Austrian energy providers join forces to form charging network
21 March 2017
Eleven energy companies in Austria are joining forces to create a single charging network for electric vehicles (EV). The charging stations will be connected through the Hubject e-roaming platform and from April onwards, consumers will be able to access 1300 charging points with a single charging card, mobile phone app or credit card.
The plan is to grow the network to 2000 charging points by the end of the year and to 5000 by 2020. The network will also be connected to other networks in Europe.
Jürgen Halasz, chairman of the Bundesverband Elektromobilität Österreich (BEÖ), the Austrian electro-mobility association, says; ‘Electromobility does not stop at state borders. This is why we are working with our affiliates to build the intercharge network and, with our cooperation, support the digital and customer-friendly networking of our charging stations in Austria.’
Costs across the network are not consistent as they are based upon the charging time and are set by individual energy companies. However, the network, will stop EV owners having to contend with separate systems and contracts as they will have a single access point into the network.
This initiative ties in with Austria’s plans to promote EVs and ultimately reduce CO2 emissions. In March it introduced €4000 incentive for EVs. In 2016 so far, EV registrations (comprising battery EVs and plug-in hybrids) jumped 82% and commanded a 1.5% share of the new car market making it the fourth highest share in the European Union, behind the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium.
The development of the charging network is essential for sustainable EV growth. Austrian transport minister Jörg Leichtfried commented; ‘Austria is currently number three in charging density in Europe. But we want to be number one.’
The new network does not currently cover all charging stations. News site Trend even suggests that there is a ‘power struggle of the electricity suppliers.’ Market leader Smatrics does not currently participate and its managing director, Michael Fischer, said; ‘Over the last two years, we have enabled customers to charge/refuel at 400 fast and high speed stations in Austria and register via a smartphone app within minutes and then simply pay by credit card.’
This suggests that a single charging network covering all of Austria may be still some way off.