MADRID – Although sales of electric cars are also increasing in Spain, the development of sufficient fast-charging infrastructure is lagging. That poses a challenge for long distances. Especially for people who want to cross the country with an electric car.
There are approximately 27,000 public charging points in Spain. Only 6% of these are fast chargers with a capacity of 150 kW or more. These fast chargers are crucial for long journeys, but are scarce and often located hundreds of kilometres apart. The provinces of Madrid and Barcelona have the most charging points, but these are largely of lower capacity. Interestingly, in less populated regions, such as Extremadura, a higher percentage of charging points are fast chargers.
Challenges when expanding the charging network
The expansion of the charging network in Spain is hampered by bureaucratic processes and the slow installation of charging points. This contrasts with the rapid growth of electric vehicles, partly due to government incentives. The Spanish government is aiming for a significant increase in the number of electric vehicles by 2030, but charging infrastructure still needs significant improvements to support this growth.
Installation of 200,000 charging points planned
Spain plans to install more than 200,000 charging points in the coming years to keep up with the growth of electric vehicles. This expansion is essential, especially given EU legislation banning the sale of new fuel vehicles in 2035. The hope is that the expansion of the charging infrastructure will make it possible to travel throughout Spain with an electric car without worrying about battery life.
Public charging points per 100,000 inhabitants
It is striking that the Netherlands is at the top of the list of public charging points per 100,000 inhabitants (577). Spain compares very poorly with only 53 public charging points per 100,000 inhabitants. Belgium has 172 and France, the country that must be passed through to reach Spain, also only 107.
Fast and slow charging
The difference between the charging capacities of the electric stations is large: with a fast charging point – of 150 kilowatts (kW) or more – you can charge the car in a maximum of half an hour. The fastest are those with at least 250 kW, which can fully charge the car in 15 minutes. Just the time it takes to stop for a cup of coffee. But devices up to 50 kW, which represent 83% of the total in Spain, can take between 80 minutes and 19 hours to fully charge.
Where in Spain is the best charging point coverage?
According to the ANWB, the best coverage of charging points in Spain can be found along the east coast. The north and west coasts up to Portugal are also reasonably well equipped. The charging network is relatively good from Barcelona to Cartagena. After that, it quickly decreases. Inland, the charging points are mainly in and around Madrid.
Chargers with one charging cable
In Spain, the main roads are reasonably accessible with 50kW fast chargers, but there are stretches, such as between Zaragoza and Madrid, where 150-180 kilometres are without charging options. Many of these chargers only have one charging cable, which poses risks if it is occupied or defective. It is advisable to always keep a large battery reserve when travelling in Spain. You can also find charging stations along the way via this ANWB app.
Costs and payment for charging in Spain
The costs of charging at regular charging stations in Spain are generally low, often even free, as part of government efforts to promote electric driving. If costs are charged, they are usually €0.25 to €0.30 per kWh. For an electric car with a 60 kWh battery, this means that a full charge costs approximately €15 to €18.
To pay, it is useful to have an Electromaps charging card. You can order this and take it with you when you go to Spain by electric car. You can use this charging card at more than 95% of all Spanish charging stations. This charging card is indispensable, especially if you go off the main roads. You can register and set a payment method via the Electromaps app. You can also search for charging points using various filters, such as real-time availability, activation methods, charging capacity, connector type and location type.
Where in Spain can you charge your car?
The newspaper El País has put together a handy map showing all 27,000 public charging points in Spain. The overview was compiled by the European Commission’s Trans-European Transport Network (TENtec) (updated January 2024.
Also read: All about electric car driving in Spain