The future of e-mobility: What is the charging infrastructure like in Germany?

Drivers of electric cars head to charging stations instead of gas stations. In addition to private charging stations and those on company premises, there are also publicly accessible ones. Germany aims to establish one million charging points by 2030. But how many are there currently, and can Germany reach this goal? Who provides the electricity, and how much does a full charge cost? Everything about the current state of charging infrastructure in Germany. Additionally, key data and facts about EV charging and an overview of innovative technologies.

Content

  1. Current state of public charging infrastructure
  2. Different systems, providers, and prices at charging stations
  3. Boom in private wallboxes
  4. Trend towards higher charging power
  5. Overview of charging technologies and concepts
  6. Public charging infrastructure in Germany: The ranking of federal states


Current state of public charging infrastructure

The number of charging stations has steadily increased over the past years.

The National Charging Infrastructure Coordination Center (NLL) has released its latest report on public charging infrastructure in Germany. According to the report, as of the beginning of 2024, there are a total of 106,431 public charging points in operation, an increase of about 20,000 from the previous year. As the NLL shows in a LinkedIn post, the infrastructure is continuously growing, and the charging stations are becoming more powerful.

According to the latest electromobility monitor from BDEW, there were 113,112 public charging points for electric vehicles in Germany as of October 1, 2023, with a total installed capacity of 5.2 gigawatts. Thus, Germany surpassed the 100,000 charging points milestone in 2023. Most public charging stations were operated by EnBW mobility+ GmbH.

The Swedish energy company Vattenfall is investing half a billion euros in Germany by 2028 to expand the charging infrastructure. The focus here is on expanding charging stations for so-called location partners. Supermarkets, parking garages, or hotels, for example, provide spaces, and Vattenfall invests in the infrastructure and operation of the charging points.

The federal government also aims to promote the expansion of both public and private charging networks in Germany to meet the growing demand for EV charging stations and support the shift to electromobility. Various funding programs are provided for this purpose. The largest of these is the Deutschland Netzwerk, which aims to promote the expansion of a network of fast-charging stations to enable faster charging along highways. The state also subsidizes private wallboxes to help households and businesses establish their own charging infrastructure.

Different systems, providers, and prices at charging stations

Charging is not the same everywhere. For charging electric vehicles, there are various options. EV drivers can charge their vehicle at a "normal" household socket, a wallbox, or a fast charger.

To benefit from the available public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, drivers must also consider the different charging systems, providers, and tariffs. Some charging stations require a charging card, while others are billed via an app. A wide range of providers offer solutions, with prices per kilowatt-hour (kWh) varying significantly. Some providers also charge based on charging time.

Boom in private wallboxes

Private wallboxes are trending. One reason is their government subsidy. By the end of 2023, 688,562 subsidized wallboxes had been put into operation, according to statistics from the National Charging Infrastructure Coordination Center. Another 285,887 private charging stations are still in planning. Not only private individuals benefit from state subsidies; the KfW also offers a funding program for fleets of municipalities and companies. Thus, there are now more than a million private and commercially used charging stations for electric vehicles in Germany. In addition to the officially subsidized wallboxes, there is an unknown number of non-subsidized, privately financed wallboxes.

This means that currently, there is one charging point for every electric car in Germany. The Federal Motor Transport Authority reported that the number of purely electric cars registered in Germany at the beginning of 2023 was 1.01 million, plus nearly 865,000 plug-in hybrids.

Trend towards higher charging power

Another trend in the expansion of charging infrastructure is the increase in charging power, outpacing the growth in the number of charging points. The installed charging power increased by 36.5 percent compared to the previous year. This means that users can access more charging power per charging point, leading to shorter charging times and potentially reducing the need for additional charging points.

A significant factor in the increase in charging power is the growing number of fast-charging points with at least 150 kW of power. These now account for the largest share of new installations. In contrast, standard chargers with a maximum of 22 kW play a lesser role. However, standard charging points still make up 83 percent of the total stock.

