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The future of E-charging infrastructure: Greece8 April 2020

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THIS ARTICLE IS PART OF A SERIES ON THE FUTURE OF E-CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND UNITED KINGDOM.

In this piece we will discuss:

  1. E-mobility in Greece: outline of the current regime
  2. Legal Framework for constructing and operating EV charging stations
  3. EU law requirements for operating a charging station
  4. Tax and other incentives promoting e-mobility
  5. What different business models do we see in the Greek market?

1. E-mobility in Greece: outline of the current regime

A) As far as electric mobility is concerned, Greece remains largely unplugged.

According to a recent comparative study conducted by a Netherlands-based automobile leasing and fleet management company, Greece is one of the least prepared European countries when it comes to e-mobility and infrastructure. ¹

At a granular level, in 2019 there were approximately 115 public charging points operating in Greece, of which only ten had fast chargers, while it is currently estimated that at least 3000 charging points will be required.² The comparison with the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland – the three best equipped EU countries – is overwhelming.

Moreover, the commercial availability of electric vehicle (“EV”) models is limited in comparison to the biggest EV markets in the EU. Specifically, there are currently 10 battery EV models and 20 hybrid EV models available in Greece,³ while in 2019, EVs made up less than 1% of newly-registered vehicles in the country.⁴

Meanwhile, although initial market reaction was positive (in 2017 the EV market share jumped up from 0.06% to 0.19 % with the market almost tripling in volume, achieving market growth of +243%)⁵, lack of appropriate infrastructure, along with the immaturity of the EV market explains, at least partly, the low number of new registrations in the first three quarters of 2019: only 341, the lowest number per capita of the 22 countries examined.⁶

B) On the other hand, there are measures which seek to promote e-mobility.

A number of political and private organisations (such as the Hellenic Institute of Electronic Vehicles) have inaugurated initiatives, albeit piecemeal, to render Greece more e-mobility friendly. A common thread is the acknowledgement that market incentives are necessary during the initial phase of EV penetration in the Greek market.

In order to support e-mobility, the existing institutional framework must be revised and supplemented to address fast developing needs. The new National Plan for Energy and Climate sets e-mobility high on the priority list, with a target that EV will represent at least 30% of all newly registered vehicles by 2030.⁷ At the same time, a new draft bill will be submitted by June 2020, which is anticipated to provide subsidies for the purchase of newly-registered EVs.

2. Legal Framework for constructing and operating EV charging stations

Τhe legal framework for constructing and operating EV charging stations in Greece is rather fragmented.
A) Greek law⁸ sets the minimum terms, conditions and technical requirements for the installation of publicly-accessible EV charging stations at:
    • fuel stations (already operating or to be licensed);
    • parking or rest areas inside ports (already operating or to be licensed);
    • covered or open-air car parks;
    • vehicle workshops (already operating or to be licensed);
    • public or private vehicle testing (MOT) centres (already operating or to be licensed);
    • publicly accessible areas, whether public or private along motorways or highways;
    • car parks in public or private buildings; and
    • terminals and other transport hubs.

"The conclusion of a bilateral agreement between a customer and the charging station operator is not necessary to make use of publicly accessible EV charging stations."

The relevant ministerial decision also specifies in detail the legal and technical requirements for e-mobility infrastructure. In brief:⁹

  • whether the installation and operation of an EV charging station requires a prior approval process or simply a notification to the competent authorities depends on where the charging station is intended to be installed and the nature of the general regulatory requirements applicable to the particular infrastructure. Special requirements apply to the installation of charging stations at fuel stations and any site with LNG/CNG supplies;
  • where an approval is required for the installation of a charging station, the installation license must be issued within 15 business days from the submission of the application. If no response is made within 15 business days, the installation is deemed to have been tacitly approved; and
  • EV charging stations must comply with certain technical requirements, including The EU certification marking (“CE”),¹⁰ and conform to spatial, construction and security rules. The connection to the grid of the Distribution Network Operator is governed by existing provisions.

