In this country, the number of public charging stations is now impressive, so that even cross-country trips with an e-car are possible without any problems. But after we have traveled electrically through Germany, we want to dare to look across borders. What does the charging station network actually look like in other European countries??
This in advance: As part of its "Fit for 55" climate package, the European Commission wants to oblige member states to greatly expand their charging infrastructure. By the end of 2025, there should be a high-performance charging station every 60 kilometers along the most important European highways. According to a study by the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO), at the end of 2020, drivers of electric vehicles across Europe had just under 287.000 public charging points available. But the study also found that 73 percent of all public charging points are spread across just five countries. The Netherlands leads the way in expanding the public charging network, followed by France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Norway.
As well equipped as the countries may be with charging stations: Before a vacation trip with an electric car, it is worth taking a closer look to avoid unpleasant surprises in foreign countries. Because even if the expansion of the charging network in Europe is progressing, there are significant differences between the countries, and not only in terms of the equipment with charging stations, but also the prices vary massively.
Downloading a charging app and a route planner to your smartphone is a good way to prepare for a trip abroad with an electric car. This way, the charging stations are always within reach, even abroad. You save yourself unnecessary stress searching for the next charging station. Of course, those who like to take their electric cars on cross-country trips in this country already have the right apps at their fingertips.
Similar to our country, there are no uniform rules for tariffs, pricing models and payment methods abroad either. Also the plug types can be different, which makes it necessary to carry an adapter. Electricity refueling abroad can be confusing, even more so when still
The language barrier comes into play and not all the information on the charging stations is comprehensible.
What's nice: Charging abroad is significantly cheaper at the vast majority of charging stations than in this country.
Less nice: Roaming charges quickly make refueling expensive. Similar to cell phone roaming charges, charging station operators are now asking their customers to pay up. Here you should be careful, otherwise the bill will be hefty.
Many German utilities offer their customers the option of charging their cars abroad at the local rate. If your energy provider is less accommodating, it is better to fill up with electricity abroad without your provider's charging card, either via app, EC or credit card.
For every trip with an electric vehicle: Use the available map and navigation systems. On Google Maps you can view all charging points. On the Going Electric website you can see not only the planned route with charging points, but also the vehicle model and plug type of the vehicle used is included in the route planning.
Tesla drivers are also lucky in other European countries to be able to supply their vehicle with electricity very easily and super fast via the so-called SuperChargers. Billing is just as simple at the price per minute via the Tesla user account.
Traveling with an electric car is not equally convenient everywhere. What is valid within Germany, applies all the more in the European foreign countries. Some countries have a very well equipped charging network, which we can only dream of, other countries are still at the beginning of the development of the charging network. In the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, France and Switzerland the equipment with charging stations is excellent, in Italy, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic and especially Croatia electric car drivers have to plan their trip much better, so as not to falter.
As far as the expansion of the charging network in the European countries is concerned, the information varies greatly. On the various privately operated websites such as Going Electric. Plugshare the data differs greatly from the country or provider-owned registers for charging stations.
In the Netherlands, travelers have an almost limitless network of charging stations at their disposal. At just under 9.000 charging points (including 2.400 fast charging stations) at more than 3.000 locations travelers can charge their electric cars. Payment is easy with a charging card or via app, EC or credit card.
With around 5.000 charging points – of which around 800 are fast-charging stations – the vacation destination of Austria invites visitors to travel by e-car. In Austria, drivers of electric cars will find a charging station about every 30 km, and there is a fast-charging station every 60 km along the expressways. The easiest way for travelers to find the nearest charging station is to use the e-charging station finder, which is also available as an app. ADAC offers its customers in Austria electricity refueling at the domestic rate. Otherwise: Watch out for roaming charges!
Switzerland's charging network is super-equipped: 9.335 charging points at 2.746 locations are currently available to owners of electric vehicles. So there are as many charging stations as gas stations in Switzerland. Travelers with an electric car will have no problems finding a suitable charging station here. The charging power ranges from 3.7 kW (slow charging) to 150 kW (fast charging). The following applies: the faster the battery is charged, the higher the costs are.
When traveling to Switzerland, it is a good idea to download the necessary apps to your cell phone in advance, as is the case almost everywhere.
Just under 29.000 charging points make traveling with an electric drive a breeze here. Very important: Electricity is much cheaper in France than in Germany. That's why you should tuck away your charging card here. It is better to pay by app or card. Before you travel, ask what roaming charges will apply with your charging card provider.
With just under 3.200 charging points at almost 900 locations, the small vacation destination in the north is well equipped. In the big cities driving with electric cars is no problem anyway, but even on the small islands you have the possibility to power your car in many places. Before leaving, it is worthwhile to sign up for a charging card at one of the two most represented providers E.ON DK and Clever to decide, as the companies do not offer roaming among themselves.
Poland currently has just under 2.000 charging points at more than 700 locations. In the large and medium-sized cities, the supply of charging stations is quite decent, but it looks bad in some regions far from the cities, in the north of the country there are even almost no charging stations available. Along the highways and freeways there are increasingly fast charging stations, but far from the major roads, travelers are often dependent on the generosity of gas station, restaurant and hotel owners. When traveling to Poland by e-car: plan your route well. Check with your charging card provider for local conditions.
In the Czech Republic, there are just under 3.000 charging points at about 1.000 stations. Electricity suppliers are making great efforts to expand the charging network, but far from the cities and major roads, traveling by electric car is currently still a bit of a hassle. Here – as in many vacation countries – good planning is the be-all and end-all of a trip with an electric car. Beside the charging possibilities you should also inform yourself about the payment modalities at charging stations.
As wonderful as the country is – traveling with an electric car is unfortunately still difficult. The expansion of the charging network is still in its infancy; fast-charging stations in particular are in short supply. Nice for travelers is however that with network operator elen the charging is free of charge and without previous registration possible and also otherwise the accumulator can be charged inexpensive. Clearly in the advantage is in Croatia, however, the traveler who plans his route before exactly.
The public charging network in Spain is still very much in need of development. With just 5.000 charging stations all over the country, it looks particularly bad with intercity trips. Even in the popular vacation destination of Spain, trips with an electric car should be planned well in advance.
In Italy, too, there is still room for improvement in the expansion of the charging network. With about 10.000 charging stations in the country – most of them in the north of the country – traveling by electric car is still bumpy. Plans for a massive expansion of the charging network are already in place, however: by the end of 2022, there are to be 14.000 fast-charging stations on Italy's expressways.
If you are traveling with an electric car in countries with a poorly equipped charging station network, you can (almost) make yourself independent with a mobile charging station. A mobile charging station, such as a Juice Booster, consists of a sophisticated cable that can be easily stowed in the car and that can be plugged into almost any outlet with up to 22 kW of power. All you have to do is find a power outlet.