Lack of e-car charging price transparency continues to irk German consumer groups

Automotive Industry

Source: Clean Energy Wire, 2020-10-15

Prices at electric car charging points in Germany are not transparent and diminish the trust people have in e-mobility, the consumer protection association vzbv has said. "Customers often don't know what they will have to pay for a kilowatt hour and face drastically higher prices without any discernible reason," vzbv said, adding that it has issued a warning to several charging point operators with the aim of improving transparency. "The future of e-mobility does not only depend on the expansion of charging infrastructure but also on fair and transparent tariffs," said vzbv's legal expert Kerstin Hoppe. "This currently is not at all the case," she said. Instead of paying for the amount of electricity they use, customers sometimes have to pay for the time they spend at the charging point. "A price based on the amount of time used does not at all relate to the amount of energy provided," Hoppe said, adding that the duration depends on the capacity of the charging station, air temperature, and the battery model in the e-car used. "A comparison of prices becomes impossible that way," she argued.

High purchase costs and opaque charging tariffs are among the main reasons many customers in Germany remain sceptical towards electric cars, even though they acknowledge a general need for change in the country's transport system. The government has sought to boost the sales of e-cars through generous premiums, which are beginning to show strong effects on the country's car market. September saw the registration of more than 20,000 purely electric cars for the first time ever.

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