RUESSELSHEIM -- Automakers and policymakers in Europe are staking their futures on a race to electric vehicles. But the vast charging network needed to sustain their vision is patchy, and it’s not clear who will pay for it.
The central German city of Ruesselsheim, home to Opel, wants to build 1,300 electric car charging points by 2020, plans that would make it a front-runner on the Continent. It has advantages enjoyed by few in Europe, including a powerful local car industry player and wealthy national economy. In Germany itself the city has an edge, having won a government grant of 12.8 million euros ($14.4 million) to fund the roll out.
Yet, even here, red tape, shortages of qualified staff and the requisite hardware are likely to delay the installation by around two years, local officials said.
The project will also need more money, said the officials who are running up against the complexity of civil engineering, potential power grid overloads and unwieldy payment processes, illustrating some of the difficulties facing cities and nations across Europe.
"We are not doing this for profit," said Marianne Floersheimer, Ruesselsheim council's mobility chief. "But we cannot afford to top up the government money."