The debate about the future charging infrastructure for electric cars often focuses on possible target numbers for charging points of the public charging infrastructure without including the competitive situation on site.
This is one of the findings of the study “Scenarios and Regulatory Challenges for the Development of Charging Infrastructure for Electric Cars and Trucks”, which the Institute of Energy Economics (EWI) at the University of Cologne prepared together with the Öko-Institut and the Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN) at RWTH Aachen University as part of the Kopernikus project ENSURE, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
For passenger cars, the battery-electric powertrain is a key future technology. However, the dynamics with regard to e-mobility as a central component for climate protection also mean that the development of charging infrastructure has a key role to play. The desired ramp-up of electromobility can therefore only succeed if sufficient charging infrastructure is available.
The study provides an overview of the current state of the charging infrastructure for battery electric vehicles in Germany and the challenges for its future design. It also looks at the economic aspects of the future infrastructure and the regulatory obstacles that stand in the way of the efficient development of the charging infrastructure and the integration of the new consumers in a way that is as beneficial to the grid as possible.
Another aspect is the efficient provision of public charging station infrastructure. It remains to be seen to what extent the German government will focus more on normal charging infrastructure in the future, or whether it will continue to focus on fast or ultra-fast charging. Both strategies have advantages and disadvantages for charging and for the energy system:
The market for standard charging stations is currently dominated by a strong concentration of local providers, according to one of the study’s findings. “In order to break up regional monopolies and create competitive structures, already existing regional market structures must be given greater focus when allocating sites for charging points,” says EWI manager Dr. Lisa Just, who was involved in the study together with Nicole Niesler, Hendrik Diers and Amir Ash-our Novirdoust from the EWI side. “Central to this is that access to available land is non-discriminatory.”
With more spatial spread of charging infrastructure, interdependencies between the normal and fast charging markets are expected to increase. “An integrated view of both markets, especially in funding instruments and allocation procedures, can help avoid potential lock-in effects in favor of or to the disadvantage of one type of charging,” says Dr. Just. Administrative hurdles in approval processes and the persistent shortage of skilled workers and technical components should also be addressed.