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A Look Into Germany’s EV Charging Infrastructure

We consider Germany’s performance in the EV charging industry and what the UK can learn from how the country is preparing for the transition to full electric mobility.

Germany, one of the European countries Mer operates in, is performing highly in the EV and EV charging infrastructure market. This blog takes a deeper look into the country’s ambitions, EV registrations, public charging stations and financial support methods for charging infrastructure, before considering what the UK can learn from Germany.

The Status Quo On Germany’s Climate Goals

The German government is aiming to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2045, cutting emissions by a minimum of 65% in comparison to 1990 levels, and 88% by 2040.

For the transport sector, the aim is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 48.1% by 2030, and their target to have a minimum of 15 million fully electric passenger cars on German roads by 2030 will help the Government in achieving this goal. To support this rapid transition to electric transportation, Germany’s EV charging market must also develop.

Germany’s EV Market

As of May 2022, there were approx. 1.2 million electric cars on Germany’s roads. In the first half of 2022, fully electric cars took a 13.5 percent of all new registrations. However, in July, registrations for plug-in hybrids saw a 16% fall.

In Forbes Advisors’ analysis of the EV-readiness of ‘developed nations’ globally, which looked at various factors before concluding the countries that are best suited for EV drivers, Germany ranked 10th.

Expanding EV Charging in Germany

In July, the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport released a programme to support the transport sector’s compliance with climate targets. The development and expansion of charging infrastructure for cars and commercial vehicles was acknowledged as a method for helping compensate for the fact the sector’s emission targets were exceeded by approx. 3 million tonnes of CO₂ in 2021.

Germany’s National Control Centre for Charging Infrastructure was founded in 2019. The Centre ensures ‘the swift and coordinated establishment of nationwide charging options in Germany’ and works towards a rapid increase in EV charging accessibility.

As of May 2022, the number of public charging points in Germany sits at 60,400.

Berlin takes the 6th spot in the list of the top 10 European capital cities, with 1.27 charging bays per square km, coming behind Oslo, London, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels.

According to the National Control Centre for Charging Infrastructure’s location tool, the states with the highest concentration of charging infrastructure are as follows:

  • Bayern (‘Bavaria’): 6233
  • Nordrhein-Westfalen (‘North Rhine-Westphalia’): 5292
  • Baden–Württemberg: 5265

rapid chargingOn the other end of the scale, Saarland and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern contain the lowest concentration of charging infrastructure, with 236 and 348 respectively.

The German Government appears to be invested in the improvement and development of the country’s charging infrastructure, acknowledging the need for ‘nationwide, needs-based and user-friendly charging infrastructure’. The Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) have recently developed a ‘Charging Infrastructure Master Plan II’ to ‘make the construction and operation of charging infrastructure easier, more convenient and faster’. It includes promises of:

  • Establishing ‘efficient, targeted and fast financial support for the expansion of the charging infrastructure’ by the start of 2023,
  • An examination by the end of this year of a legal obligation for federal states, which would ensure the implementation of a basic supply of local charging infrastructure,
  • Specific charging infrastructure for e-trucks through a tender to secure the construction of a charging network from 2023.

Financial Support

Germany has seen several programmes that are tailored to supporting the expansion of their EV charging network in recent years.

The Publicly Accessible Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles in Germany funding programme has offered €500 million of funding since summer 2021, and will last to the end of 2025. The programme was set up to fund charging points with a charging capacity of up to 22 kW and fast charging points with a capacity over 22 kW, where direct current (DC) charging alone is possible. The fund also supports the costs for associated grid connections or combinations of grid connection and buffer storage. The programme hopes to see the set-up of at least 50,000 charging points, which includes at least 20,000 fast charging points, by the end of 2025. As of July 2022, 12,128 stations have been approved across Germany from the programme, and a further 8108 stations are currently in operation.

The Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport has also offered support for companies and municipalities who are interested in setting up non-public charging infrastructure intended for employees, company vehicles and municipal fleets. The fund, which ends in December 2022, supports the purchase and construction of stationary charging stations with a charging capacity of up to 22 kW, as well as grid connection. A €900 subsidy per charging point is also offered. Companies can receive up to €45,000 per location, whilst municipalities can receive a minimum subsidy of €9,000 with a minimum number of 10 charging points.

What Challenges is Germany facing?

Despite progress in the charging infrastructure field, a recent study titled “The E-Mobility Check: How ready is Germany?” by Strategy&, PwC’s global strategy consulting business, has shown that Germany will not be able to provide the necessary infrastructure for its 15 million desired e-vehicles.

Based on the current pace of 330 new public charging points every week that Germany puts into operation, the study suggests Germany will have 210,000 public fast charging points by 2030 based on their current pace, yet 520,000 public charging points are required to accompany 15.8 million e-cars.

ev chargerThe study cites lack of civil engineering capacity and bureaucratic approval procedures as some of the reasons why Germany is struggling to accelerate the development of their charging infrastructure.

Germany does not only face issues with charging, however. The fact Germany has the smallest price advantage for powering an EV may affect driver motivation to transition to the EV world, as electricity for 1 km costs 78% of the equivalent fuel for an ICE.

The Government announced in July that there is less of a need for government subsidies to support the uptake in EVs, and as such reduce premiums for full EVs costing below €40,000 from €6000 to €4500 at the start of 2023 and to €3000 in the next year. Time will tell whether reducing their financial support programme will affect the EV uptake, or whether it will allow the country to provide a financial boost to other areas of their EV strategy.

What can the UK learn from Germany?

Though the above might suggest financial support is decreasing, Germany has arguably been successful in kickstarting its EV transition through early measures to incentivise the country to take up the EV offer. Their ‘Umweltbonus’ has offered drivers the chance to save up to €9,000 when purchasing or leasing a full or part EV, whilst fully-electric vehicles registered between 2011 and 2030 qualify for a 10-year exemption. Supporting the country through the EV shift makes a fully-electric future all the more realisable.

Thinking outside the box also plays a key role in Germany’s success. Another element of their strategy that the UK can take on board is car sharing. eCarsharing programmes, such as the one Mer Germany offer, help drivers who cannot afford an electric vehicle, and they also help reduce congestion in cities.

As well as getting creative with measures to support EV drivers, Germany appears to be re-evaluating their strategies to grow their EV market and EV charging infrastructure. Learning and improving on these learnings is crucial in this rapidly evolving industry.

Public Charging in the UK

Are you a UK business, public body or commercial landowner looking to improve your sustainability credentials and future-proof your site for the electric mobility transition? Mer operates in the UK and provides EV trustworthy, effective charging solutions.

 

Find out more about what we offer here:

 

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