EP approves more columns and hydrogen distributors

The AFIR rule (Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation), which sets the way for the strengthening of the infrastructure of charging stations and hydrogen distributors, was overwhelmingly approved by the European Parliament.

With the EU already preparing to stop the sale of ICE cars by 2035, it is vital to undertake a major acceleration in investments to strengthen the charging infrastructure in order to reach the objectives on atmospheric emissions in the automotive sector. The vote taken today is a crucial first step in that direction.

A major component of the Fit for 55 packages in which the European Commission has made significant investments is the AFIR regulation. EU nations will be expected to invest quickly in the near future to assist in electrification. Starting supportive policies, such as vehicle incentives, won’t be sufficient in the future. Building an infrastructure that can sustain electricity is necessary. Here are the details of the revised document approved by the European Parliament.

The European Union’s electrification initiative has been significantly accelerated by the legislation passed by the European Parliament. In fact, by 2024, member nations will be required to submit to the European Commission a national strategy framework outlining their achievements thus far and upcoming goals. The construction of hydrogen dispensers and charging stations for electric vehicles, which are essential components for a sustainable reduction in emissions in the automotive industry, comes into sharp focus. The ratio of one charging station for an electric vehicle every 60 kilometers must be reached by 2026.

But a new objective is set to encourage the adoption of hydrogen-powered automobiles. It will be necessary to achieve the goal of having a hydrogen filling station every 100 kilometers rather than every 150 kilometers along the major routes in the EU. This goal must be accomplished no later than 2027, not 2031. These must be accomplished faster because they are distinctly more ambitious goals. In spite of the fact that the provision restricts the goals to major EU routes, it nonetheless includes a number of exceptions (for columns and hydrogen distributors) for outlying and inaccessible places, islands, and, more generally, on roads with little vehicular traffic.

The responses to the European Parliament’s decision appeared almost quickly. The first and most significant response comes from ACEA, which has expressed concern about the lack of columns along EU roadways. ACEA director general Sigrid de Vries commented on the EU decision, highlighting that she was “pleased that MEPs have infused greater ambition into this rule, increasing national targets for both charging points and stations.” compared to the Commission’s plan, hydrogen fueling. Infrastructure, along with reasonably priced zero-emission vehicles, is, after all, a crucial component of the transport decarbonization equation.

Only five EU nations currently reach the threshold of at least 10 charging stations per 100 kilometers of roadways, according to the research issued last week by ACEA. A goal that many EU nations still have a long way to go. However, it should be highlighted that ACEA does not ignore an important part of the circumstance. Even with these reinforced goals, the association’s spokesman says, “AFIR will only provide a limited network of infrastructures, which will need to be augmented by private sector initiatives.”

The issue related to trucks is one of the factors mentioned by ACEA in relation to the latest European Parliament decision. In reality, a specific infrastructure is required for heavy vehicles. The same organization has previously brought attention to the structural challenges associated with recharging vehicles in Italy with a still-developing network. In reality, according to ACEA, “the CO2 reductions that will be attainable in this segment by the end of this decade will be determined by the determination of new specific objectives for trucks. This needs to be taken into account when the Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDV) CO2 legislation is updated.

In reality, building an infrastructure that enables the reduction of emissions from heavy vehicles is required for the electrification goals in the EU to be sustainable. A recent analysis suggests that in order to achieve its climate goals, the EU should raise its HGV emissions targets. The reduction of emissions by 60% should be the goal for 2030. But we should aim for a 90% reduction by 2035.