As the number of electric cars is set to increase in Germany, an intelligent charging infrastructure supported by a combination of private households and publicly accessible charging stations based on renewable energy is needed to ensure that electric vehicles can be charged anywhere, Power2Drive Europe, an international exhibition for charging infrastructure and electric mobility, said on January 17.
Power2Drive Europe, which will take place on May 15–17 in Munich, cited the most recent study conducted by Aurora Energy Research predicting that by 2040, up to 29 million electric cars will be driving on German roads.
About two years ago, the German government decided to launch an incentive program for e-mobility. Since the beginning of 2017, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure’s charging infrastructure program been contributing to investments in the development of a nationwide, publicly accessible charging infrastructure, Power2Drive Europe said in a press release.
The programme intends to help establish a comprehensive and needs-based charging network with at least 15,000 new charging stations by 2020. To this end, the German government has set aside €300 million for the period from 2017 to 2020.
The initiative has been well received by private investors and municipalities alike: The first two calls for applications attracted over 3,000 submissions, with 15,803 charging points being granted funding, 2,330 of which will be high-speed charging stations, Power2Drive Europe said, adding that this will more than double the number of existing charging stations. The third call for funding followed in November 2018. The German government has earmarked around €70 million for this appeal alone, which will finance the construction of up to 13,000 charging points.
Companies, too, have recognised the need to expand the charging infrastructure in order to promote e-mobility in Germany and worldwide. EVBox, a Dutch clean technology company, within the past few years, has already installed more than 60,000 charging points in over 45 countries. Job Karstens, PR and Event Manager at EVBox, noted that 23% of CO2 emissions are produced by traffic. “This is why we believe in introducing positive changes to the transportation sector. A more widespread deployment of electric vehicles would drastically reduce emissions,” Karstens was quoted as saying in the press release. “So cities should invest in their charging infrastructure. For example, Amsterdam and Rotterdam – cities we equip with charging stations – have an international reputation as being forerunners in e-mobility”.
But German cities are also getting charged up. “There is a lot of dynamism in the market for charging infrastructure. Take Hanover, for example. As the concession-holder for the charging infrastructure network in Hanover, we will construct 480 charging points by the end of 2020,” said Susanna Zapreva, CEO of Enercity AG. “We have set the goal of providing our customers with one of the densest charging networks in Germany operated solely with green power. And the charging infrastructure is only one part of our e-mobility initiative. We’re fully on track to break down many e-mobility barriers.” The most recent German city to follow suit has been Cologne by presenting the city council a resolution for the site concept “charging infrastructure on public roads in the city of Cologne” in 2019.
From operating fleets of electric vehicles to charging at work to equipping public parking lots, gas stations and highway rest stops with electric charging options, expanding the commercial and industrial charging infrastructure offers a foundation for many appealing business models, Power2Drive Europe said, citing the most recent analysis by Aurora Energy Research, which notes that positive rates of return are possible in any of these areas – as long as users pay for the power used and operators reach a margin of five to eleven euro cents per kilowatt hour – depending on the approach.
By 2040, the power demand generated by electric vehicles in the commercial and industrial sectors could reach between 13 and 17 terawatt-hours per year in Germany alone, representing approximately 3% of the country’s current power consumption. Two to four million charging stations will be needed to meet this demand, requiring an investment of up to €8 billion.
The European Union is supporting electric vehicles as they can make transport cleaner and reduce CO2 emissions.