Electrifying long-haul freight across Europe can dramatically reduce emissions from transport to help meet climate goals. To advance the use of electric trucks, Member States will need to build more high-capacity charging, or ‘megawatt charging,’ infrastructure along core freight corridors. Pressure is mounting as the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation requires countries to start the build-out of this network in 2025.

Policymakers, planners and site operators need a strong grasp of the costs and likely market effects of megawatt charging along these key highways to establish a network for e-trucks at a reasonable cost and to offer competitive charging services. Yet current discussions about electrifying freight fail to address this aspect of electrification.

Recognising this gap, RAP explored the costs for megawatt charging in various Member States. Our analysis uncovered stark differences in prices between charging sites, in particular those situated on either side of a national border, as well as sites within the same Member State. The authors found network costs to be the primary cause of the variations.

Fleet operators attempt to lower their costs by choosing the cheapest charging sites — the modern version of ‘petrol tourism’ — regardless of their location. If charging is concentrated in one region, however, it can cause challenges for the grid and for build-out of the charging network.

Coordinated policies at the EU and national level can accelerate development of megawatt charging infrastructure along core EU freight corridors while avoiding the negative impacts of steep differences in operating costs. We recommend that policymakers:

Ensure network prices closely reflect the actual costs incurred, over the medium to long term, through setting volumetric time-of-use network pricing. Recent European energy market reforms reinforce this principle and guide national energy regulators when setting network tariffs.

Coordinate taxes and levies for truck charging between Member States where large price differences are likely to emerge, in the near term.

Photo: Milence