Overview of Charging Technologies and Concepts

Many publicly accessible charging stations in Germany have either an alternating current (AC) connection or a combination of AC and direct current (DC) connections. However, most electric cars can only handle a low AC charging power, typically a maximum of 11 kW. This is sufficient for overnight charging but not for fast charging. For fast charging, a charging station with direct current (DC) is required.

What is the difference between AC and DC charging?

In summary: AC charging stations can be referred to as standard charging stations, while DC charging stations are fast charging stations. The primary differences are in their charging power and speed.

Standard charging stations (alternating current or AC charging)

AC charging stations are points where alternating current from the socket flows into the electric car. The onboard converter of the EV converts the alternating current into direct current (DC). This is necessary because the battery of the electric car can only store direct current.

AC charging stations are compact units that private households can use for their own EVs or companies for their fleets. They typically have an output power of 11-22 kW and require several hours for a full charge.

Fast charging stations (direct current or DC charging)

DC charging stations convert the alternating current (AC) from the connected power grid directly into direct current (DC) within the charging station. The direct current flows directly from the station into the car battery and does not need to be converted by the onboard converter.

In contrast to AC stations, DC charging stations have a higher charging power, ranging from 50 to 240 kW. This allows for a faster charging process within minutes. Fast charging stations are therefore particularly suitable for use at gas stations, along highways, and in supermarket parking lots.

However, fast charging stations require more space and a higher installation effort. They are also significantly more expensive than AC stations, with costs in the five-digit range. An AC station, on the other hand, costs between 500 and 2000 euros.

“Sun charging” - Solar charging station for electric vehicles

While companies can receive government subsidies for setting up charging stations, they still incur energy costs. Companies pay for every required kilowatt at installed EV charging stations on their premises. For a large fleet, this can quickly lead to high energy costs. A solar charging station for electric vehicles - such as a solar carport - minimizes these costs and simultaneously maximizes the environmental footprint.

Inductive charging

Another technical innovation could be inductive charging for EVs. Research is already underway on solutions that would allow electric cars to charge wirelessly. In inductive charging, energy is transferred via the coil-to-coil method, through coils similar to those found in electric toothbrushes or the Qi principle for wireless charging of smartphones.

Another example of wireless charging is induction modules integrated into the asphalt. Control modules installed at the roadside transfer energy via constantly changing magnetic fields, charging the electric car's battery as needed. This dynamic inductive charging principle could enable public "charging roads" that supply energy to vehicles without time delays.

Public Charging Infrastructure in Germany: The Ranking of Federal States

According to Statista, in October 2023, Bavaria had the most public charging points in Germany, with over 22,400 charging points. North Rhine-Westphalia followed with about 19,800 charging points. Besides the number of charging points, the charging power is also crucial. Saxony-Anhalt had the highest average charging power at the beginning of 2023. Nationwide, the average charging power has steadily increased in recent years. Furthermore, the density of charging stations is also important, i.e., how many charging points there are per electric car.

The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) calculated which federal states and regions have the best ratio of electric cars to charging stations and created a corresponding charging network ranking. The VDA presents three values that are crucial for the expansion of electromobility: the ranking includes three different values that describe the status of electromobility in Germany: A-value, T-value, and S-value. The A-value provides an indicator of the attractiveness of electric cars in the respective region, comparing the number of all registered cars (including combustion engines) with the number of public charging points. The so-called T-value divides the number of registered electric cars by the number of charging points. The S-value indicates how many electric cars have to share a publicly accessible fast-charging point. It shows how many public fast-charging points with at least 22 kW charging power are available per electric car.

In the ranking for both the A-value and the T-value, Ingolstadt is at the top. Here, there are 66 cars, or 4.2 electric cars, per public charging point. Regensburg follows in second place with almost twice as many cars per charging point (125). The Lower Saxony city of Emden is in the top three for both values. According to the A-value, the least attractive area for switching to electric cars is the district of Südwestpfalz, with 2,275 vehicles per charging point. The city of Mülheim an der Ruhr ranks last for the T-value, with 81.4. The S-value highlights a noticeable East-West divide, as the five eastern German federal states have the best fast-charging networks. Nationwide, the S-value stands at 110.8.

