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21.01.2020 | 4 minutes

City, country, electricity: The charging infrastructure is continually improving in Germany

Carmakers are bringing more and more models of electric vehicles into the market. The charging infrastructure needs to be right if these vehicles are to assume the lead on the road. Let’s take a look at the situation now.

The number of electric car charging stations in Germany has risen by around 15,500 since 2016. That sounds good, but is it enough? The answer: Well, yes and no. Currently, there are 220,000 electric cars in Germany, 84,000 of which are pure electric vehicles. Therefore, the current demand is taken care of, strictly in terms of numbers. The pace of the construction work to optimise the charging infrastructure throughout Germany remains rapid. And the growth is impressive: According to the German Association of Energy and Water Industries, the number of public charging stations has increased to 20,650 (up from 13,500 – an increase of more than 50%) between August 2018 and August 2019.

Users normally charge their electric cars at home or at work. 80 percent of the charging processes take place in these two places. Waiting times are unproblematic since the car is then parked there for longer periods anyway. But as electromobility continues to grow, more public charging stations will need to be available, and with them, more space for parking. After all, not everyone has a garage at home in which they can install a wallbox. This is why Vattenfall InCharge is also continuously expanding its network of charging stations. In addition, more workplaces need electric car charging stations for their employees, not least so that there is enough space to accommodate all the electric cars. After all, it still takes a comparatively long time for an electric vehicle to charge nowadays – time in which the respective parking space is not available for others.

Rural expansion

Electromobility will also continue to gain momentum in rural areas. It is particularly important to expand the EV infrastructure there because people living in rural areas often depend on their passenger cars to cover the long distances between home and work as well as trips to larger cities. Therefore the government is providing grants to support the expansion of the electromobility infrastructure in rural areas.

Within one year the number of public charging stations in Germany has increased from 13,500 to 20,650.

Within one year the number of public charging stations in Germany has increased by 50 percent from 13,500 to 20,650. Photo: Liyao Xie/GettyImages

The government intends to initiate further measures according to its Charging Infrastructure Master Plan, which Minister for Transport Andreas Scheuer recently announced. More specifically, the Charging Infrastructure Master Plan establishes the following measures:

  • Establishment of 50,000 publicly accessible charging stations by 2022, and the automotive industry is expected to contribute 15,000 additional ones
  • Creation of one million publicly accessible charging stations by 2030
  • Corresponding subsidy programs to run until 2025
  • Provision of 50 million euros for private charging facilities in 2020
  • Increased promotion of charging stations in parking lots
  • Installation of charging stations at all filling stations
  • Creation of a suitable framework for network expansion for distribution system operators
  • Establishment of a National Control Center Charging Infrastructure for a coordinated ramp-up
  • Regulatory measures should be a further means if expansion through promotion alone is not successful
  • The master plan is to be evaluated every three years starting in 2021

Subsidies for privately owned charging stations

The German government is also relying on incentives for the installation of charging boxes at apartment buildings, single-family homes, and workplaces in order to create one million charging stations for ten million electric vehicles by 2030. According to a survey conducted by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries, 65 percent said they would prefer to charge their vehicles with electricity from home anyway rather than at public charging stations. In particular for multi-family buildings, the hurdles for the construction of new wallboxes should be removed. With the Ministry for Transport’s master plan, 50 million euros will also be available for the development of private charging stations for the first time.

The government’s plan also includes the establishment of a national operations center to coordinate all necessary measures. In this manner, more than three billion euros are to be invested in the filling station and charging infrastructure for CO2-free vehicles by 2023. Furthermore, Scheuer said that the energy industry will establish a uniform framework for consumer-friendly charging stations in 2020. “For example, this means: Information on occupancy status, transparent pricing, and simple payment options.” Charging should be as easy as it is to use conventional filling stations.

Top cities and regions

The German government is already promoting the expansion of the charging infrastructure in Germany. The establishment of publicly accessible charging stations has been subsidized by means of proportional financing since 2017. In addition, the Ministry for Transport is providing an online tool, the StandortTOOL, which can be used to plan the nationwide charging infrastructure by 2030 and calculate the expansion requirements.

When it comes to the number of publicly accessible charging stations, the top 10 cities are as follows (source: Association of Energy and Water Industries, last updated: Sept., 2019):

  • Hamburg: 948 charging stations
  • Munich 945 charging stations
  • Berlin: 933 charging stations
  • Stuttgart: 398 charging stations
  • Düsseldorf: 213 charging stations
  • Leipzig: 189 charging stations
  • Essen: 159 charging stations
  • Cologne 154 charging stations
  • Ingolstadt: 153 charging stations
  • Dortmund: 131 charging stations

Bavaria leads the nation’s expansion, with around 2,600 inhabitants per charging station. Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Hamburg, Berlin, and Schleswig-Holstein are also in the lead with 3,000 to 4,000 inhabitants per charging station. In comparison: Saarland and Brandenburg are at the bottom of the table with 9,000 to more than 11,000 inhabitants per charging station.

Ready for the transformation in mobility

Bottom line: In Germany the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is set up well. The growth of parking spaces and public charging stations for electric vehicles by around 50 percent within a year shows that things are prepared for the transformation in mobility – both in the cities and the countryside.



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