportation system that is nonviolent to the lungs and immune systems of babies, children, and adults.

Lena relays a time when she was walking with a partner from Norway in India, walking with him in the city center where it was not prohibited to drive vehicles like trucks. A truck came through and a big black cloud of smoke came out of the truck. Lena and her partner said, “Oh my God, he is not thinking about how many illnesses that can produce for those pedestrians that are walking here.”

Zach jumps in, “I’m thinking about it, I’m talking about it every day. It’s really a plague on your mind once you start to think about the health costs and how they could be creating cancer for your 3-year-old daughter, your 1-year-old daughter.” But people, cities, often look at it and just accept the health costs caused by this pollution.

Zach adds that a city in California, Palo Alto, now takes into consideration health costs, climate costs, and other matters along with normal topics of cost-benefit analyses. All city policy decisions have to take these additional matters into account, since they are critical matters for the people living there, as critical as anything else.

Another option is to just ban diesel cars and gasoline cars from cities, or portions of cities.

David Beeton adds, “Yes, it’s complicated. It’s a cultural change. I think that’s the real difficulty. While it might make sense to us, policy is made in silos in government.” He continues to explain that if investments in electric vehicles come from a transportation budget, they don’t really care about these other matters. “It’s not that they don’t care. It’s not something that they are set up to consider. It is not involved in the way they make their decisions. The money for that sits over there and the money for transportation infrastructure sits somewhere else.”

It takes leadership on city councils to say, “everyone has to consider this cost, this public health cost of air pollution.”

Changing Our Mindset

Zach says, “So getting back to the practicality of installing stations, I’ve heard several times from different networks, from Tesla and other networks, the permitting process in Poland was a huge barrier to their entry and really slowed down their entry.” Permitting can be one of the top challenges. In the US as well, permitting and land leasing for good locations are top barriers. “Once charging station networks have solved those, is there anything that can be done at this point, or should be done elsewhere in the region?”

Stefan Blagovisniy, CEO and co-founder of TOKA, says, “I think we should also change the way we think. If we are going to drive electric cars, we should understand what our obligation will be.” Behaviors, patterns, and our expectation of what’s normal will have to change.

Chargers Must Come First — It is Not a Question of the Chicken and the Egg

Lena also answers, “I would like to underline this question about egg & chicken, because we think that this is a measured answer. We need to take the answer that, first of all, we need a lot of chargers. It’s not a question of egg and chicken. First comes chargers, then comes cars. We have statistics that one charger brings 20 cars. People see that it is not just the future. They see, they are starting to investigate what it is, they are interested in this, and so on and so forth.”

Zach agrees: “I see chargers as one of the best marketing tools, and that’s why I very strongly highlight the benefit of good coloring, good lighting.

Lena agrees, “Yes, because it is a kind of advertising.”

Zach, “How many people see a charging station like that and then think, ‘Hey, EVs are coming, EVs are here.’”

Lena points out, “And they are cool.”

Lena adds, “I think that if government, and other social stars, will speak more about electric vehicles, about this problem — more articles, more TV programs, everything like this, more test drives of electric vehicles when opening chargers. We are making private celebration when we are opening a charging station. … We can invite more people and show the cars, make test drives for them, make kind of of fun, and then they just love it, they want to have it.”

Zach said it makes him think of being at the Fastned headquarters in the Netherlands a few years before, “because with every station they opened, they had a disco ball in their office, and they would have a party every time — for the staff. Bring that to the community!”

Global EVRT open new charging station in Abu DhabiPhoto via EVRT Middle East

Old Rules for Gas Stations Confuse the Issue for Clean Energy EV Charging Stations

We also need rules in regulation, Peter Badik adds. Usually, charging are not in the regulations, because they’re new, and then local authorities are not sure which way to go — either requiring a full process, like for a new building, or a small [one], or nothing. “So, the first thing to do is to just get guide laws from a national level saying okay, this is the charger, it’s not going to harm anything. it is not going to leak anything out of it. … You don’t have to require a bunch of things which normally would be required.”

