Federal Council decides on e-charging stations

Berlin (dpa) – Electric cars fill up at the charging station – but how do you pay for electricity at public charging points? The federal government, car manufacturers and the energy industry are arguing about this question.

While the federal government is calling for readers for card payments, companies find them outdated and rely on apps. The Federal Council is to vote on the question on Friday.

The problem

Currently there are for payment Charging stations are not a uniform system. There are more than 46. 000 public pillars, but hundreds of operators, contract models and tariffs. Charging works partly with customer cards, which only work on certain pillars, and partly with apps. Sometimes a basic fee is paid monthly, sometimes only per charging process.

The idea of ​​the federal government

The charging of Electric cars should become simpler and more independent, so that users can spontaneously use any charging station they can find on their way. The cabinet has therefore initiated a change to the charging station ordinance, which would oblige providers to install readers for common debit or credit cards in new charging stations from July 2023. Charging stations that are already in use would not have to be converted. Before this ordinance can come into force, the Federal Council must agree.

The arguments of the auto and energy industry

Several trade associations oppose the card reader requirement. The terminals are outdated, they cause additional costs for users and slow down the pace of innovation, say the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management, the Association of the Automotive Industry and the Central Association of the Electrical and Electronics Industry. Digital solutions, such as apps or mobile providers such as PayPal, are modern. «In 2030 no one needs EC card terminals as an expensive back-up payment option. They are then an anachronism like telephone booths today as a back-up for smartphone users, “explained the associations.

The head of the VKU public utilities association, Ingbert Liebing, argues similarly. “Very soon digital solutions will be the rule in all areas of life,” he told the German press agency. Any additional requirements placed on the operator would inhibit the expansion of the charging infrastructure.

Cities and banks think differently

The banking industry , Cities, municipalities and districts, on the other hand, insist on open payment systems. According to the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV), consumers must be able to pay at every charging station with the card they have in their wallet. The ADAC is also in favor of consumers being able to pay at the e-charging station as they are used to at many normal petrol stations, as ADAC traffic president Gerhard Hillebrand told the world.

The proponents of the card readers argue that payment chaos at the charging stations is slowing down e-mobility. On average, every e-car driver now has three charging cards from different providers and has to register in apps and on websites with sensitive payment data – and yet he cannot simply drive to the nearest charging station, but has to look for the one of his contractual partners.


Many drivers who drive an e-car have prepared themselves for the fact that several cards or apps are necessary to be able to charge the car anywhere. Apps also show in real time which charging stations in the area are currently free or occupied. Many providers also offer roaming options, so that you can charge at thousands of stations, for example, with a card from a large chain of petrol stations or from an energy supplier. Many drivers tend to be annoyed by the comparatively high rate of defective charging stations that have not been repaired for weeks. They also want illegal parkers to be towed away more consistently.

The vote

Like the vote in Federal Council goes out is completely open. Not all federal states support the obligation to install a card reader. That is why the subject was postponed once. If the majority of the Laender rejects this, the ordinance cannot come into force. However, it is also possible for the countries to change certain points and then agree.

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