Autobahn Tank & Rast Sites In Germany Are Getting DC Fast Chargers

MAY 18 2016 BY MARK KANE 60

RWE will equip a total of 49 Tank & Rast motorway service stations with ultramodern quick-charging stations.

RWE will equip a total of 49 Tank & Rast motorway service stations with ultramodern quick-charging stations.

In late 2015, RWE announced a major fast charging project with Tank & Rast in Germany that is now underway.

The plan is to install ultra-modern charging stations at 49 German motorway service stations.

Chargers are supplied by Efacec, and the even better news today is that RWE is using Efacec’s multi-standard units – the QC45, with 50 kW CCS, CHAdeMO and AC type 2.

“As a result, even on longer journeys, electric car owners will soon be able to quickly and easily “refuel” their electricity. Depending on the vehicle model, the charging time is only 15 minutes for a range of approximately 100 kilometres (58 miles).
RWE Effizienz’s quick charging stations are equipped with all modern ports: the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard, Chademo, and type 2 plugs. Because there are two parking spaces located at each charging station, it is possible for travellers to charge two vehicles simultaneously. In the initial phase, they will be able to use the service free of charge, without a charging card.”

By 2018 Tank & Rast sites could turn into the largest fast charging network in Germany if all  ~400 locations ultimately get DC fast chargers.

“In total, Tank & Rast plans to equip around 400 locations, and hence, from 2018 onwards it will offer the largest single network of quick-charging stations on Germany’s motorways. Within this network, drivers of electric vehicles will therefore find an e-charging station about every 30 kilometres (19 miles) on average.”

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60 Comments on "Autobahn Tank & Rast Sites In Germany Are Getting DC Fast Chargers"

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Someone out there

Yep, that’s how you stay in business in the post-ICE age


Excellent news. Not so sure about the math.
“the charging time is only 15 minutes for a range of approximately 100 kilometres (58 miles).”
In my book, nobody goes more than 4 km per kWh on the highway/autobahn. Then one must charge with 100 kW in order to add 100 km range in 15 minutes.
PS Hope they are upgradable to the version of CCS coming shortly.


Good point about the charging time. It’s interesting how that often gets inflated. 58 miles in 15 minutes is more like 75 kW speed charging.
Good question about upgradability. I doubt anybody reading this knows the answer to that question tho. At the very least what could happen is that the future 150 kW charger could be installed in addition to the existing 50 kW one. These service station locations likely won’t have just one fast charger in a year to two years from now. One I saw recently on Going Electric had 4!


Upgradability is going to be a challenge. If, when the 50kW chargers are installed, they are putting in electrical cables capable of 200+ kW (for multiple chargers or one really fast charger), I doubt it will be that expensive, mostly the cost of the unit and a day for an electrician to install it. But, I somewhat doubt that, in which case having a single 50kW unit wouldn’t be any big advantage if you now want to replace it with a 150kW unit…


It’s the Autobahn. So, mph of range going out is another consideration. At 50kw, the ratio of driving/charging probably wouldn’t look so good.

Kootenay EV Family

My Leaf does about 6 km/kWh…


Your Leaf probably doesn’t do 6km/kWh at typical German Autobahn speeds (130km/h)…
Since the context here is explicitly service stations on Autobahns, that’s the relevant metric.


Not everyone on the German Autobahn drives at 130 km/h. Drafting behind a truck doing 90 km/h will get you a long way 🙂


Then it’s time to update your books and adjust driving style. With current courtesy Leaf I’m getting 4.5m/kwh (not exceeding 70mph (exception – tailwind).
Regards to charging times, Leaf accepts 106 amps (reduced now because of German brands using ccs) up to 75% battery capacity, once I’m having 8 bars of the battery temp. Shame it’s not e-nv200 and battery isn’t cooled, after 10th bar charging rarely exceeds 90 amps

Older chademo chargers capable to provide 120 amps and leaf is happy to accept it, it takes then around 20 mins to get to 80%


So latest fuel choices in Germany are:

1. Gasoline $5.60
2. Diesel $4.65
3. Electric $ free

Guess I’d choose *free*!


It’s written ‘in the initial phase’. Meaning it’ll be free qs short as possible.


Free also means it’ll probably be clogged with free loaders so that people who actually need to use it will be waiting and waiting (and waiting and waiting and …) Hopefully they’ll start charging money soon. Free charging SUCKS!


Only if not built for demand.

Few people are going to stop on the motorway for a free quick charge unless they need it.

For chargers on cities, it can theoretically be a problem. Solved by installing enough charging stalls.


There’s no amount of supply that will meet the demand that’s free. In case you didn’t know, people who get free charging drive miles down the road to use free DCFC rather than charging at home. People will do the same whether that’s in highway stop or local shopping mall. It’s not a problem for locals who get it for free and not need it, but if you actually need it and must wait (ie, during rush hour away from home), it SUCKS!


Since the inconvenience factor for getting the free charge is so high, you’ll mostly be building for actual demand.

