Regulation on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure
The European Commission’s “Fit for 55” legislation package also includes proposals for amendments to the Directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure, which will now take the form of a regulation.
Oesterreichs Energie takes a positive view of the intention to harmonise the minimum requirements for the deployment of alternative-fuel infrastructure by implementing the legislation in the form of a regulation as opposed to a directive.
The proposal is based on four pillars, which in the opinion of Oesterreichs Energie all represent key components in ensuring the success of e-mobility:
- Ensuring sufficient infrastructure by setting minimum requirements
- Improving and safeguarding interoperability
- Ensuring user-friendliness of infrastructure
- Ensuring integration of electric vehicles
Promoting e-mobility requires changes to recharging infrastructure, as well as suitable vehicles. The electricity sector both builds and operates recharging infrastructure, as well as ensuring reliable supplies of electricity for e-vehicles, so the industry makes a significant contribution to the success of the market.
On the whole, a reliable regulatory framework is required so that effective investment decisions can be taken while also safeguarding planning certainty.
Our opinions on individual provisions in the Commission proposal for a Regulation on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure, repealing Directive 2014/94/EU (COM  559 final) are set out below:
Article 2: Definitions
Oesterreichs Energie wishes to point out that in Article 2(31of the proposal, a “normal power recharging point” is defined as a recharging point with a power output of up to 22 kW. However, under Austrian regulations, a power output of up to 11 kW applies to normal recharging, for instance, as defined in the standardized technical connection requirements for connecting to the public grid of the energy supply companies up to 1.000 Volt (Technische Anschlussbedingungen für den Anschluss an öffentliche Versorgungsnetze mit Betriebsspannungen bis 1000 Volt, TAEV)).
Article 3 and Article 4: Targets for electric recharging infrastructure
Articles 3 and 4 define the minimum coverage of publicly accessible recharging points dedicated to light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles to be ensured in the respective member states, including along the TEN-T core and comprehensive networks. The draft regulation sets out mandatory targets for the deployment and minimum power output of infrastructure for alternative fuels (including electric recharging infrastructure).
Under these provisions, the member states must ensure that a total power output of at least 1 kW is provided through publicly accessible recharging stations for each battery electric light-duty vehicle registered in their territory, and a total power output of at least 0.66 kW is provided through publicly accessible recharging stations for each plug-in hybrid light-duty vehicle registered in their territory.
Furthermore, from 2025 recharging infrastructure (“pools”) with a total power output of at least 300 kW (including at least one recharging station with an individual power output of at least 150 kW) must be provided every 60km along the TEN-T core network. By 2030 this will also apply to the TEN-T comprehensive network, while on the core network, recharging pools with a total power output of at least 600 kW (including at least one recharging station with an individual power output of at least 150 kW) must be provided every 60km.
In addition, high-performance recharging points must be installed in public parking areas and urban nodes.
For heavy-duty vehicles, publicly accessible recharging pools with a total power output of at least 1,400 kW (including at least one recharging station with an individual power output of at least 350 kW) must be provided every 60km along the TEN-T core network by 2025. This will also apply to the TEN-T comprehensive network from 2030, with a maximum of 100 km between recharging pools. By 2030, member states must also provide recharging pools with a total power output of at least 3,500 kW (including at least one recharging station with an individual power output of at least 350 kW) on the core network.
Therefore, frameworks must be created at both the European and national levels to ensure the needs-based deployment of recharging infrastructure.
For this purpose, a dynamic support framework is required that can be adapted flexibly to geographical and time-based requirements. For example, support payments for national recharging infrastructure as a whole should be implemented in such a way that the de minimis regulations do not apply to them. Additionally, the need for cross-border e-mobility infrastructure should be taken into consideration as part of the TEN-T funding programme.
Article 5: Recharging infrastructure
Article 5 contains additional provisions aimed at ensuring the user friendliness of recharging infrastructure. These include provisions on payment options, price transparency and consumer information, non-discriminatory practices, smart recharging, and signposting rules for electricity supply to recharging points. Oesterreichs Energie takes differing views of the details of the various provisions.
The proposed amendments regarding uniform payment instruments will play an important part in enhancing acceptance of e-mobility and promoting the growth of the market. They will make recharging e-vehicles significantly easier and more customer-friendly.
Experience shows that ad hoc payment is primarily used at fast recharging points, while contract-based payment is widely used at recharging points with lower power output. Therefore, Oesterreichs Energie fully supports the Commission’s current proposal. Calls for a general obligation to install card readers at all recharging points should be rejected, because this would incur substantial costs without generating significant added value for customers, and ultimately make recharging unduly expensive.
Oesterreichs Energie believes there is a need for clarification regarding the provision that requires digital displays showing price information. Assurance is needed as to whether showing information on a separate digital display, for example on a mobile phone or in a vehicle, is also permitted. Upgrading existing recharging infrastructure by installing digital displays would again result in excessively high costs.
We reject the proposed obligation to display the price per kilometre at the recharging point, as this is not feasible. The cost of the electricity required for the vehicle to cover one kilometre is heavily dependent on vehicle type and individual driving behaviour. Recharging point operators are simply unable to display such a price. Consequently, this provision should be removed.
Summing up, the legal requirements for recharging infrastructure must remain stable over the long term, in order to facilitate ongoing infrastructure expansion.
Article 18: Data provisions
Article 18 of the draft regulation states that certain types of data must be made available at no cost. These include static and dynamic data such as the ad hoc price and information on whether a recharging point is in use.
In principle, care must be taken to ensure that the requirements for providing information do not place a burden solely on infrastructure operators. Instead, the requirements must be implemented as part of a holistic approach that also includes vehicle-related requirements and the vehicle manufacturers (OEMs). .
Further to these comments, we would also like to outline our views on two points in the proposed RED III that are relevant in this regard:
Article 20a RED III: Smart recharging for non-publicly available recharging points
The success factors for e-mobility also include smart and bidirectional recharging and bidirectional communication. However, the development of this technology is only now beginning to gather pace. As a result, the majority of the available vehicles and also existing recharging infrastructure do not fully support the technology. For this reason, an amendment to the proposed regulation is necessary in order to limit this obligation to newly installed recharging points. We also recommend a transitional phase lasting until 2027 so that existing recharging infrastructure can be upgraded.
Article 25 RED III: Credit system
Article 25(2) of RED III proposes introducing a credits mechanism through which fuel suppliers can fulfil their quota obligations under RED II. Based on the current proposal, it will be necessary to clarify who the economic operators of recharging points are and therefore who will initially receive credits: does the term ‘economic operator’ refer to the operator or the owner of recharging infrastructure, or to the supplier of renewable electricity? We also believe clarification is required regarding the extent to which the Commission’s proposal can be integrated with existing systems in Austria, including the Austrian Federal Environment Agency’s elNa electronic sustainability certificate and the guarantees of origin system. A key consideration is ensuring the unbureaucratic and straightforward operation of the mechanism. Duplicate structures must be avoided.
Finally, Oesterreichs Energie would like to draw attention to a further point:
EU regulations regarding VAT treatment of roaming
As e-mobility becomes significantly more popular, cross-border e-vehicle traffic is now an increasingly important consideration. In order to avoid obstacles to the growth of the e-mobility market, while at the same time ensuring appropriate tax treatment of cross-border recharging in the future, coordinated European-level regulations are required in the VAT legislation, as is the case with other electronically supplied services (e.g. telecommunications). For this purpose, the Union One-Stop Shop (OSS) regulations should also be applied to roaming revenues, meaning that VAT registration in the country where the roaming revenue is generated would no longer be necessary.