As from now EU charging points must display prices and allow bank cards

Charging stations installed as of tomorrow must be in rule with Europe’s latest standards. Just like conventional fuel forecourts, they will display real-time prices and allow payment through bank cards. The regulations take effect as Europe has finalized its fifth funding round for AFIR (Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations), largely expanding the continent’s charging infrastructure.

The use of charging points has been a hassle until now. Though some allowed payment through credit cards, the most convenient way of publicly charging an EV was by a charging pass, automatically directing customers in the hands – and the extra cost – of providers. Moreover, EV drivers without a subscription are clueless about the price they pay for the charged electricity, which varies greatly compared to conventional fuels.

Opposition from operators

European lawmakers already decided in late 2022 that this lack of transparency needed resolving and demanded the same principles as for classic refuelling: smoother payment with debit cards (not only credit) and real-time pricing so customers are fully aware of the cost. Charging points installed as of April 13th must abide by the new regulation. Prior to the rule, member states were allowed to decide for themselves.

Existing charging infrastructure is given some slack so as not to hamper further rollout. These need to comply by 2027, lending operators a window of three years to adapt. The retrofitting obligation caused strong opposition among charging station operators.

However, not all charging points will feature an LCD display for the pricing; the solution of a QR code with the smartphone as an interface is also allowed. Charging passes will not necessarily disappear. However, these users remain in the blue about the true cost, especially when charging at a point from a different operator that is entitled to pass on roaming costs. These show wide variation and might prove surprising.

Funding of 424 projects

The new regulations come as the EU simultaneously finalizes the fifth funding cycle under the current Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Facility (AFIF) program. The latest round allocated 424 million euros to 42 projects across member states aimed at expanding the continent’s charging infrastructure.

These projects will lead to an additional 4,200 electric vehicle charging points, 48 hydrogen refueling stations, and enhanced electrification at 21 airports. The projects’ selection rounds off a series of investments that have markedly accelerated the development of Europe’s clean transport infrastructure.

EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean highlighted the success of the AFIF program, noting that 6,396 electric charging stations, 202 hydrogen refueling stations, and electrification operations at 63 airports have been deployed since 2021. She emphasized that the latest call was the most successful to date in terms of the quality and number of projects.


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