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20 Jul 2021, 13:12
Charlotte Nijhuis

Public charging drives up price of electric mobility for consumers

Zeit Online

Charging an electric vehicle at a public charging point can be significantly more expensive than doing it at home, Zeit Online writes. The price of electricity at a public charging station can be up to 20 cents higher than household electricity, or up to 45 cents higher at a fast charger, according to a price comparison by the green electricity provider Lichtblick and data service provider Statista from last autumn. "For a few years, the low prices for charging the battery were a good argument for switching to e-cars," Matthias Vogt, e-mobility expert at the ADAC, told Zeit Online. "But especially at the public charging stations, you now have to say: it depends." It depends on which city you live in, how often you use a fast-charging station and whether you can find your way through the different tariff options. So far, electric cars have mainly been used for commuting to work and most charging takes place at home, according to an analysis by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI. "But public charging will become more important in the future," says Uta Burghard, who co-authored the study.

Companies justify the high costs by pointing out the large investments needed to install public charging stations. "A larger charging park with a solar roof costs a six- to seven-figure sum," a spokesperson for EnBW said. In addition, maintaining the columns regularly and operating a 24-hour hotline are costly. The competitor Ionity, a merger of several large car companies, has invested in 400 fast-charging parks on the main traffic routes in Europe. The price for a kilowatt hour at Ionity is up to 79 cents, so it can cost more than 60 euros to charge a vehicle with a large battery, Zeit Online reports. The charging station operators argue that a large part of the price does not reach them as a it goes toward the grid operator and several taxes and levies, such as the renewables levy.

A lack of charging infrastructure is often seen as a bottleneck for the rollout of millions of e-cars over the next decade. The take-up of electric vehicles has increased rapidly in Europe since last year, at least partly due to generous government subsidies. In its "Fit for 55" package of measures to reduce emissions, the EU Commission proposed a ban on the sale of new polluting cars from 2035.

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