Lena Artemenko adds, “I think it is just more about education.” She explains the need to deliver this information — that EV chargers are safe. “It should be obligatory for developers to make special parking spots with special wall boxes,” with a list of certified manufacturers you can choose from.

For more, watch the entire video of the panel discussion.

Related Stories:

10 EV Charging Tips For Cities — #CleanTechnica Presentation

Inflection Points & True Leadership In The EV Revolution — #CleanTechnica At #Intersolar Middle East

Top EV Incentives, According To EV Drivers — #CleanTechnica Report

Technical & Design Guidelines For EV Charging Infrastructure — #CleanTechnica Report


Standardization Of EV Charging In The EU, by , Clean Technica, February 16th, 2019

On August 1st 2018, I wrote an article for CleanTechnica about new legislation in the UK, relating to electric vehicles and charging. That legislation was only “enabling” legislation, which allows the government to write regulations, but does not create prohibitions or obligations in itself. I promised that I would keep looking for any new developments, and inform you all if I found any. I have found nothing following on from that enabling legislation yet, but have found something very significant in EU legislation, The Alternative Fuels Directive 2014, which has far reaching affects on EV charging infrastructure in the whole of the EU.

EU - Brussels

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The way EU directives work is not to create actual law in any member states, but to oblige member states to produce law which complies with the directive. To say definitively what the law is, stemming from the directive, would require the actual legislation enacted in each member state. I cannot do that, but can refer to the UK law.

It is generally the case that if our Neo-liberal, Tory government produces any regulations which are actually of benefit to anyone (other than Tory Party donors), it is only because the EU has made them do it. (Could be why they are so eager to get out of the EU). I was puzzled by the legislation back in August, as it was quite forward-looking and progressive, and therefore out of character for our government. Now that I have found the EU Directive, which has far-reaching affects on EV charging infrastructure in the whole of the EU, all becomes clear.

This dates back to 2014, but the deadline for member states to create legislation was 18th November 2016. Some obligations were given a date of effect of 18th November 2018, for universal access. So, although this is starting 2014, with deliberations going back before that, the final date of effect in the UK is only a few months ago.

I was originally intending to go through the legislation, and then provide a summary at the end but for the sake of those who just want a quick summary only, I am putting that first.

Main Points of the Legislation

The main provision is that all member states are required to create new law by 18thNovember 2016, and the “starting-gate” for compliance is to be 18th November 2017.  That is to give providers a year to note the requirements and comply.

Those new laws must, as a minimum:

  1. Require all providers of public chargers to include a Mennekes type 2 connector where Level 2 or fast AC charging is made available, and a CCS connector where Level 3 charging is provided. That will only apply to equipment installed or upgraded on or after 18th November 2017. Providers may additionally make any other kinds of connector available. In the UK this is already happening, as most of the Ecotricity rapid-chargers I have used have CCS, CHAdeMO, and fast AC. The Mennekes connector is the universal standard for Level 2 already. CCS is now likely to become the standard in the EU as a result of this legislation, especially as EU manufacturers favor it.

  1. Require providers to enable anyone to use any public charger without having to preregister, or use any unique form of access or method of payment. The ideal would be for everyone to be able to use a credit card to get access, and some new installations are coming with credit card operation, just like a fuel pump. Established providers like Ecotricity have not changed anything in their access system, but I think they are being allowed to get away with saying that anyone can turn up at an Ecotricity charge point and gain access through phoning for assistance, and through downloading the Ecotricity application on their smart phone. That is something of a “fudge” and not what the legislation intended. The legislation is trying to remove all impediments to adoption of electric vehicles. The fragmented provision of charging, governed by commercial competition, is a definite impediment.

