Electric cars: BDEW sees an oversupply of charging stations
The demand for a faster-growing network of charging stations is, to a certain extent, booming, because it is repeatedly put forward by politicians and the Association of the Automotive Industry. Without a sufficient number of charging options, there would be no willingness to switch to electric cars. Kerstin Andreae, General Manager of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), counters this and argues: “The good news is: We have an oversupply of charging options.” The range of public charging stations for electric cars is more than sufficient. This thesis is based, among other things, on the current workload.
The number of charging points has risen sharply
The BDEW speaks of a total of 100,838 public charging points (as of July 1), which roughly corresponds to the figures from the Federal Network Agency, which assumed 92,672 charging points on June 1 of this year. The increase within one year is considerable, because on June 1, 2022 there were still 67,880. In percentage terms, the number of charging points grew the most with 59 to 149 kW (up 46 percent to 6371) and with more than 149 kW (up 164 percent to 6371). The 22 kW AC charging points, which can be connected to the low-voltage grid at comparatively low cost, continue to dominate. Their number rose from 46,157 to 60,052 within a year. This number also comes from the Federal Network Agency and describes the status as of June 1, 2023.
With the number of charging points and a total capacity of 4.5 GW, Germany is well above the EU requirements, argues the BDEW. The public charging points are occupied an average of 11.6 percent of the time. Depending on the district, there would be an occupancy of between 3 and a maximum of 25 percent of the day (over 24 hours). According to BDEW, even between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., the average occupancy rate never exceeds 20 percent. The association collected these figures for the first time, which is why a comparison with the previous year’s values was not possible.
Tripled charging power
Andreae took the figures as evidence that the federal government’s goal of one million publicly accessible charging points by 2030 is technically outdated, since it does not include “the technological leap in charging capacity”. The charging capacity of vehicles and charging stations has tripled since 2019. Significantly more vehicles could be supplied per charging station, says Andreae. However, this describes the situation only incompletely, because this view is limited to charging with direct current. In most cases, however, charging is done publicly with alternating current, and the majority of charging points provide a maximum of 22 kW there. Only a few electric cars can currently exploit this, most of them are at 11 kW. The charging power that is usually used has by no means tripled.
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Two further aspects remain unconsidered in the analysis of the BDEW. A nationwide occupancy is not very meaningful, because in large cities it is quite possible that there is no charging point nearby. The situation is currently also supported by the fact that more than 80 percent of all charging processes do not take place on public infrastructure, but on private wall boxes or sockets. If electromobility continues to grow, the need for public charging points will also increase significantly, because obviously not everyone can create a charging facility in their private environment.
15 million e-car strategy
There are no more excuses why electromobility shouldn’t grow faster in terms of the climate goals, says Andreae. A 15 million e-car strategy is now needed, which should be specifically aimed at the vehicle side. The President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Hildegard Müller, recently complained about a lack of public charging facilities. “In order to achieve the goal set, the rate of expansion over the past twelve months would have to be roughly quadrupled,” she told the Spiegel news magazine.
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