The European Council has adopted new regulations that will bring about more recharging and refueling stations for alternative fuels in the coming years across the continent.
The European Council is tasked with defining the political direction and priorities of the European Union. The Council adopted the alternative fuel infrastructure regulation (AFIR), which includes specific deployment targets for 2025 or 2030, with the new rules being implemented six months after publication.
The rules specifically task the EU to meet recharging and refueling station demands, such as installing fast recharging stations of at least 150 kilowatts for cars and vans at least every 60 kilometers along the EU’s main transport corridors, the so-called “trans-European transport (TEN-T) network.” Such infrastructure will enable a new fleet of electric vehicles to become more widely adopted as new models hit the market over the next few years.
In addition, the AFIR specifies that recharging stations for heavy-duty vehicles are installed every 60 kilometers along the TEN-T core network, and every 100 kilometers on the larger TEN-T comprehensive network from 2025 onward, with complete network coverage by 2030. The rules also cover hydrogen refueling stations for both cars and lorries to be deployed in all urban nodes and every 200 km along the TEN-T core network starting in 2030 onward.
With these new charging and refueling stations, it is required that users of electric or hydrogen-fueled vehicles must be able to pay easily at these stations, using payment cards or contactless devices, without a need for a subscription and in full price transparency. Plus, operators of these recharging or refueling stations are required to electronically provide full information to consumers, including availability, waiting time, or price at different stations, the rules state.
Beyond roadways, the AFIR states that maritime ports welcoming a minimum number of large passenger vessels, or container vessels, must provide shore-side electricity for such vessels by 2030, and airports must provide electricity to stationary aircraft at all gates by 2025, and at all remote stands by 2030.
The adoption comes as the EU is moving to reduce carbon emissions and build out its electric infrastructure, dubbed the Fit for 55 package.
“The new law is a milestone of our Fit for 55 policy providing for more public recharging capacity on the streets in cities and along the motorways across Europe,” Raquel Sánchez Jiménez, Spanish Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, said in a statement. “We are optimistic that in the near future, citizens will be able to charge their electric cars as easily as they do today in traditional petrol stations.”
In addition to adopting the AFIR, the Council also adopted another new regulation, known as the FuelEU maritime initiative, that aims to decarbonize the maritime sector. The regulation also intends to increase the demand for and consistent use of renewable and low-carbon fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping sector. The regulation is also mindful of keeping with maritime traffic and avoiding distortions in the internal market, while also putting maritime transport on the trajectory of the EU’s climate targets for 2030 and 2050.
The regulation specifically requires the gradual decrease of greenhouse gas intensity in fuels used by the shipping sector, with the eventual aim of an 80% reduction by 2050. Plus, the Council adopted an incentive to support the uptake of the so-called renewable fuels of non-biological origin, a voluntary pooling mechanism that allows ships to pool their compliance balance to meet greenhouse gas intensity limits and time limited exceptions for certain regions, such as outermost regions, small islands and areas economically highly dependent on their connectivity.