Moreover, the law clarifies explicitly that the conclusion of a bilateral agreement between a customer and the charging station operator is not necessary to make use of publicly accessible EV charging stations; ad hoc payment should also be available.

As far as operating EV charging points are concerned, the law provides for the establishment of an electronic public registry, whereby all relevant e-mobility infrastructure should be registered and the relevant information (such as the exact geographical locations) will be publicly available at no cost.

B) Another parameter that should be taken into consideration is whether a charging station is built on private or state-owned land and whether it will be installed at already operating and licensed infrastructure. In each case, different legal requirements shall be met:
  • where a charging station is built on state-owned land and operated by a private entity, land usage rights with relation to the State-owned property shall be granted, usually by means of an installation permit and the issuance of an installation protocol by the competent authority. The procedure is less complicated and time-consuming where a charging point is installed at already operating and licensed infrastructure (e.g. a fuel station). However, in this case, the existing licenses and approvals issued in relation to said infrastructure should be amended; and
  • where the operator of the charging station and the owner of the land on which the charging station is constructed are not the same legal entity, parties shall enter into an agreement (usually a lease) in order for the operator to secure land usage rights.

3. EU law requirements for operating a charging station

A) EU-Directive 2014/94/EU

EU Directive 2014/94/EU on the development of infrastructure for alternative fuels was transposed into Greek law by virtue of Law 4439/2016, which provides for the minimum technical and safety requirements regarding the construction and installation of publicly accessible charging points. According to the Directive, it is important that the national legislation provides for the charging station operator to be able to enter into a contract with an electricity supplier different than that already supplying electricity to the household or premises where such a recharging point is located.

B) Privacy law issues

The current market structure suggests the interface of different key players and entities and, therefore, the transmission of private data of their end customers. It is essential that in all cases the consent of the data subject is obtained and that compliance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation) and any applicable national legislation is ensured.

4. Tax and other incentives promoting e-mobility

Greece provided for tax incentives for the first time in 2010, exempting, (among others) EVs from the annual road tax. As of 2013, all EVs are also exempt from the luxury commodity tax charge, while by virtue of Law 4646/2019, companies are incentivised to install and operate charging points by VAT refunds and higher depreciation rates. Moreover, traffic circulation restrictions (which are imposed in the centre of Athens as a means of tackling environmental pollution issues) do not apply to EVs.

Whilst Greece still continues to support renewable energy generation through an operating support system, there is currently no state subsidy for either the acquisition of electric cars or for the construction and operation of EV charging infrastructure. No specific incentives have been implemented to date, as in other countries, by either local or national authorities nor any general VAT incentives other than those mentioned above. However, the Greek government has already announced its intention to promulgate measures to incentivise e-mobility, among which the granting of subsidies to private users (indicatively, reduction of VAT from 24% to 13% for the purchase of EVs, introduction of traffic privileges for the use of EVs and tax benefits for EV taxis).¹¹ According to the latest updates on this matter, a new draft bill shall be presented by June 2020. Meanwhile, private companies have reportedly shown interest in providing relevant incentives in order to promote EV sales to potential private customers.¹²

"The key e-mobility market players are the electric vehicle charging infrastructure providers, the e-mobility service providers, the processor of e-mobility transactions and the aggregator of electricity for electric vehicles."

5. What different business models do we see in the Greek market?

Greek law 4643/2019 adopted the recommendation of Opinion No. 7/2019 issued by the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) according to which the development of publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure should be deployed on competitive market terms.

The key e-mobility market players are (1) the electric vehicle charging infrastructure providers (“EVCIP” and in Greek “ΦΕΥΦΗΟ”), (2) the e-mobility service providers (“EMSP” and in Greek “ΠΥΗ”), (3) the processor of e-mobility transactions (“PEMT” and in Greek “ΦΔΣ”) and (4) the aggregator of electricity for electric vehicles (the “Aggregator” and in Greek “ΦΟΣΕΦΗΟ”).

