The lack of rapid charging stations in Sweden limits the range of most electric cars to about 50-100 km from home (100-200 km return trip). As long as the expansion of the fast charger is slow so will the development of the electric car fleet be as only those with access to a conventional car (beside the electric) will invest in the new technology.
As an owner of an electric car, I have learned that charging broadly can be divided into two categories – slow charging overnight and rapid charging while doing an errand.
All owners of electric cars charge overnight. I have in a previous post (Standard charger enough at home) written that it does not matter whether the charging time is 3 , 6, 8 or 10 hours as the time that the car is stationary overnight is normally more than 12 hours anyway.
To increase the range of an electric car rapid chargers are required. Only with these is it possible to reach targets beyond the battery range in one day. It will be some time before the electric car owner takes the electric car on any long road trip , at least if you exclude fundamentalists (and there are some among the pioneers) and conservative motoring journalists who indeed will show that EVs are subordinate fossil fueled cars.
Rapid charger can double the range if placed in the right places. But it requires that the charge time is short enough that the car can be charged during a brief stop, such as a lunch break or a walk in the shopping centre. It is not an absolute time limit, but around an hour is probably a maximum.
11 fast chargers in Sweden
For BMW i3 only the CCS EU chargers are fast enough for a brief stop (CCS loads in about half an hour) . Unfortunately, these conspicuous by their absence and plans are unfortunately not particularly encouraging either. According to uppladdning.nu there are only 11 CCS stations in all of Sweden. Three are located in Stockholm, but the next chargers for people living here are in Linkoping, Karlskoga or Falun. These cities are 200 km or more from the city and that is beyond reach for a BMW i3 (at least BEV). See map below.
The Nordic utility company Fortum plans to convert CHAdeMO chargers in Nyköping and Norrköping in April and that will enable people in Stockholm to leave the capital. There are also planned chargers in Västerås and Örebro. Planned charging stations are shown on a map, but there is not clear on that map what standard the chargers supports. For example, chargers at McD Uppsala and Lindvreten will NOT be converted to support CCS.
Fast chargers are cheap and more are needed A rapid charger in street environment costs a ten thousand Euro or more, but that is relatively cheap compared to other infrastructure. Compare to a gas station that requires large land areas and will also need to handle requirements for explosive fuels and regular shipments of it to the station. A quick charger takes almost no space and can be placed where there is already a parking lot today.
Different standards and clumsy politicians slow down the expansion
As much as new charging technologies help to make electric cars more attractive, they also slow down the rollout because of uncertainty and the cost increases when the charging stations must meet several standards. Today there are three main standards for rapid charging: CCS EU (BMW, Volkswagen, Ford, Audi, Porsche, Chevrolet and Daimler), CHAdeMO (Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Toyota) and Tesla.
The second reason that expansion is slow is that European politicians could not resist making demands on charging stations. Above all, they require electric customers should have a choice ot supplier at the charging station. Come on – it’s about 3 EUR for a full battery. It should be included in the parking fee.