Stefan Wendering
Stefan is a freelance writer and editor at NAVIT. Previously, he worked for startups and in the mobility cosmos. He is an expert in urban and sustainable mobility, employee benefits and new work. Besides blog content, he also creates marketing materials, taglines and content for websites and case studies.

Drivers of electric cars head to charging stations instead of gas stations. In addition to private charging stations and those on company premises, there are also publicly accessible ones. Germany aims to establish one million charging points by 2030. But how many are there currently, and can Germany reach this goal? Who provides the electricity, and how much does a full charge cost? Everything about the current state of charging infrastructure in Germany. Additionally, key data and facts about EV charging and an overview of innovative technologies.

Content

  1. Current state of public charging infrastructure
  2. Different systems, providers, and prices at charging stations
  3. Boom in private wallboxes
  4. Trend towards higher charging power
  5. Overview of charging technologies and concepts
  6. Public charging infrastructure in Germany: The ranking of federal states


Current state of public charging infrastructure

The number of charging stations has steadily increased over the past years.

The National Charging Infrastructure Coordination Center (NLL) has released its latest report on public charging infrastructure in Germany. According to the report, as of the beginning of 2024, there are a total of 106,431 public charging points in operation, an increase of about 20,000 from the previous year. As the NLL shows in a LinkedIn post, the infrastructure is continuously growing, and the charging stations are becoming more powerful.

According to the latest electromobility monitor from BDEW, there were 113,112 public charging points for electric vehicles in Germany as of October 1, 2023, with a total installed capacity of 5.2 gigawatts. Thus, Germany surpassed the 100,000 charging points milestone in 2023. Most public charging stations were operated by EnBW mobility+ GmbH.

The Swedish energy company Vattenfall is investing half a billion euros in Germany by 2028 to expand the charging infrastructure. The focus here is on expanding charging stations for so-called location partners. Supermarkets, parking garages, or hotels, for example, provide spaces, and Vattenfall invests in the infrastructure and operation of the charging points.

The federal government also aims to promote the expansion of both public and private charging networks in Germany to meet the growing demand for EV charging stations and support the shift to electromobility. Various funding programs are provided for this purpose. The largest of these is the Deutschland Netzwerk, which aims to promote the expansion of a network of fast-charging stations to enable faster charging along highways. The state also subsidizes private wallboxes to help households and businesses establish their own charging infrastructure.

Different systems, providers, and prices at charging stations

Charging is not the same everywhere. For charging electric vehicles, there are various options. EV drivers can charge their vehicle at a "normal" household socket, a wallbox, or a fast charger.

To benefit from the available public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, drivers must also consider the different charging systems, providers, and tariffs. Some charging stations require a charging card, while others are billed via an app. A wide range of providers offer solutions, with prices per kilowatt-hour (kWh) varying significantly. Some providers also charge based on charging time.

Boom in private wallboxes

Private wallboxes are trending. One reason is their government subsidy. By the end of 2023, 688,562 subsidized wallboxes had been put into operation, according to statistics from the National Charging Infrastructure Coordination Center. Another 285,887 private charging stations are still in planning. Not only private individuals benefit from state subsidies; the KfW also offers a funding program for fleets of municipalities and companies. Thus, there are now more than a million private and commercially used charging stations for electric vehicles in Germany. In addition to the officially subsidized wallboxes, there is an unknown number of non-subsidized, privately financed wallboxes.

This means that currently, there is one charging point for every electric car in Germany. The Federal Motor Transport Authority reported that the number of purely electric cars registered in Germany at the beginning of 2023 was 1.01 million, plus nearly 865,000 plug-in hybrids.

Trend towards higher charging power

Another trend in the expansion of charging infrastructure is the increase in charging power, outpacing the growth in the number of charging points. The installed charging power increased by 36.5 percent compared to the previous year. This means that users can access more charging power per charging point, leading to shorter charging times and potentially reducing the need for additional charging points.

A significant factor in the increase in charging power is the growing number of fast-charging points with at least 150 kW of power. These now account for the largest share of new installations. In contrast, standard chargers with a maximum of 22 kW play a lesser role. However, standard charging points still make up 83 percent of the total stock.

