Developing a fast charging network in Germany

Developing a fast charging network in Germany

The EU Commission has approved the German State aid scheme to support a high-power fast charging network.

On 15 February 2023, the European Commission published its approval of the German 1.8 billion tender scheme to support the development of a of a nationwide fast charging network.

Overcoming the chicken-and-egg problem in charging infrastructure and developing a national HPC backbone

The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport’s (BMDV’s) aims to expand the nationwide HPC (High Power Charger) fast charging network such that the nearest fast charger – regardless of the population density of a region – is to be accessible from any location in Germany in no more than 10 minutes.

The German Government will tender the construction and operation of new HPC infrastructure in 23 regional lots at 900 pre-defined locations. To strengthen competition, regional lots overlap geographically and each bidder can be awarded a contract as CPO (Charge Point Operator) for the construction and operation of the facility for a maximum of three lots.

The tender helps to overcome the chicken and-egg problem for charging infrastructure: While the limited availability of a nationwide charging network is a fundamental obstacle to a higher number of EVs, charging point operators wait for higher EV registration numbers before investing in additional area-wide charging infrastructure.

Using public funds efficiently and minimising distortions on competition

Frontier (in cooperation with the law firm BBH) advised the Ministry on the tender design which ensures that:

  • charging prices at subsidised charging points do not distort market prices at other fast charging points without funding from the scheme;
  • market-based investment incentives remain in place and are not crowded out by subsidised HPC infrastructure;
  • there is non-discriminatory access to subsidised charging stations;
  • exploitation of any potential local market power is prevented.

The Commission has approved the tender scheme on these grounds.

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