Regulatory changes spell trouble for Germany’s e-car charging stations
Operators of e-car charging stations in Germany could face regulatory confusion once changes to the country’s measurement regulation take effect, Jana Kugoth writes in the energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. By 1 April, all charging stations in the country need to be able to account for the exact amount of kilowatt hours (kWh) charged. Consumer protection organisations had called for the regulation to ensure that e-car users always know how much a charging process will cost them. The aim is to increase transparency on the burgeoning market. However, the costs for upgrading stations are “enormous” and may take a lot of time. Therefore, some charging station operators already plan to wilfully ignore the new regulation or at least are not going to abide by it on time, Kugoth says. “The legal risks are difficult to gauge,” she writes, adding that many industry observers say that authorities are unlikely to press charges against operators right away. Yet, legal uncertainties for customers as well as for investors remain considerable and in a worst-case scenario this could mean that thousands of charging stations will have to be removed, Kugoth writes.
The swift expansion of charging infrastructure is seen as a key condition for the success of electric mobility. While Germany so far has failed to meet its national targets for the roll-out of e-cars, the country’s biggest carmakers now all have ambitious plans to ramp up the output and sales of electric vehicles in the 2020s, which might lead to a sudden boost in demand for charging stations.