The road to CO2-free transport

Switching from internal combustion engines to electrically powered vehicles will play a major role in achieving Austria’s climate targets. One of the most important factors facilitating the breakthrough of e-mobility is the increased number of private charging points for users at home. According to a study by AustriaTech, 1.5 million private charging points would need to be built by 2030 to be able to meet the EU’s climate targets. This translates in 60 wallboxes being installed every day until 2030 in Vienna alone. Wien Energie is investing heavily in increasing the number of private charging stations, but there are still a number of legal hurdles to be removed here for e-mobility to become attractive on the wider market.

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Background information

According to the Agency, passenger car traffic is the source of about 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Austria’s transport sector. This clearly shows that powering individual transport with electricity is the only way to be able to reach the ambitious climate targets.

The EU has also recognised this issue and has therefore committed Member States to making improvements to the regulatory framework for expanding the charging infrastructure within the scope of the EU’s Buildings Directive. After all, studies have shown that 90 percent of charging operations are performed at home by users, which means this is where most charging points will need to be installed.

AustriaTech has calculated the exact number needed to achieve Austria’s targets for expanding this infrastructure. Around 1.5 million charging points would need to be installed by 2030 – the equivalent of 330 charging points every day across the country since 1 January 2019.

Our demands

As can be seen from the figures calculated for expanding the infrastructure, increasing the number of charging points at user homes is the best way to boost the number of new electric car registrations. However, it is not possible at the moment to expand the infrastructure of private charging points as much as required, particularly in metropolitan areas, due to the current underlying legal conditions. This means that changes must be made to both housing and building law, and incentive systems introduced, otherwise it simply won’t be possible to achieve the climate targets.

The provisions currently contained in the Condominium Act (WEG), Tenancy Act (MRG) and Non-Profit Housing Act (WGG) make infrastructure development in existing garages of large apartment buildings very difficult at present. In particular, the regulation that 100 percent of all owners or tenants must agree to such projects has so far proved to be a major obstacle in practice. As such, Wien Energie is calling for the Housing Act to be amended so that projects to install charging infrastructure can also be implemented with the consent of 50% of the owners or tenants.

The EU’s Building Directive stipulates that provisions must be made for every parking space in residential garages to have charging points installed at a later stage. However, there is currently no clear legal definition of what is meant by these provisions. Practice has shown that the effectiveness of this regulation, with in itself is very useful, is severely undermined by the lack of a definition. It would therefore be necessary for all everyone involved to create nationwide standards for the upstream infrastructure required in this field as soon as possible.

The most significant cost factor when it comes to private charging infrastructure is the required upstream infrastructure. However, there is currently no effective funding system to help with these costs in Vienna. By way of contrast, Vorarlberg is an example of where a corresponding funding model has already helped incentivise the construction of charging infrastructure, with 50 percent of the investment costs incurred being subsidised up to a certain level. As such, Wien Energie is calling for the introduction of such a model in Vienna, which would create a tangible incentive, particular in urban areas, to switch to climate-friendly forms of mobility.

Hans-Jürgen Salmhofer

“A rising number of electric vehicles means that there is a growing demand for charging infrastructure, especially at homes. The aim is therefore both to provide support in the form of subsidies and to gradually remove barriers impeding the work to expand the charging infrastructure, as well as to create less complicated framework conditions. It will be necessary to make rapid adjustments to housing regulations when it comes to equipping apartment blocks, especially existing ones.”

Hans-Jürgen Salmhofer, Head of the Mobility and Decarbonisation Unit at the Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK)

Further information

Your contact person

Micha Gruber
Micha Gruber

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E-mobility citizen participation

Wien Energie will build a total of 1,000 charging points by 2020 to ensure that there is a comprehensive network in place for electric cars. In the course of this project, residents of Vienna were given the opportunity to participate in the expansion drive by means of investment packages, thereby playing a role in the mobility revolution.