New registrations of electric cars are rising steadily, so demand for public charging infrastructure is also increasing. According to an analysis by EUPD Research, sales at charging stations will still be below 100 million euros this year. What is the forecast up to 2030? What are the biggest revenue drivers? Christine Koch, Research Analyst, and Dr. Martin Ammon, Managing Director at the Bonn-based consultancy EUPD Research, provide concrete information.
What currently characterizes the market for charging in public spaces?
Dr. Martin Ammon:
Charging electric vehicles in public spaces is a new market that has yet to develop its structures. Our continuous market analyses show a significant growth in the number of players entering this market with a variety of offerings. A few years ago, only traditional energy suppliers were involved here. Although the majority of tariff providers currently still come from the traditional energy industry, the high market potential is also stimulating new provider groups such as car manufacturers.
A general challenge of this market is the further expansion of the infrastructure, which must keep pace with the high speed of vehicle registrations. Similarly, uniform tariff structures must be introduced to create greater transparency for the growing customer base.
Where are the biggest differences in the tariff offers?
The field of tariff offers is broad and shows a diverse spectrum. The offers range from ad-hoc charging rates for individual charging stations to offers from regional and national providers with roaming functions to enable charging throughout Germany. The biggest differences in tariffs lie in charging network coverage, price and access to the tariff. In addition, tariffs differ in access to the use of normal and/or fast charging infrastructure, access to the charging station and associated payment methods or the supply of green electricity at the charging station.
Keeping track of these is not easy, as tariffs vary in suitability depending on the tariff requirements of the electric car driver. The challenge for tariff users is to find the right tariff for themselves and for tariff providers to make their tariff design both advantageous for their own business model and attractive for the tariff user.
What are current trends in tariff offerings?
Dr. Martin Ammon:
In recent years, for example, the range of flat rate tariffs has been significantly reduced and classic tariff models are becoming increasingly popular. Due to legal requirements, tariffs based purely on standing charges have now been converted into billing models based on the actual amount of electricity charged. Despite all this, individual providers have now introduced new cost components such as blocking fees, which can significantly increase the price of the kilowatt hour charged.
New provider groups such as automobile manufacturers are also using charging electricity tariffs as elements of customer loyalty. Accordingly, there are now various tariffs that are exclusively accessible to owners of certain automobile brands. Overall, the existing tariff structures are proving to be less stable. In addition to adjustments to the price components, the other tariff details are also subject to constant change.
To what extent do legal framework conditions influence the development of the public charging infrastructure and corresponding tariff offers? (If applicable, reference to the fast charging law, calibration law regulation, subsidies for electric cars, etc.).
The development of the charging infrastructure and the associated tariff offers are still in the expansion phase, in order to be accessible in the future not only to the minority, but to be suitable for the masses. Public criticism of the expansion of the charging infrastructure is that it is inadequate and progressing too slowly. The reasons for this are also to be found in the legislative framework to create a uniform framework for public charging. This leads, for example, to conversions or retrofits of the existing charging infrastructure, which cause delays in the expansion, as shown by the implementation of mandatory compliance with calibration law.
In addition, the future focus is primarily on expanding the fast-charging infrastructure so that the long-distance driving infrastructure can be guaranteed. In the tariff structure, this means on the one hand a transformation from formerly free charging to charging for a fee. On the other hand, the costs for the expansion of the charging infrastructure will be passed on to the charging prices, so that this will result, for example, in different charging prices for AC, DC or HPC charging stations.
What is the current and future expected revenue and market volume (until 2030) for public charging?
Dr. Martin Ammon:
Although registration numbers for electrically powered passenger cars are moving from one record to the next, the market for electromobility is growing from a low base. Accordingly, the market volume is currently still manageable at 21 million euros in 2020 and 72 million euros in the current year. With the growing stock of electric vehicles, the market volume is anticipated to almost double each year in the period up to 2025, starting from 2021. In 2030, Germany-wide sales of public charging stations are forecast at €3.3 billion.
Electromobility as a trend factor: What factors will influence sales and market volume up to 2030?
The influencing factors for increasing sales and market volume are manifold. The current boom in electric cars and the increasing awareness of environmental friendliness and sustainability will continue to grow in the coming years. Accordingly, there is a rapidly increasing demand for charging in public spaces. Furthermore, there is a shift from the previous high share of charging in private spaces to an increasing share of charging in public spaces. On the other hand, the expansion and high investment costs of the charging infrastructure will lead to price increases in the future, and rising electricity costs will also drive up charging prices.
In addition, electric cars will be used increasingly for long-distance trips in the future due to increased ranges, so that there will also be shifts in the use of the charging infrastructure. While charging at normal charging points dominates the German market today and entails favorable AC charging rates, in the future e-car charging at fast charging points will entail more expensive DC and HPC rates and increase sales at charging points.
The market penetration of e-mobility is growing and therefore the customer group is also changing, from early adopters to the early majority. What changes does this bring for electromobility?
Dr. Martin Ammon:
The customer group of electric vehicle users is changing structurally. While electric cars were extremely cost-intensive in the beginning and public charging was hardly possible, electromobility was limited to higher-income homeowners. With the model offensive of the automobile manufacturers and a growing number of affordable small and medium-sized vehicles, the clientele of electromobility has changed and is increasingly reaching residents of apartment buildings. Without their own parking space, charging at public charging stations is becoming the norm rather than the exception for this group.
With the onset of the mass market for electromobility, the tariff structures for public charging must also become more suitable for everyday use. Customers expect transparent, simple tariffs that do not turn a trip across Germany or beyond into an adventure. Charging must become as simple as filling up at a gas station is today.
About the comparative analysis of mobile charging rates 2021
The Comparative Analysis of Mobile Charging Electricity Tariffs 2021 is the third edition of EUPD Research's study. Each year, the study provides a detailed, comprehensive status quo on the market situation of mobile charging electricity tariffs in Germany. In a comprehensive analysis, the currently available tariffs are recorded and the 15 most advantageous tariffs under each of the three driving profiles are presented and compared in detail. Further information on the contents of the study can be found here (in German): Comparative analysis of mobile charging tariffs 2021