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Understanding the New Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR)

A cornerstone of the ambitious plan is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), both passenger and heavy-duty, on European roads.

On July 25 the European Council adopted a new law aimed at increasing the number of charging stations across the EU. Named AFIR (Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation), it marks the final step in the European Commission’s “Fit for 55” roadmap – the EU’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% by 2030.

A cornerstone of this ambitious plan is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), both passenger and heavy-duty, on European roads.

To achieve this, the Council of the European Union ratified AFIR with the following stipulations:

1. Starting in 2025, fast charging stations with a minimum capacity of 150kW for cars and vans should be available every 60 km on the EU’s primary transport routes, referred to as the 'trans-European transport (TEN-T) network'.

2. For heavy-duty vehicles, charging stations offering an output of at least 350kW are mandated every 60 km on the core TEN-T network. For the broader TEN-T comprehensive network, these stations should be placed every 100 km starting in 2025, with the aim of achieving full network coverage by 2030.  

3. To enhance the user experience, electric vehicle users will be able to make payments at the charging stations using payment cards or contactless methods. There will be no need for subscriptions, ensuring users have complete price transparency and easy accessibility.

But what does the new regulation mean in practice? Is it advantageous for the evolution of eMobility, and is it adequate? We turned to Torben Fog, Spirii's co-founder and COO/CIO, for insights.

What are your thoughts on the new AFIR regulation?

In my opinion, the AFIR regulation is a commendable initiative as it plays a pivotal role in sustaining the momentum of the electrical transition. While the appropriateness of political regulation can be a topic of ongoing debate, in cases where market forces have not adequately advanced towards ambitious climate goals, such regulations become indispensable.

Therefore, the AFIR regulation plays a crucial role in driving progress.

Who does the regulation particularly benefit?

The regulation is especially advantageous for heavy transport. Currently, there are limited public charging stations available for trucks and buses. With the AFIR regulation, it will become a legal requirement to have 350kW charging stations every 60 km on motorways within the TEN-T network. This not only offers a sense of security to truck drivers but also instills confidence in those who are considering investments in electric trucks. Given that electric trucks are currently more costly than their conventional counterparts, a reliable charging infrastructure becomes a pivotal factor in encouraging such investments.

The next crucial step is to guarantee that the charging network for heavy transport is open and easily accessible. This can be achieved by ensuring that charging operators make their chargers available to the public, not solely restricted to their own customers.

How prepared is the grid for the significant upgrade that the AFIR recommends?

In some countries, the power grid can accommodate increased demand seamlessly. In others, however, it poses a significant challenge. In these cases, innovative solutions become essential.

A standout solution is the integration of the grid with solar cells and batteries using Advanced Dynamic Load Management (ADLM).

With ADLM, consumption at charging stations can be adjusted based on the power available from various sources at a given location, and thus ensure stable power supply. These systems are known as energy management systems, and it's vital to consider them from the beginning when upgrading the charging infrastructure.

Is Spirii ready to meet the new AFIR regulation?

Absolutely! A current focal point for us is assisting our partners in establishing a robust network for heavy transport. In this endeavor, AFIR serves as a powerful tool to ensure rapid deployment.

Additionally, we guide our partners in integrating energy management systems from the outset, ensuring that the rollout doesn't strain the electricity grid.

Another core aspect of AFIR is that it should be easy to pay for charging without the need for subscriptions. From the onset, Spirii's mission has been to liberate EV drivers from costly subscriptions. Payment cards and contactless payments are accepted at all Spirii charging stations, and we're pleased that the EU is setting this as the standard going forward.