The small range of electric cars suitable for everyday use just a few years ago has grown significantly. The prices for the alternative drive type have also fallen thanks to the larger production volumes and new technologies, in addition to which there are sometimes extensive state subsidies. The development of the charging infrastructure is less positive – electricity filling stations are still in short supply and in many places consumers are faced with an impenetrable tariff jungle.
“We have to make sure that the prices are transparent for everyone, just like the petrol pump, across the providers, to make it clear that charging is possible anytime, anywhere,” said Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) of the German Press Agency ( dpa) .
With regard to range and suitability for everyday use, there are still reservations among consumers about electric vehicles, said ADAC traffic president Gerhard Hillebrand of the DPA . That is why progress in charging infrastructure is so important. “Charging has to be as easy as refueling. At the moment, charging is often still a complex process – especially in view of the payment options and the numerous different tariffs. ”Consumers should be offered uniform standards and more transparency with regard to prices. Markus Emmert, the board member of the Federal Association for eMobility, said that customers need to know in advance what a charging process will cost.
In the case of prices, more comparability is necessary, which is severely limited by the currently very different pricing, said the Baden-Württemberg consumer protection minister Peter Hauk (CDU). He spoke out in favor of a “market transparency center” for charging tariffs, which the consumer protection ministers’ conference in May advocated on the initiative of Baden-Württemberg and Berlin. Charging station operators should be obliged to report prices, price components, occupancy status, and payment options to this point and to update them on an ongoing basis. This data could ensure transparency via the driver’s apps.
Loading market very confusing
So far there is still a tariff jungle, said Thorsten Storck, energy expert at the comparison portal Verivox. There are countless combinations of prices per kilowatt-hour, per charge, per minute, basic charges, roaming charges, and extra charges for fast charging. There are also numerous charging cards and apps that only work at certain charging stations. This leads to large price differences. It would be easiest for customers if they could decide on a tariff that would then apply to every charging station. “This would require a mandatory transmission model that is already in place for the power grid, for example,” explained Storck.
According to the head of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW), the market has made great strides in price transparency in recent years. “Every e-car driver can charge at every charging station in Germany and see the associated price before charging,” says Kerstin Andreae. Tariffs based on kilowatt-hours are now the rule across the board. Most charging contract service providers offer fixed and transparent tariffs for normal and fast charging. As with cell phone tariffs, customers have a large selection of tariffs that suit their user behavior best. Anyone who does not have a charging contract or whose charging contract does not cover the charging station in question can call up the kilowatt-hour price when charging ad hoc, usually via a QR code.
“Typically, electromobility customers, similar to cell phone customers, charge with a charging provider,” said a spokeswoman for the energy supplier EnBW, which is one of the leading providers in this country. A uniform price applies to around 95 percent of all charging stations in Germany. This means there is price transparency across all providers. With ad-hoc charging, as with refueling at a gas station, the price of the respective provider applies.
With contract-based charging, the contract providers would need access to all charging points, demanded the President of the Association of the Automotive Industry, Hildegard Müller. “One thing is clear: Electromobility can only be ramped up in the future with simple, transparent, and customer-friendly charging solutions.”