I wonder if there is any actual data on this?

Anecdotally, it did not seem to be a problem for the free Blink or Aerovironment DCQC infrastructure in the Seattle area. They were broken far more often then they were in use when I needed them.


The problem is that demand while free will be very different from demand when they charge money. If they build based on free demand, they’ll have lots of empty stalls when they start charging money.

In my very non-scientific poll, almost everyone (> 4 out of 5) who use DCFC get it for free and most of them live locally (ie, drive few miles to use DCFC despite the inconvenience).

Jim Whitehead

Nobody said these are “free!” German power is very expensive today; that is why solar is popular there. Someone has to pay for it.

Tesla power is called “free for the life of the car,” because $2,000 ($2,500 done later)is built into the car price you paid in advance.

Absent a multi-firm agreement to prepay the system and escrow funds, these pumps are going to be needing your credit card after the first “free” year or two (just like the initially “free” OnStar system). If your card is maxed out on a trip, too bad dude, you are “out of luck” and stuck.


Have a look at the their prices for charging, to travel with ice (even with my ice lexus gs) is so much cheaper there


Some observations:
– only one charger per raststette (tank and resting stop)
– 49 isn’t nearly enough to blanket the country. Germany is large and has a LOT of road.
– 50 kw in 2018 isn’t going to be enough. 150 kw is the near future standard.


I don’t agree with your second point. Germany has about 58 Super Chargers and it pretty much blankets the whole state.


If you are talking Tesla Superchargers, that’s not what is being discussed here.


“– 49 isn’t nearly enough to blanket the country. Germany is large and has a LOT of road.”

I pointed out that 10 more Superchargers covered pretty much everything.

I never discussed SCs, I used them as a point… so yeah


I gotcha. You are saying that if there were 49-58 higher power fast chargers that that would cover the country fine.


But by the same token You need more slower stations Tesla space theirs 170 miles apart, which is not what this network is aiming at. Nor cars can charge so fast so slower network need more deals for same throughput.

After upgrade to 150kWh it will still be not enough because current stations are c clustered to closely.

To sum up. Current Network is good start. But to truly succeed they will needed to expand. Which sseam to be the plan 😉


It depends on the cars range, not so much the charging speed. If the car can’t go more than 200 miles and there are some roads where the next charger is 220 miles away, you won’t make it. Even if you charge with 1MW.

Higher charging speeds just eliminates the need for more chargers at one location, because you would wait 15min to charge, but not one hour. At least not happily.

BTW the next open CCS standard will be 200kW according to CharInEv. The 150kW are just for testing.


Yeah yeah, chademo was testing 100kw and even kia soul eV originally been planned with 100kw charging option. Where are those after testing? Don’t forget that no one stopping progress more than monopoly (chademo case for 20 years if I’m not wrong)


I guess they will have to, most of VW-Groups next EVs will need them to be successful, imagine a 90+kWh Audi SUV using a 50kW charger, it would take ages, and now that even Tesla is part of CharInEv, there is even one more player pushing a faster charging standard.

It might not be so important for BMW and Mercedes, but Tesla would be very happy with 400 “really fast fast charger” sites spread all over Germany. They could focus on building Superchargers in the rest of Europe.


Tesla’s are long range vehicles. These fast chargers are for short-range EV’s like the i3, Leaf and Zoe. In The Netherlands, we have about 60 fast chargers along our motorways and I can tell you from practice (instead of theory) that that is not enough.


It’s written ‘In total, Tank & Rast plans to equip around 400 locations….’. Meaning they’ll blanket the country later.


I think they’ll upgrade those dc fast chargers to faster speeds as they figure it out. Give them time. They are still flailing with offerings like the Smart ED, the BMW i3 weirdmobile, and the VW LEAF-clone eGolf. 😉


Fastned states it in their plans to upgrade.

But fastned is already around for a while. I think these guys are late to the party and should wait because they might need to upgrade their chargers really soon, which I going to be expensive.


I think Germany is going to be happy to not be so dependent on the Russia bear for oil.

They should really keep their nukes operating though.

Rick Bronson

Germany which has lot of wind turbines which generate more power at night should ideally install more electric chargers everywhere to use that power.

But unfortunately VW & MB block every effort to promote Electric vehicle and instead are happy to sell the dirty diesels.

At least BMW is making concerted effort in selling EVs.


Yes, they should install more chargers, but they should also invest in energy storage systems, so they don’t run into situations like the one I think last week, when so much power was being made by the turbines, that utilities were paying for customers to consume it. If they can create a wide storage infrastructure, either based on Li-ion batteries or ramp up the research on organic ones, they could make a huge leap towards the energy grid of the future.


Germany has way more solar panels than wind turbines. They have a surplus of energy during the day and not at night.


Ok, but they hardly have a surplus of energy every day. With the proper storage infrastructure, they could balance supply and demand, saving energy the surpluses for the literal rainy days.