A) An EVCIP may be either a single-member partnership or legal entity registered with the Greek General Commercial Registry and is responsible for the overall administration (both technical and commercial) of one or more EV charging points. It may provide its services to:

i) users on an ad hoc basis;

ii) users having previously entered into a bilateral agreement with the EVCIP; or

iii) users who have entered into a contract with an EMSP.

An EVCIP may own or lease the relevant plot on which the charging station is installed (where no EVCIP is involved in a publicly available charging spot, its role shall be undertaken by the owner of the relevant infrastructure). Moreover, an EVCIP may enter into a connection agreement with the Hellenic Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) and conclude a contract with one or more electricity suppliers under its capacity as an end consumer, while it is exempted from the obligation to get a licence for the supply or trading of electricity.

B) An EMSP may be either a single-member partnership or legal entity registered with the Greek General Commercial Registry, which provides e-mobility services to subscribed users by setting pricing policies, charging fees and methods of verification.

C) A PEMT may be either a single-member partnership or legal entity registered with the Greek General Commercial Registry. The PEMT ensures interconnection between contractually-unrelated charging infrastructure, by processing and settling transactions between EVCIPs and EMSPs.

D) The Aggregator is a legal entity which represents the parties connected to the EV network in the electricity market. It also provides data to Distribution Network Operators.

In an ad hoc payment model, a PEMT is not required. Moreover, an EVCIP, a EMSP and a PEMT (where applicable) may be the same legal entity. However, in no case may an EVCIP also be an electricity provider.

This public network charging infrastructure model makes it possible for any user to charge an electric vehicle regardless of the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Provider (EVCIP) they have a contract with.

Law 4643/2019 also stipulates that Distribution Network Operators may not own, develop, administer or operate charging points for electric vehicles, other than private charging points exclusively for their own use. According to its provisions, eligible potential stakeholders may act simultaneously as an EVCIP, EMSP and PEMT.

As Law 4643/2019 is in force solely for the past three months, the onus is on market players to implement its provisions.

Disclaimer

Please note that this briefing is not exhaustive of all legal aspects that may be relevant in this context and cannot replace legal advice in a specific situation.

 

Trainee Dimos Papadimitrou and former Associate Maria Epeoglou also contributed to this article.

GO BACK TO THE FUTURE OF E-CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND UNITED KINGDOM.

[1] Source: https://insights.leaseplan.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/200114-EV-Readiness-Index-2020-Report.pdf.
[2] According to a study conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Mobility & Transport Networks of the National Centre of Research and Development.
[3] https://www.fortisis.eu/information/electric-cars/#fully-electric-gr
[4] Source: https://www.fleeteurope.com/en/new-energies/greece/article/greece-1-3-new-cars-ev-2030?a=FJA05&t%5B0%5D=CNG&t%5B1%5D=LNG&curl=1
[5] A. Perellis, D. Mezartasoglou, C. Stambolis ‘Anticipated Penetration Rate of Electric Vehicles in Greece’s Motor Vehicle Market’, 3rd HAEE Energy Conference on ‘Energy Transition: European and Global Perspectives’, Institute of Energy for South-East Europe.
[6] Source: https://insights.leaseplan.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/200114-EV-Readiness-Index-2020-Report.pdf.
[7] Government Gazette B’ 4893/31-12-2019
[8] Greek law 4439/2016 (Government Gazette 222/Α/30-11-2016).
[9] Joint Ministerial Decision No 42863/438 (Government Gazette 2040/B/04-06-2019).
[10] Source: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/ce-marking_en
[11] Source: https://www.iefimerida.gr/oikonomia/kinitra-kathara-aytokinita-kainoyria-metaheirismena
[12]Source:https://www.bmw.gr/el/topics/details/Electromobility.html#/bookmark=aHR0cHM6Ly9mb3JtaHViLmJtdy5hdC9nci90ZW1wbGF0ZXMvYm13L3Jmby1lbGVjdHJvbW9iaWxpdHkvMjAxOV9ncl9ibXdfcmZvX2VsZWN0cm9tb2JpbGl0eV9uc2N3ZWJzaXRlLz9lbWJlZGRlZA== (In Greek)

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