New EU legislation changes the charging of electric cars

by Ann-Britt Rognes


Electrical vehicle charging
How many apps do you have on your phone to charge your electric car? Today, every operator of fast-charging services has its own app, which makes charging needlessly complicated and causes many people to struggle with paying at the recharging station. It is not uncommon to have more than 10 apps in order to charge an electric car. The number of apps makes it unnecessarily difficult for consumers.

Should it really be so difficult to recharge an electric car on a trip?  According to the EU, the answer is no.  In their work on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure directive (2014/94) the EU adopts simpler payment for recharging of electric cars.

The solution adopted by the EU means that you can use your favourite app to pay at all recharging stations. The EU decision will require operators of recharging services to allow "e-roaming", which means that you can choose which app you use to start, stop and pay for charging at all recharging stations throughout the European Union. Roaming is an important step on the way to "plug and charge", where the driver of an electric car connects the charging cable to the car, and then the system arranges the payment automatically without the driver needing to intervene.

The provision dealing with e-roaming reads 'Operators of recharging points shall, when they offer automatic authentication at a publicly accessible recharging point operated by them, ensure that end users always have the right not to make use of the automatic authentication and may either recharge their vehicle on an ad hoc basis, as provided for in paragraph 3, or use another contract-based recharging solution offered at that recharging point. Operators of recharging points shall transparently display that option and offer it in a convenient manner to the end user, and shall ensure that e-roaming is available, at each publicly accessible recharging point that they operate and where they make available automatic authentication.'

Furthermore, EU rules state that users of alternative fuel vehicles should be able to pay easily and conveniently at all publicly accessible recharging and refuelling points, without the need to enter into a contract with the operator of the recharging or refuelling point or a mobility service provider. The customer should be able to use their payment card. That ad hoc payment method should always be available to consumers, even when contract-based payments are offered. It was therefore decided that operators shall accept electronic payments through terminals and devices used for payment services, including at least payment card readers or devices with a contactless functionality that is able to read payment cards. In Norway, this means that approximately 4,000 charging points must have payment readers retrofitted.

The EU Parliament adopted its position on 19 October 2022.  The changes will, according to the EU, be enacted no later than 2027. The new rules are part of the "Fit for 55 in 2030 package", the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

These changes regarding payment for the recharging of electric cars is a major breakthrough for more consumer-friendly recharging. However that the recharging operators must prepare themselves for change and open up for e-roaming.  

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