  1. Have a plan and strategy regarding the number of charging points, their distribution, and location, to enable drivers of electric vehicles to go everywhere they want to go. This is something I have been saying for a long time, that governments, especially neo-liberal free-market addicts, have allowed an unplanned, fragmented network of chargers to roll-out according to the whims of commercial providers, and not the needs of drivers. So, currently we have far too many chargers concentrated in some areas, far too few in others, and many in the wrong places, and not distributed in any rational manner. The EU had identified the need for this as early as 2010, but has been slow in getting this legislation out.

  1. Require providers to give non-exclusive access to information about their chargers to all. This ensures that individual networks cannot give information only to their signed-up customers. It is already possible to get access to fairly universal information from some sites who make it their business to do so, but this is just to make sure that the needs of drivers are put before the desire of providers to keep commercial secrets.

That is about all really, except that the UK legislation has gone further, and made an additional deadline of 18th November 2018, when all older installations, dating from before the 18th November 2017 deadline, must also allow universal access. Individual states are allowed to make their laws arising from EU directives as draconian as they like, provided they meet the specifications in the directive. In this case the directive did not preclude that, so the UK law is legitimate.

There is also clarification about Tesla chargers. I had originally thought, (or even hoped), that as Tesla chargers are, on the face of it, public chargers, they would have to add CCS, and be accessible to all. However, the definition of “Public Charger” in the Directive specifically excludes discriminatory provision. The wording is fairly confusing using the negative of “non-discriminatory” rather than just “discriminatory,” but it is clear enough that providers like Tesla which provide charging exclusively for Tesla drivers are not considered to be providing “public chargers,” and so the rules do not apply to them.

The Legislation

The following are some extracts from the directive relevant to EV charging.

(Any reference to “Type 2” and “Combo 2” connectors means Mennekes Type 2 for Level 2 and Level 3, AC charging, and CCS for Level 3 DC charging.)

The EU Directive establishes a common framework of measures for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure in the European Union. This is to minimize dependence on oil, and to mitigate the environmental impact of transport. The Directive sets out minimum requirements for the building-up of alternative fuels infrastructure, including recharging points for electric vehicles, and refuelling points for natural gas (LNG, and CNG), and hydrogen, to be implemented by the national governments of Member States.”

Obviously, I am not too happy about the inclusion of LNG and CNG, as they might produce less CO2 and pollution than diesel and gasoline (petroleum), but are still fossil fuels. It is the part on electric vehicle (EV) charging points that I am writing about, and we could hope that the alternatives will fall by the wayside as EVs come into their own.

The objective stated in the Directive at paragraph 2 is:

“The Commission’s White Paper of 28 March 2011 entitled ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area — Towards a Competitive, and Resource Efficient Transport System’ called for a reduction in the dependence of transport on oil. This needs to be achieved by means of an array of policy initiatives, including the development of a sustainable alternative fuels strategy as well as of the appropriate infrastructure. The Commission’s White Paper also proposed a reduction of 60 % in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050, as measured against the 1990 levels.”

I must say I am impressed by this starting in 2011, and this is just the kind of thinking that all governments need to adopt.

In paragraph 9 it says:

“… the lack of a Union-wide harmonised alternative fuel infrastructure hampers the market introduction of vehicles using alternative fuels, and delays their environmental benefits.”

In paragraph 10 it says:

“Fragmentation of the internal market due to uncoordinated market introduction of alternative fuels should be avoided.”

I entirely agree with paragraph 9 and 10. It is what I have been saying myself. Deployment of resources left to market forces alone will be fragmented, disorganized, and in many cases insufficient. All governments need a strategy and a plan as a framework in which providers can work.

In paragraph 23 it states:

“Member States should ensure that recharging points accessible to the public are built up with adequate coverage, in order to enable electric vehicles to circulate at least in urban/suburban agglomerations, and other densely populated areas, and, where appropriate, within [road] networks determined by the Member States. The number of such recharging points should be established taking into account the number of electric vehicles estimated to be registered by the end of 2020 in each Member State. As an indication, the appropriate average number of recharging points should be equivalent to at least one recharging point per 10 cars, also taking into consideration the type of cars, charging technology, and available private recharging points. An appropriate number of recharging points accessible to the public should be installed, in particular at public transport stations, such as port passenger terminals, airports, or railway stations. Private owners of electric vehicles depend to a large extent on access to recharging points in collective parking lots, such as in apartment blocks, and office, and business locations. Public authorities should take measures to assist users of such vehicles by ensuring that the appropriate infrastructure with sufficient electric vehicle recharging points is provided by site developers, and managers.”

So, yes, we definitely need more charging points, but with properly planned distribution and locations.

In paragraph 33 it says:

[The] “Interface to charge electric vehicles could include several socket outlets, or vehicle connectors as long as one of them complies with the technical specifications set out in this Directive, so as to allow multi-standard recharging. However, the choice made in this Directive of Union-wide common connectors for electric vehicles (Type 2, and Combo 2) should not be detrimental to Member States having already invested in the deployment of other standardised technologies for recharging points, and should not affect existing recharging points deployed before the entry into force of this Directive.”

So, they are saying that charging points can have multiple connector types, but must always provide a Mennekes 2 connector for Level 2 charging and for fast AC charging, and a CCS connector for DC rapid charging where any rapid charging is provided. Mennekes is already an international standard for EV charging, and this Directive is likely to make CCS the standard for rapid charging in the EU.

In paragraph 52 it states:

“In light of the increasing diversity in the type of fuels for motorised vehicles, it is necessary to provide vehicle users with data regarding the geographic location of the refuelling, and recharging points accessible to the public of alternative fuels covered by this Directive. Therefore, when companies, or internet sites provide this information, it should be accessible on an open, and non-discriminatory basis to all users.”

This is saying that where information about charging is provided it cannot only be available to subscribers, but should be available to all.

The next part is for definitions, which are important for the correct interpretation of directions. I only include those relating to EV charging points.


For the purpose of this Directive, the following definitions apply:

    1. alternative fuels’ means fuels, or power sources which serve, at least partly, as a substitute for fossil oil sources in the energy supply to transport, and which have the potential to contribute to its decarbonisation, and enhance the environmental performance of the transport sector. They include, inter alia: — electricity, — hydrogen, — biofuels as defined in point (i) of Article 2 of Directive 2009/28/EC, — synthetic, and paraffinic fuels, — natural gas, including biomethane, in gaseous form (compressed natural gas (CNG)), and liquefied form (liquefied natural gas (LNG)), and — liquefied petroleum gas (LPG);

    1. electric vehicle’ means a motor vehicle equipped with a power-train containing at least one non-peripheral electric machine as energy converter with an electric rechargeable energy storage system, which can be recharged externally;

    2. recharging point’ means an interface that is capable of charging one electric vehicle at a time, or exchanging a battery of one electric vehicle at a time;

    3. normal power recharging point’ means a recharging point that allows for a transfer of electricity to an electric vehicle with a power less than, or equal to 22 kW, excluding devices with a power less than, or equal to 3,7 kW, which are installed in private households, or the primary purpose of which is not recharging electric vehicles, and which are not accessible to the public;

Point 4 refers to Level 2 charging, and clarifies that it does not include Level 1 charging from an ordinary domestic power socket.

    1. high power recharging point’ means a recharging point that allows for a transfer of electricity to an electric vehicle with a power of more than 22 kW;

So, “high power recharging point” is close to what we would think of as Level 3 rapid charging, and includes AC fast charging above 22 kW, which is normally delivered at 43 kW, and any DC rapid charger.

    1. ……..

