‘Utilization is too low'
However, from the perspective of Stefan Perras, director of connected e-mobility at Siemens, there is currently an oversupply of charging infrastructure.
"It might sound weird now, but if you go on motorways, most of the time these stations sit idle," he said. "That's the reason why most of the charge plant operators today don't earn money with their stations because utilization is too low."
Perras said he can understand the concerns from automotive groups because they fear an undersupply could develop, and if that happens, people won't buy an EV.
He says the key is not necessarily blanket deployment, but tactical deployment, particularly within cities where customers won't have access to home chargers.
"Charging availability in the cities is absolutely a problem," he said. "Fast charging stations were initially only planned for motorways, but we see a strong trend toward cities now."
As a result, fuel station operators are transforming their inner-city locations into fast charging hubs.
Perras noted that some supermarkets are also offering their parking lot spaces for after-hours charging, realizing they can make money overnight by providing the service.
"There are more companies equipping parking garages and other sites in the inner cities with recharging infrastructure, as we do here in Munich, and then just give that spot away or open it up during the evenings," he said. "There are also more possibilities for fast charging. Let's say you go on a half-hour shopping trip; you can easily fully charge your car."
VW's Temme added that partnerships with energy giants such as Enel, BP and Iberdrola are crucial if the automotive industry wants to successfully expand the charging infrastructure across markets and do so by providing power to the chargers from renewable sources.
BMW's Aumann said green energy is a crucial part of decarbonizing road transportation.
"Therefore, we need more renewable electrical power, hence additional generation facilities," he said. "In addition, smart charging solutions are important, as they allow for charging when renewable energy production is running high."
He noted that BMW is also working on other approaches, having joined a research project for bidirectional charging management, which focuses on the potential of EVs as vessels for mobile energy storage.
"This could potentially provide additional opportunities, for example, ensuring a resilient energy supply as well as an increase of renewable energy in the overall consumption," Aumann said.
From Aumann's perspective, the key to a successful migration to EVs will require transparency, a constant exchange of information, and coordination regarding future implementation -- not only in one country, but also across the EU, its member states, and all relevant actors.
"Let me give you an example: the BMW Group has been committed to increasing the number of charging points for a long time. We have already installed more than 15,000 charge points worldwide," he said.
In Germany alone, the company operates one of the biggest company-based charging networks in conjunction with E.ON, with a total of 4,350 charge points in service. By the end of the year, it will be 5,000.
"All of them operate using green electrical power, and more than 1,000 of them are open to the public," Aumann said. "We have a lot of experience and expertise, and we are happy to bring it to the table."
Temme also noted that e-mobility in general helps to save energy within any electricity mix.
"However, the higher the proportion of green electricity, the better the carbon footprint," she said. "The mobility transition and energy transition -- that is, the expansion of renewable energy -- go hand in hand and must both be driven forward together."