There remain wide variations around who provides charging stations and whether they are free. Some countries have free charging at public stations, while manufacturers such as Tesla offer their own network of charging points for owners of certain models.

Other industrial players are also entering the space. Siemens recently invested in electric charging network ChargePoint, Inc. a US company which owns a network of more than 36,000 charge stations across the world. VW, Daimler, BMW and Ford have also formed a consortium to build 400 charging stations this year, with an ambition of having ‘thousands’ across Europe by the end of this decade.

EVs can be charged in three main ways1:

Plug-in charging

Vehicles are charged either using normal household sockets or via public stations. Household sockets can be slow to charge because domestic sockets provide only a low amount of electric current. As such, faster plug-in charging requires specialised infrastructure and charging points installed by either public authorities, utilities, EV manufacturers or other companies.

Wireless charging

A localised electromagnetic field is created around a charging pad which is then activated when an EV with a corresponding pad is positioned above it.

Battery swapping

A battery is replaced with a fully charged one at a special swapping station. Current barriers include a lack of EVs that support battery swapping, no standard type or size of battery, and the high cost of developing such infrastructure.

1 Electric vehicles in Europe – European Environment Agency

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