What is the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR)?

With the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR), the European Commission presented a proposal on how to ensure an appropriate public charging infrastructure in future. It is intended for accompanying and supporting the change-over to emission-free vehicles.

AFIR is the acronym of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation and is intended for accelerating and harmonising the implementation of charging infrastructure within the entire EU. The regulation was presented in July 2021 within the scope of the Green Deal. The objective is a cross-border, user-friendly charging infrastructure in Europe, which is as easy as possible to use by consumers. Based on the draft, the corresponding EU-Directive (“Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive”, AFID) was further developed to become a regulation. This is to make sure that uniform and legally binding objectives apply for all member states.

The draft of the regulation addresses all modes of transport and thus includes charging infrastructures for passenger cars, both light and heavy-duty utility vehicles and refueling infrastructures for hydrogen, natural gas and charging current supply. An excerpt of the major contents of the Regulation is provided below.

As per AFIR the member states undertake to promote implementation of publically accessible charging infrastructure in addition to sales of electronic vehicles. In this way, an overall supply of at least 1 kW shall be provided by public charging stations for every battery-electric, light-weight utility vehicle. In addition, the EU member states need to make sure that a range of charging stations are available for heavy-duty utility vehicles at urban hubs. By 2025 quick-charging stations with 150 Kilowatt shall be available along motorways at distances of 60 kilometers and additionally also hydrogen refueling stations at distances of 150 kilometers. Through these measures, one million charging stations shall be established by 2025. For 2030 3.5 million charging stations are envisaged, for 2040 11.4 million and for 2050 16.3 million.

AFIR additionally contains provisions for guaranteeing user-friendliness of the charging infrastructure. It regulates payment options, price transparency and consumer information as well as intelligent charging, among others. For example, the regulation stipulates that publically accessible charting stations must use intelligent measuring systems to ensure smart load management during peak load times.

The regulation draft also makes sure that payment is simplified at European charging stations. Contactless payment using common debit or credit card shall be possible at every station. For, the European Commission has realised that payment at the charging station is a major aspect with regard to supply of user-friendly infrastructures. Simple payment options are a means to facilitate users the change-over towards e-mobility. Using one’s own bank card ensures safe and user-friendly payment at the charging stations without previously having to register with the charging service provider.

AFIR provides the legal framework for all EU stated and ensures implementation of an extensive, public infrastructure for alternative fuels. This is to ensure an appropriate network of charging stations, adequate user information and efficient integration of vehicles into the power networks.

Emission-free alternatives are gaining ground for all modes of transport. Therefore, the harmonisation on EU level by means of the AFIR scheme is critical for reduction of the CO2 footprint of the European traffic sector in accordance with the EU Green Deal.


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