European Union climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard thinks she knows the answer to "the chicken or the egg" debate when it comes to selling more electric vehicles or installing more charging stations. Hedegaard, who served as climate minister from 2007 to 2009, wants to see her home country Denmark, lead the way by providing 5,000 charging points by 2020.

Hedegaard said that if the 27 EU member states supply the charging points, an increase in electric car sales will follow. "It has to make sense to buy an electric car and it doesn't if you can't even drive halfway across the country without running out of charge," Hedegaard wrote on the European Commission website.

The Danish government previously focused on the other side of the debate – electric vehicle sales. Its political initiatives have been structured around EV sales and not charging stations. Denmark has become one of the better-equipped EV owner nations per capita, but it only has 280 charging points. Electric car sales have dropped more recently, and the government drastically downgraded its expectations – from 400,000 EVs on its roads by 2020 to only 200,000.

Hedegaard hopes that will turn back upwards throughout the EU with new proposed binding goals for charging points. One issue that has to be ironed ou is charging station uniformity. As of now, there are two main types of charging points in Europe, which could mean that a car traveling from Denmark to Germany wouldn't be able to recharge once it crosses the border.

The European Union thinks the problem is being worked out – that there will be common standards for charging points across Europe by 2015. The government would also like to see the member states reach a target – 795,000 charging points in EU by 2020. This target needs to be approved by the European Parliament and all of its 27 member states before it can go into effect.

Back home, Denmark's government has aligned itself with Hedegaard's idea that the charging infrastructure needs to be improved. Denmark has decided to enter strategic partnerships to develop infrastructure for vehicles to run on electricity, as well as natural gas and hydrogen – and to have 5,000 charging points by the end of 2013 and 200,000 in place by 2020.

"I hope the partnerships will get the ball rolling. We have made funds available but if we are going to get anywhere we also need the private sector to contribute to developing the infrastructure and vehicles," Martin Lidegaard (Radikale), Denmark's climate minister, told The Copenhagen Post.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Electric cars have to be bigger and become a lot cheaper in Europe before they ever catch on, even if finite fossil supplies ended here overnight, they are still way way far far to expensive, Average Joe European on average income, would have to give up that 3 year second hand ex Hertz Ford Focus diesel car they the brought from Car Hypermarket (The best they can afford these days) and catch the bus, train or cycle instead. Only the very rich buy these cars new expensive EVs, they are normal brought by big establishments like the EU or local governments that are awash with EU taxpayers money or by big multi-nationals, Average Joe who has not has not seen any decent pay rise in ages from the multi-national in decades will be priced out of the new EV buying process, best chance of buying will be a 5 year old EV just about the same time the batteries will be on the the way out, so being sensible they won't bother with owning a EV, just what EU wants clear empty roads for toffee nosed.
      • 2 Years Ago
      UK already has 150,000 cars on its road that off NG, big problem is expensive EV's that nobody can afford, and before you say the word Twizy Dave, my family won't fit in one.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Genius. They must have thought long and hard to figure out that it would be good if you could recharge an EV and continue the journey. Give them the Nobel peace prize.
      • 2 Years Ago
      When we get the £12,000 Nissan Leaf, or the £15.000 Volt in the UK then the masses will get onboard with buying the EV's in Europe
      • 2 Years Ago
      The issues Europeans face is different than what the problems in the US are. EVs would work great for driving around towns in Europe. But, the cars have to be smaller, and cheaper. What they really need to do is promote public transport and make traveling with bicycle easier. Along with having bicycle rentals at the train stations.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the lack of charging facilities is a big problem for Europe. However, I don't know if public charging stations is the real solution. What you need is a guaranteed parking space with charging for where you keep your EV at night. Thus, what they really should do is start requiring apartments with parking to supply chargers (or at least electricity) to those parking spots.
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