Overview of Charging Technologies and Concepts

Many publicly accessible charging stations in Germany have either an alternating current (AC) connection or a combination of AC and direct current (DC) connections. However, most electric cars can only handle a low AC charging power, typically a maximum of 11 kW. This is sufficient for overnight charging but not for fast charging. For fast charging, a charging station with direct current (DC) is required.

What is the difference between AC and DC charging?

In summary: AC charging stations can be referred to as standard charging stations, while DC charging stations are fast charging stations. The primary differences are in their charging power and speed.

Standard charging stations (alternating current or AC charging)

AC charging stations are points where alternating current from the socket flows into the electric car. The onboard converter of the EV converts the alternating current into direct current (DC). This is necessary because the battery of the electric car can only store direct current.

AC charging stations are compact units that private households can use for their own EVs or companies for their fleets. They typically have an output power of 11-22 kW and require several hours for a full charge.

Fast charging stations (direct current or DC charging)

DC charging stations convert the alternating current (AC) from the connected power grid directly into direct current (DC) within the charging station. The direct current flows directly from the station into the car battery and does not need to be converted by the onboard converter.

In contrast to AC stations, DC charging stations have a higher charging power, ranging from 50 to 240 kW. This allows for a faster charging process within minutes. Fast charging stations are therefore particularly suitable for use at gas stations, along highways, and in supermarket parking lots.

However, fast charging stations require more space and a higher installation effort. They are also significantly more expensive than AC stations, with costs in the five-digit range. An AC station, on the other hand, costs between 500 and 2000 euros.

“Sun charging” - Solar charging station for electric vehicles

While companies can receive government subsidies for setting up charging stations, they still incur energy costs. Companies pay for every required kilowatt at installed EV charging stations on their premises. For a large fleet, this can quickly lead to high energy costs. A solar charging station for electric vehicles - such as a solar carport - minimizes these costs and simultaneously maximizes the environmental footprint.

Inductive charging

Another technical innovation could be inductive charging for EVs. Research is already underway on solutions that would allow electric cars to charge wirelessly. In inductive charging, energy is transferred via the coil-to-coil method, through coils similar to those found in electric toothbrushes or the Qi principle for wireless charging of smartphones.

Another example of wireless charging is induction modules integrated into the asphalt. Control modules installed at the roadside transfer energy via constantly changing magnetic fields, charging the electric car's battery as needed. This dynamic inductive charging principle could enable public "charging roads" that supply energy to vehicles without time delays.

Public Charging Infrastructure in Germany: The Ranking of Federal States

According to Statista, in October 2023, Bavaria had the most public charging points in Germany, with over 22,400 charging points. North Rhine-Westphalia followed with about 19,800 charging points. Besides the number of charging points, the charging power is also crucial. Saxony-Anhalt had the highest average charging power at the beginning of 2023. Nationwide, the average charging power has steadily increased in recent years. Furthermore, the density of charging stations is also important, i.e., how many charging points there are per electric car.

The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) calculated which federal states and regions have the best ratio of electric cars to charging stations and created a corresponding charging network ranking. The VDA presents three values that are crucial for the expansion of electromobility: the ranking includes three different values that describe the status of electromobility in Germany: A-value, T-value, and S-value. The A-value provides an indicator of the attractiveness of electric cars in the respective region, comparing the number of all registered cars (including combustion engines) with the number of public charging points. The so-called T-value divides the number of registered electric cars by the number of charging points. The S-value indicates how many electric cars have to share a publicly accessible fast-charging point. It shows how many public fast-charging points with at least 22 kW charging power are available per electric car.

In the ranking for both the A-value and the T-value, Ingolstadt is at the top. Here, there are 66 cars, or 4.2 electric cars, per public charging point. Regensburg follows in second place with almost twice as many cars per charging point (125). The Lower Saxony city of Emden is in the top three for both values. According to the A-value, the least attractive area for switching to electric cars is the district of Südwestpfalz, with 2,275 vehicles per charging point. The city of Mülheim an der Ruhr ranks last for the T-value, with 81.4. The S-value highlights a noticeable East-West divide, as the five eastern German federal states have the best fast-charging networks. Nationwide, the S-value stands at 110.8.