Trends in charging infrastructure

Slow publicly available chargers, 2015-2021


Fast publicly available chargers, 2015-2021


Public charging expands despite pandemic-related slowdown in construction

As EV markets swell, access to public charging will need to expand as well. Today most EV charging takes place at residences and workplaces. Consumers will increasingly expect the same services, simplicity and autonomy for EVs as they do for conventional vehicles.

Publicly accessible chargers worldwide approached 1.8 million charging points1 in 2021, of which a third were fast chargers.2 Nearly 500 000 chargers were installed in 2021, which is more than the total number of public chargers available in 2017. The number of publicly accessible chargers was up by 37% in 2021, which is lower than the growth rate in 2020 (45%) and pre-pandemic roll out rates. The average annual growth rate ranked almost 50% between 2015 and 2019. In 2021, fast charging increased slightly more than in 2020 (48% compared with 43%) and slow charging much slower (33% compard with 46%).

As in previous years, China is the global leader in number of publicly available chargers. It counts about 85% of the world’s fast chargers and 55% of slow chargers. This reflects China’s demonstrated leadership in the EV sector as well as its very densely populated urban characteristics.

Public slow charger installations are on the upswing

In 2021, installed slow chargers in China increased by 35% to about 680 000 publicly accessible units, more than four times the number of slow chargers available in 2018. However, growth has been much slower in the pandemic period than in previous years. Between 2015 and 2020, the average annual growth rate was over 60%.

Europe ranks second with over 300 000 slow chargers in 2021, a 30% year-on-year increase. The Netherlands leads in Europe with more than 80 000 slow chargers, followed by 50 000 in France, 40 000 in Germany, 30 000 in the United Kingdom, 20 000 in Italy and just over 12 000 in both Norway and Sweden. The stock of slow chargers in the United States increased by 12% to 92 000 in 2021, the slowest increase among major markets. In Korea, it increased by nearly 70% to over 90 000.

Public fast charging availability accelerates

Publicly accessible fast chargers facilitate longer journeys. As they are increasingly deployed, they will enable longer trips, encourage consumers that lack access to private charging to purchase an EV, and tackle range anxiety as a barrier for EV adoption.

Fast charging is being rolled out at a faster pace than slow charging in China, where fast charging installations (power rating >22 kW) increased by over 50% to 470 000 fast chargers in 2021, which is more than the 44% rise in 2020, but slower than the 93% high of 2019. In China, over 40% of publicly available charging units are fast chargers, well above other major EV markets. The drivers behind rapid deployment of public chargers in China are government subsidies and active infrastructure development by public utilities. With regulatory controls on electricity prices, public charging demand coming from urban dwellers as well as increasing electrification of taxis, ride-sharing and logistics fleets have improved the profitability of EV charging businesses. The massive speed and scale of EVSE roll out led to reductions in the costs of manufacturing charger modules for fast charging stations by 67% between 2016 and 2019.

In contrast to 2020, when Europe’s fast charging installations significantly outpaced slow charging ones, installations were about the same in 2021. The number of public fast chargers in Europe was up by over 30% to nearly 50 000 units. This includes 9 200 public fast chargers in Germany, 7 700 in the United Kingdom, 6 700 in Norway, 4 500 in France, 2 600 in Spain and in the Netherlands. The United States counts about 22 000 fast chargers, of which nearly 60% are Tesla superchargers. Korea has 15 000 fast chargers, 50% more than in 2020.

Charging point per BEV relative to the BEV LDV stock in selected countries


Electric LDV per charging point in selected countries, 2010-2021


Number of EVs per charger depends on several factors

In 2021, sales more than doubled to bring the total fleet of electric cars to about 16.5 million, a tripling relative to the stock in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of publicly available charging points also tripled to about 1.8 million. Current momentum in EV sales can only be sustained if ever larger shares of the population have access to convenient and affordable charging infrastructure, both publicly available and private chargers at residences and workplaces, among other destinations. Governments will have to continue facilitating investment and minimising barriers to the roll-out of charging infrastructure.

As the number of EVs on the road increases, the EV-per-charger ratio can help assess the suitability of the charging network. The charger power (kilowatts [kW]) per EV is an essential metric, since fast chargers can serve a higher number of EVs compared to slow chargers. The suitable number of charger per EV depends on a number of factors, including: housing stock, average distance travelled and population density. PHEV users require less public charging than BEVs. Therefore, it is not trivial to determine a suitable availability metric.

For most countries, we observe that as the stock share of BEVs increases, the ratio of charging point per BEVs decreases. Similarly, countries with relatively small EV stocks tend to have low EV to charger ratios as initial infrastructure deployment may precede EV sales.

