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German EV chargers up 19% to 33,000 as utility/auto lobbies differ over rollout

Highlights

Public charging points still underutilized: BDEW utility lobby

Auto lobby calls for 2,000/week as EV rollout gathers pace

550,000 BEVs needed to make 33,000 chargers viable: BDEW

London — The number of EV charge points in Germany has risen by 19% since April to 33,107, well ahead of current demand, utility lobby group BDEW said Nov. 17.

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Over 5,300 points were installed over the past six months despite the coronavirus pandemic, it said.

The financial burden of rolling out EV charging stations has largely fallen on utilities, which complain that many are underused, while the auto lobby has called for a much faster expansion.

"EV charging stations are still not profitable due to the low number of EVs," BDEW managing director Kerstin Andreae said, noting a "massive advance payment" by the energy sector on the infrastructure ahead of actual need.

The head of Germany's auto lobby VDA is calling for installation of 2,000 charge points each week on average this decade to meet a government target for 1 million points by 2030 for up to 10 million EVs.

Germany has 240,000 battery-only EVs (BEV) and 200,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEV) registered, BDEW estimates show, with PHEVs generally using under 50% electricity.

Utilities operate 80% of public charging stations, of which 10% are fast-chargers, according to the half-yearly BDEW survey.

At least 550,000 BEVs would be required to make 33,100 public EV chargers economically viable, BDEW calculates.

"We need an integrated rollout plan [both in terms of charging technology and timelines] for the rollout of EVs and the necessary charging infrastructure," the BDEW's Andreae said.

Focus also needs to turn to private charging with the BDEW estimating that 85% of EV charging will be either at home or work with regulation required for buildings and the service sector.

Germany's energy industry is a central player for the success of the transport transition with both grid operators and generators preparing for up to 13 million EVs or some 30% of the German car fleet by 2030, the BDEW said.

EV sales soar

German EV sales have tripled so far this year to 252,000 for the first 10 months, reaching a record 18% market share in October, VDA said Nov. 10.

The government boosted EV cash incentives to Eur9,000/EV amid a debate to extend support to 2025, Energy and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier advocated at a meeting of sector leaders Nov. 16.

Nudge economics are at play too. Berlin has capped household power prices and extended CO2 pricing to transport from 2021 and rising sharply to 2025.

Germany would require some 7 million-10 million EVs on the road by 2030 to meet transport sector CO2 targets.

A study by consultancy Deloitte published Nov. 16 said based on current policies and technologies, Germany would miss that target with only 6.35 million EVs registered 2030.

A reduction of the green energy levy (EEG Umlage) and continued support for EVs as well as tax exemptions were one way to achieve the targets, it said.

Overall, EVs still represent under 1% of German cars with 1 million EVs on the road target set for 2022.

Research into power demand of EVs varies, but some experts estimate around 2.5 TWh/year additional demand from 1 million EVs.