A recently unveiled draft bill would oblige residential buildings with at least four parking spots to provide residents with access to charging points for electric vehicles. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

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A ROW HAS ERUPTED between the Centre and Green League over the development of the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in Finland.

Krista Mikkonen (Greens), the Minister of the Environment, last week unveiled a draft bill that would oblige property managers to increase the number of charging points or, at least, add the wiring required for easy installation of charging points.

“We’ve had the chicken-or-egg problem […] that if there are not enough charging points, people are unwilling to acquire electric vehicles and, on the other hand, the points won’t be built unless the car stock is large enough,” she was quoted as saying by YLE on Sunday.

Mikkonen is proposing that all new and completely refurbished residential buildings with more than four parking spots – or a separate parking garage – would have to be equipped with the necessary wiring for easy installation of charging points in order to ensure all residents who acquire an electric vehicle have access to a charging point by 2021.

The draft bill is estimated to increase the number of charging points by 171,000 and ready 621,000 sites for easy installations.

Experts and other stakeholders have been asked to comment on the bill by 8 November 2019.

The Centre Party has voiced its opposition to the bill.

Markus Lohi and Ari Torniainen of the party said in a joint press release that the bill not only understates the costs of and sets a too strict timetable for the installations, but also goes far beyond the recommendations for charging infrastructure development made by the European Union.

“The Ministry of the Environment is proposing additional national requirements that would be unreasonable for households, businesses and the municipal sector,” the duo declared.

Lohi and Torniainen reminded that fuel distribution points have traditionally been established based on market demand rather than obligation.

“The formula is simple: the ones who use are the ones who pay. Now, there is a risk that everyone pays while almost no one is using,” warned Torniainen, the deputy chairperson of the Parliament’s Transport and Communications Committee.

Lohi similarly warned that the bill would effectively lead to the construction of charge points for vehicles that do not exist. “Everyone should think about whether it is reasonable to thrust businesses into financial despair because of unused charging points on their premises,” he pleaded.

Satu Hassi and Emma Kari of the Green League responded to the criticism by reminding that the electrification of passenger transport is key for the government’s ability to reach its climate goals.

“We committed in the government programme to at least halve transport emissions by 2030 compared to the level of 2005. The electrification of passenger transport is key for accomplishing these objectives. Also EU directives oblige us to increase the number of charging points. Is the Centre really now announcing it is not okay with promoting electric transport?” asked Kari.

Hassi, in turn, accused the party of throwing a spanner in the works as the government is pursuing its climate goals.

Johanna Markkanen, a scientist at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, pointed out that it is necessary to first establish the charging infrastructure to ensure households are able to invest in electric vehicles.

“The demand for fully electric vehicles far exceeds the supply in Finland,” she responded to Hassi on Twitter. “And the most affordable electric vehicles will hit the market in one to two years. The charging infrastructure must be built first so that also households – not only businesses – have the courage to invest.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi