Sweden’s ambitious plan to drastically cut emissions from transport by bringing millions of electric cars onto the road could be derailed by a lack of power capacity for new charging stations in major cities.
An increase in government grants sent sales of electric cars surging by 253% in the first five months this year, but the rally could be over before it’s really started. Demand for electricity in Stockholm and other cities is outgrowing capacity in local grids, forcing new charging networks to compete with other projects from housing to subway lines to get hooked up.
To reach a government target of becoming carbon neutral by 2045, the industry group Power Circle says the Nordic region’s biggest economy needs to add about 2.5 million plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles by the end of the next decade.
While many of these will be charged at home for shorter journeys, a network of stations for longer trips and professional drivers from taxis to delivery vans is also needed.
“To get people to take the plunge and want to buy an electric car they shouldn’t be forced to take long detours to find a charging station,” Tobias Henmark, head of the Swedish unit of Fortum Charge and Drive, which operates 740 fast chargers in the Nordic region.