The EV per charging point ratio remained relatively flat over the 2015-2021 period at under 10 EVs per charging point in China, Korea, and the Netherlands. This reflects charging infrastructure deployment that matches the speed of EV stock growth. In the United States, the number of EVs on roads outpaced the number of public charging points, with about 18 EVs per charging point in 2021. A similar trend is observed in Norway, where there were only a handful of EVs per charging unit in the early 2010s versus around 29 by 2021. Both the markets in Norway and United States are characterised by widespread reliance on home charging, due to the high share of single family dwellings (with garages) by international standards. It appears that in countries that rely more heavily on public charging, the charging network is expanding accordingly, while for countries with high shares of residential charging, fewer public chargers can serve a higher number of EVs. As the market evolves and more consumers replace conventional vehicles with EVs, even in countries with high shares of single family dwellings, the reliance on public charging solutions will increase.

Many European countries still fall short of AFID recommendations

In the European Union, the 2014 Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive (AFID) regulates the deployment of public electric vehicle supply equipment. The policy recommended that EU member states  reach 10 electric light-duty vehicles (LDVs) per public charger by 2020. Proposed new EU legislation (the Alternative Fuelling Infrastructure Regulation [AFIR]) would mandate 1 kW of publicly available charger per BEV and 0.66 kW per PHEV as well as the minimum public charger coverage on highways.

In 2021, the European Union’s average EV to charger ratio was 14, up from nearly 11 in 2020 and above the recommendation of 10. The average kW per EV ratio was just above 1 kW, which is the level proposed in the AFIR for 2030. Some countries have performed better than others in meeting targets, such as the Netherlands (5 and 2.6 kW per EV ratio) which followed a wide, on demand, slow charger deployment strategy. In fact, the share of fast chargers remains generally low at around 3% in the Netherlands. Italy roughly meets the recommended charger ratios (11 EVs per charger), mostly due to slow charger availability. In Norway, the ratio is 34 EVs per charger and 0.7 kW per EV in 2021, but fast chargers account for nearly 35%. There are promising prospects in Spain, which had 20 EVs per charger and 1.2 kW per EV and over 30% of fast charging in 2021, with an EV fleet now larger than Denmark’s. The largest markets in Europe – France, Germany and United Kingdom – all do not meet the European Union’s recommended charger availability recommendations.

The worldwide average in 2021 was 10 EVs per charger and 2.4 kW per EV. China’s market is pulling the global averages downwards with 7 EVs per charger and 3.8 kW per EV, along with 40% of fast charging.

Charging points per EV and kW per electric LDV in selected countries, 2021


The Alternative Fuels Data Centre lists almost 50 000 EV charging stations currently in operation in the United States. Of these, 93% are publicly accessible, and 17% are on non-urban roads (including highways and other arterials). A disproportionate share of direct current (DC) fast chargers are public (99%) and located on highways (25%), reflecting the faster charging needs at these locations.

About 6% of charging stations are located along the interstate highway system, the backbone of the national road network. Stations along the interstate highways account for 16% of the total number of DC fast charging points. About 8% of the US population lives more than 10 km from a public charging station. Bringing this share down to less than 5% would necessitate building an additional 1 185 stations; bringing it down to zero would require building more than 5 000 additional stations.

Charging by type and location in the United States (thousand)




Level 1 1

Level 2

DC fast








47.2 93%

116.6 89%

1.2 35%

93.2 89%

22.3 99%


8.8 17%

22.7 17%

0.3 9%

16.8 16%

5.7 25%


3.2 6%

9.3 7%

0.1 3%

5.7 5%

3.6 16%

Notes: Numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred. Shares, in italics, are based on non-rounded numbers and given out of totals for each category (by column). Shares do not add to 100% as sets of highway and interstate chargers are each subsets of public chargers. Total station counts include those mapped by the Alternative Fuels Data Center, which include some non-public charging stations, many of which are owned by federal, state or municipal governments, or other public institutions (e.g. hospitals) or businesses (e.g. car dealers). Sources: IEA analysis based on AFDC API.

EV charging stations in the contiguous United States, 2022

Ev Charging Stations In The Contiguous United States 2022

EV charging stations in the contiguous United States, 2022

  1. Charger values refer to charging points, i.e. the number of sockets that can charge vehicles at the same time. One charging location can have several charging stations, which in turn can have several charging points.

  2. Fast chargers are more than 22 kW and can server LDVs with power ratings of up to 350 kW. Slow chargers are less than or equal to 22 kW.