The shift towards electric cars and other vehicles (ev:s) has only just begun. One part of the equation is cars with increasingly powerful batteries and increased mileage, another is establishing an effective charging infrastructure along the roads.
Currently (April 2021) both the Nordics and the Netherlands have come a long way in realizing this transformation. Tobias Henmark is the Nordic Managing Director of Allego. Allego´s head office is based in Amsterdam, is one of Europe’s leading providers of charging network and EV cloud services.
“So far we have established more than 25,000 own charge points across Europe (including 2,200 fast charging outlets), and we continue to expand the network at record speed. We are leading the race in the Benelux countries, and in Germany, we are now in the top 4. This year Allego plan to commissioning one of the biggest networks in France as well. To name a few. In the Nordic region, we will begin a major rollout within the next couple of months. Beyond our own network investments and services, we are also coordinating several major fast and ultrafast charge projects for clients as a sales and service.”
Fast and superfast charging
According to Tobias Henmark, a modern charging network along all major roads and to make it simpler to initiate a charging session is essential to make electric vehicles the first choice for everyday customers:
“The first generation ev:s had an effective range of 200 kilometers or so which was often enough for everyday commuting, charging the car at home overnight and at work during the day. Now, with ever more powerful batteries, more all-electric cars on the roads, fast and ultrafast-charging stations, electric charging is required everywhere. In a country like Sweden, the early generation network could claim to cover some 60 percent of the roads. But the demand for fast and superfast is rising, and that’s where we come in.”
In terms of sustainability, most researchers and political decision-makers now seem to agree that the evolution from fossil fuel to ev:s is a step in the right direction. Critics have pointed out battery manufacturing as a major polluter. Says Tobias Henmark:
“There used to be some truth behind such statements, but technology and manufacturing outside China is evolving fast. The general view is that the benefit of electric cars vs gasoline and diesel is already 20 to 30 percent, and growing steadily. I may drive a Tesla but my personal interest in ev:s lies in my contributing to the environmental aspects, not in cool technology.”
The establishing of a Europe-wide network of roadside charging stations requires huge financial resources. Besides dedicated charging companies and infra-investment funds, major players include car manufacturers like Tesla, Daimler Benz, and Hyundai, energy companies like BP and Shell.