    2. recharging, or refuelling point accessible to the public’ means a recharging, or refuelling point to supply an alternative fuel which provides Union-wide non-discriminatory access to users. Non-discriminatory access may include different terms of authentication, use, and payment;

The Directive would not be intended to apply to private chargers, but only to chargers intended for use by the general public. Rather than leaving the meaning of “public charger” open, they have attempted to define it in point 7. “Union-wide access” simply means available to be used by any EU citizen, exercising their right to freedom of movement within the EU, or a citizen of the member state. “Non-discriminatory access” would suggest that a charger which is intended for use by an exclusive group, thereby discriminating against other users, would not be classed as a “public charger.” Where they say “Non-discriminatory access may include ….” etc, they seem to be saying that different terms of authentication, use, and payment would not count as discriminatory. That makes it clear that different charging networks from different providers with different methods of authentication, use, and payment, would still be “public chargers.” Tesla chargers, on the other hand, would not count as “public chargers” because they have discriminatory access for Tesla drivers only. Also your own Level 2 charger, being for your exclusive private use, and with no “Union-wide access,” is not a “public charger”

Article 4 – Electricity supply for transport

1. Member States shall ensure, by means of their national policy frameworks, that an appropriate number of recharging points accessible to the public are put in place by 31 December 2020, in order to ensure that electric vehicles can circulate at least in urban/suburban agglomerations, and other densely populated areas, and, where appropriate, within [road] networks determined by the Member States.

The number of such recharging points shall be established taking into consideration, inter alia, the number of electric vehicles estimated to be registered by the end of 2020, as indicated in their national policy frameworks, as well as best practices, and recommendations issued by the Commission. Particular needs related to the installation of recharging points accessible to the public at public transport stations shall be taken into account, where appropriate.

4. Member States shall ensure that normal power recharging points for electric vehicles, excluding wireless, or inductive units, deployed, or renewed as from 18 November 2017, comply at least with the technical specifications set out in point 1.1 of Annex II, and with specific safety requirements in force at national level.

Member States shall ensure that high power recharging points for electric vehicles, excluding wireless, or inductive units, deployed, or renewed as from 18 November 2017, comply at least with the technical specifications set out in point 1.2 of Annex II.

9. All recharging points accessible to the public shall also provide for the possibility for electric vehicle users to recharge on an ad hoc basis without entering into a contract with the electricity supplier, or operator concerned.

10. Member States shall ensure that prices charged by the operators of recharging points accessible to the public are reasonable, easily, and clearly comparable, transparent, and non-discriminatory.

Member States shall ensure that, when available, the data indicating the geographic location of the refuelling, and recharging points accessible to the public of alternative fuels covered by this Directive are accessible on an open, and non-discriminatory basis to all users. For recharging points, such data, when available, may include information on real- time accessibility as well as historical, and real-time charging information.

Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations, and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 18 November 2016.

It is paragraph 9 above which requires universal access by any EV driver to any public charger, though “ad hoc” as a term is not very precise, so making the provision less effective than it might have been.

Technical specifications for recharging points

1.1. Normal power recharging points for motor vehicles

Alternating current (AC) normal power recharging points for electric vehicles shall be equipped, for interoperability purposes, at least with socket outlets, or vehicle connectors of Type 2 as described in standard EN 62196-2. While maintaining the Type 2 compatibility, those socket outlets may be equipped with features such as mechanical shutters.

1.2. High power recharging points for motor vehicles

Alternating current (AC) high power recharging points for electric vehicles shall be equipped, for interoperability purposes, at least with connectors of Type 2 as described in standard EN 62196-2.

Direct current (DC) high power recharging points for electric vehicles shall be equipped, for interoperability purposes, at least with connectors of the combined charging system ‘Combo 2’ as described in standard EN 62196-3.

As I have already explained, this means that all providers of public chargers are to include a Mennekes type 2 connector where Level 2 charging or fast AC is made available, and a CCS connector where Level 3 charging is provided.

The UK implementation of the law is the The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017.

Apart from specifics about penalties for non-compliance of up to £4000 per rapid charger, and the requirement for all providers to make their chargers universally accessible from 18th November 2018, it follows the directive as I have already described.  Each member state will have implemented this directive in their own domestic law by now.