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Why the expansion of electric car charging stations is so stagnant

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Status: 06/28/2022 2:38 p.m.

The number of electric cars on the streets has increased sharply – but the expansion of the network of electric charging stations is progressing very slowly. What are the reasons – and how is Germany doing?

They exist in many shapes and colors, but they are still rare in public spaces in Germany: electric charging stations. They are essential for switching from combustion engine cars to electric cars. But German municipalities are not well equipped for this.

More than half of the 10,796 communities do not have a single charging point (as of May 1, 2022). This is shown by an assessment by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) based on data from the Federal Network Agency. In the energy transition barometer of the public development bank KfW, more than 50% of households recently said that they could not imagine buying an electric car due to the lack of public charging infrastructure.

Saxony in the lead, Saarland in the bottom

The VDA’s charging network ranking numbers also reflect the slow pace of expansion. This shows that Saxony, the leader, has an average of almost 14 electric cars per charging point, while Saarland brings up the rear with 28. Most of the columns are in the state capital, Saarbrücken, while the more rural north of the state is sparsely furnished.

The Saarland Ministry for the Environment, Climate, Mobility, Agriculture and Consumer Protection assumes that charging often takes place at home. With the country having a high homeownership rate of around 64%, supply in public spaces is currently tight. In addition, the charging infrastructure is extended according to market economy aspects. As a result, there were no charging stations in some areas.

Boom in new electric vehicle registrations

Today, EU environment ministers want to decide on the planned ban on new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035. The German position has been contested to the bitter end in the traffic light coalition . If the ban comes, the expansion should go much faster.

The gap between new electric car registrations and the expansion of charging stations is widening. Over the past twelve months, an average of 57,000 electric cars per month have been registered. During the same period, the number of charging stations only increased by 1,400 per month.

That’s currently about 60,000 nationwide. By comparison: the Netherlands has nearly 80,000 and is five times smaller than Germany. The VDA requires that the current expansion rate be multiplied by six. Otherwise, the Federal Republic will only have around 210,000 charging stations in 2030, which is around a fifth of the federal government’s target of one million.

Bureaucracy and bottlenecks as an obstacle

The ADAC considers the time required to find a location and obtain the appropriate permits to be a major problem. In addition, there are now bottlenecks for deliveries of equipment and transformers.

In order to accelerate the speed of expansion, faster planning and approval processes are needed, according to VDA President Hildegard Müller. “We need to accelerate planning when expanding charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and the automotive industry has submitted concrete proposals to this effect.”

In the ranking of VDA charging networks, the east is often better off than the west. For the automobile club, the current statistical lead of the eastern federal states is easy to justify, since fewer electric cars are registered there overall. While almost 300,000 “electric vehicles” are registered in North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony has only 34,000 electric cars.

The charging infrastructure master plan II is pending

The experts agree: the expansion needs a new impetus throughout Germany. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing has already announced the charging infrastructure master plan II. Among other things, this includes accelerating planning and construction and, above all, tackling fast charging infrastructure.

However, the project was cashed in by the Federal Ministry of Economics due to disputes over responsibilities. According to a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Transport, we are currently in the “internal government coordination process”. It is still unclear when the master plan will be presented to the cabinet. It is therefore unlikely that the momentum for the expansion of electric charging stations in public spaces will materialize in the immediate future.

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Source www.tagesschau.de

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