Electric vehicle drivers hoping to top up their batteries at one of Repsol's 1,600 Spanish charging stations might well be disappointed, with nearly half lying dormant because they have no power connection.

Such gaps are evident across the European Union, where last week the European Commission announced plans to upgrade the bloc's power grids. These are due to be implemented in 18 months and include addressing EV charging station power shortages.

But despite the declarations of its leaders, red tape preventing progress toward greener transport in the EU is on the rise, industry groups and energy companies say, with permitting one of the major roadblocks.