Germany is quietly dropping its goal of having one million electric-car charging stations on streets and at supermarkets by 2030 as it becomes clear that people prefer to power up at home.
A spokesperson for the country's transport ministry -- run by the business-friendly Free Democrats -- said the target is still official policy, but people familiar with the government's thinking said officials have acknowledged it will not be pursued.
The goal, set in 2021 as part of the ruling coalition's treaty, does not reflect technological advances and shifting preferences, and would risk public chargers being built that receive little use, according to the people.
Germany has about 85,000 charging stations that are publicly accessible, and nearly a fifth of those are classified as fast-charging points. But drivers in Europe's largest economy are choosing to have car chargers at home, with about 10 private installations for every public connection point. That is a pivot the government had not expected.
The shift highlights the challenge many European countries face when planning public infrastructure to encourage electric transport. The 1 million goal, reinforced in a master plan in October, was initially enshrined in the government coalition's treaty after lobbying from the country's car industry, according to two people familiar with the matter, which stands to benefit from a broader charging network.
“As a whole, getting grid infrastructure in the ground and getting it signed off ahead of time can be quite difficult,” said Ryan Fisher, a charging infrastructure analyst at BNEF who estimates that Germany would need roughly 450,000 charging points by the end of the decade. “If you end up with 1 million, you would end up with too many, but the number of fast chargers matters to determine how many you need overall.”