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Rapid charging stations slowly rolling throughout Europe

25 October 2013

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The United Kingdom is the latest country in Europe to announce its electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging network projects. The world’s first rapid charging network was opened in Estonia in February 2013 and similar projects have been announced in Ireland and the Netherlands. is taking a closer look at the progress reached in rolling out nationwide fast charging networks across Europe.
The time required to fully charge an electric vehicle (EV) and the limited distance that an EV can drive with one charge are often cited as the barriers in convincing consumers to switch to electric cars. To facilitate longer inter-city journeys by EVs and promote clean electric mobility in cities and towns, several initiatives have been made across Europe to install nationwide fast charging networks. As the latest announcement to launch a fast charging network in the UK demonstrates, these large scale infrastructure projects have something in common – they are likely to receive funding and support from the European Union (EU) and/or are joint initiatives of the large automakers involved in the EV business.

United Kingdom

74 rapid charging stations across the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland will be installed in the framework of the Rapid Charge Network (RCN) project. The RCN project, presented last week at the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) event in Estonia, is led by Nissan and co-financed by the EU through the TEN-T programme, with further contributions from fellow consortium members Renault, BMW and Volkswagen.

The Rapid Charge Network, due to be completed by the end of 2014, will reduce the charging time to 30 minutes and will cover over 680 miles (1.100 km) of major highways. It will make it possible to travel with an electric car to major cities such as Stranraer, Liverpool, Holyhead, Birmingham, Felixstowe, Leeds, and Hull, while also allowing connections to existing networks in Dublin and Belfast.


Europe’s first cross-border EV fast charger network was launched this summer between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The project is a joint initiative between the Irish Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland (DRD NI), and is co-funded under the EU TEN-T programme.

The €4.2 million project includes the roll out of 46 new rapid charge-points and the development of supporting IT systems. Already, several fast charging points have been installed at the service stations along key inter urban routes on the E1 linking Belfast, Banbridge, Dublin, Wexford and Rosslare, and will also be installed in cities such as Cork, Limerick and Derry. The rapid chargers will enable an 80% charge of the EV’s battery in 20 minutes.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is currently working on the world’s largest nationwide fast-charging system to-date. In July 2013, the Dutch electric vehicle charging network company FastNed announced that it had chosen ABB power and automation technology group to provide more than 200 DC fast-charging stations. The EV rapid-charging infrastructure will bring charging stations within 50 kilometers of all 16.7 million inhabitants in the Netherlands. Each station will be equipped with several multi-standard fast chargers, such as the 50 kW Terra 52 and Terra 53 models, which are capable of charging electric vehicles in 15-30 minutes.

In the meantime, a Dutch company MisterGreen has launched its own fast-charging station project ‘Charge Network’. The first rapid charging point was opened on A2 highway close to Utrecht, at a Haarrijn gas station between villages Maarssen and Breukelen. The charging point is connected to the Stedin electricity network and will be operated by Travelcard – a fuel card provider. By charging the EV for 10 minutes at the station, the car will be able to drive 60 km. Haarrijn fast-charging station is the first of the 20 charging points planned within the ‘Charge Network’ project, which will provide free charging for the clients of MisterGreen Electric Lease scheme.

The plan, which is also supported by the Province of Utrecht and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, is part of the ambitious Dutch Government’s plan to have 1 million electric cars on the Dutch roads by 2025.


Estonia is the first country in the world where a nationwide EV fast-charging network is already operational. The Estonian fast-charging network, which consists of chargers produced and installed by the technology company ABB, was financed with funds the Estonian Government received from the CO2 emission quota sales agreement with the Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation.

The network, which officially opened for use in February 2013, consists of 165 CHAdeMO-standard fast chargers. The charging stations have been installed in all urbanised areas with more than 5,000 inhabitants and on the main roads, maintaining a minimum distance of 40 to 60 km between charging points.

Fast-charging network users are offered three service packages to choose from. EV users can pay per charge, between €2.5 and €5, or have a monthly subscription which costs €30 and offers an unlimited number of charges. Payments can be made using an authorised card or mobile phone.

Tesla’s European Supercharger Network

American EV maker Tesla is also expanding its European Supercharger Network. Currently, there are 6 superchargers installed in Norway and by the end of 2013 the supercharger network should be in place also in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.


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