London — Germany's leading telecoms company Deutsche Telekom plans to build a nationwide charging network for plug-in electric vehicles using existing telecommunications infrastructure.
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The company plans to fit its roadside cable distribution boxes in urban areas with separate power supply and metering points, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Telekom told S&P Global Platts.
"This sustainable use of existing infrastructure will help avoid additional structures in the cityscape," she said.
The first charging points have been launched in Bonn and Darmstadt.
The company would not comment on investment volume or costs as the upgrades to the grey on-street distribution boxes depend on local planning approvals from relevant councils.
Separately, the company plans 500 fast-charging stations over the next three years. These are next to publicly accessible Telekom locations and are therefore easier to plan, the spokeswoman said.
Those points will offer up to 150 kWh, enabling a vehicle to charge for around a 100 km range in 10 minutes, the fastest charging option currently available in German cities, it said.
CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE, BATTERIES KEY TO EV ROLL-OUT
The number of EV charging points in Germany has more than doubled since 2016 to reach 13,500 this summer, utility group BDEW said in its half-yearly report in September.
Utilities currently operate three out of four charging points with many still severely under-utilized as sales of EVs remain sluggish and Germany only expected to hit its 1 million EV target by 2022.
The government launched a Eur300 million ($340 million) support scheme to install a nationwide network of charging points by 2020.
Government, auto industry and the utility sector agree that the charging infrastructure is key for the mass roll-out of EVs.
The other key issue for EVs, battery supply, will be in focus next week with the German government planning to unveil a major initiative to support domestic battery production and energy and economy minister Peter Altmaier chairing a so-called "battery summit" on Tuesday in Berlin.
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