…saving the energy surpluses…


So Efacec QC45 eh – 50kW DC total + 43kVA AC. Ultra-modern? Ok I get it – in their minds everyone who drives an EV is ultra-modern.
50kW isn’t bad only if they plan on keeping you entertained for 2 hours. Otherwise how are you going to their next station?

Tony Williams

There aren’t many cars that can handle more than 50kW from a public charger.

Even Tesla is limited to 125 amps through the CHAdeMO adaptor (about 48kW max).

Actually, the singular mass produced car in the world that can take 200 amp CHAdeMO is the Kia Soul EV, and that’s only about 75kW.

There’s very few higher powered chargers available, and those that are available have very few cars to charge.


It would be very stupid to invest in infrastructure that will be outdated only after a couple of years. They should have invested in 100kW chargers as they are the sweet spot that will be usable for long EV journest for the next 10-20 years.


IMO upgrading the chargers will only cost a fraction of the initial install.

And those higher power chargers must be available, which I don’t think they are (maybe as a dedicated single standard charger, but not as this kind of 3-standdard-one-box-fits-all form factor).


A fraction? Have you got any sources for that? ABB for instance says that they do not support upgrading at all – a new charger is needed and probably a new mains line too.


“a new charger is needed and probably a new mains line too.”

A new power line is not needed if they dig down a thick enough cable in the first place to handle upgrading the charger later. Even though higher power charger hardware might not be available yet, the higher power cables are available.
A lot of the cost of putting up a fast charger is to dig down the power cable. By planning ahead and putting down a larger cable that can handler more and larger chargers later, they might save money in the long run, instead of putting down a cable that can just handle a single 50 kW charger.


It’s not a fraction unless they planned for it now. For example, if the wiring to charger is only rated for 50 or 60 kW, installing anything larger will require ripping out the existing wiring. That could cost more than simply adding new high power wiring on virgin land.

I suspect what we have now will stick around for a while, and new ones will be built in locations that don’t already have them.


Is it just looks like or most don’t understand that output can be even 500kw, your EV won’t be able to take, it’s not limitation by the charger itself, its limited by the size of the baterry (mostly because of chemistry).
I’ve been reading few years back if you would decrease tesla battery down to leafs 24kwh, it would be able to accept just the same current as leaf, not more


This kind of thinking reminds me of street planning throughout the last century – cars are novelty -> cars are for the rich -> there wont be many more cars on the road -> a car for every other household ought to be enough.

I get it that it will be hard to invest in EV infrastructure anyway since it is rapidly changing. But consider this – in 2-3 years 200mi/300km EVs are the norm. You need 1.5 hours for a meaningful charge at 50kW. In 5-6 years 300mi/450km will be the norm and you would need close to 2-2.5h for a meaningful charge.
No way you will pay to charge there if a significantly faster charger is anywhere on your route.


CCS on the QC45 locks up from time-to-time requiring a hard reset of the charger…. a remote reboot doesn’t work.

The irish rapid charging network uses a lot of QC45s (and 80 or so of our old chademo only rapids will be replaced by them by the end of the year)

Most of the time they work fine… They are not 50kW though… only 45kW (as the name indicates).

Ideally if you have two QC45s at a site you’ll have a backup if the first locks up (which only happens once every few months). Any vehicles which use the type 2 connector can use the AC side. So you can have two cars DC charging at up to 45kW and the next two guys in the queue charging slowly on AC while they wait.


Those “charging cards” are a big annoyance. The EV infrastructure providers should think how to keep the charging “free” and make money from the additional services at their chargers like food, shops and etc. In addition to the annoying registrations and cards you have to have for all the different networks there is also the very high cost of electricity on public chargers. This will scare away people, the EV infrastructure will remain unused and as result businesses will stop investing in it. Tesla’s approach with the “free” supercharger that you pay for only once when buying the car is the best model and other companies should think of similar ones that do not have direct payments per kW/h and need for registrations in advance.


There’s no such thing as a free lunch

Robert Weekley

Tesloid, He is nit looking for a free lunch, just includde breakfast!

Also, his concern was to find a way to simplify the use of fast charging services, and noted Tesla had the best system, where simplicity is the metric!


No, Tesla’s current model is the _worst_ model; so is any service where the price doesn’t reflect the actual cost of the usage. Just see what happened with all the all-you-can-use flat pricing models like ISPs, cellphone minutes etc… Unrealsitic expectations, irate customers, and impossible-to-predict profits.
Tesla’s gotten away with it so far since their sales are tiny. The model isn’t scalable and encourages waste and abuse (which has already started to happen, with some people using superchargers instead of charging at home).


If you just want to “pay for what you use” you are right. But if you want a large and easily accessible charging network you are totally wrong. If people pay for their EV electricity per kW/h the price of those kW/h will probably be much higher than the price of their electricity at home (you have to include the price of the charger and everything else in the kW/h price) As result there will be a lot of people that will use those “expensive” chargers as little as possible only because they are able to see the difference. Why should they pay 0.7 USD pre kW/h for example when they can get it for 0.1 USD at home. And no business will want to invest in EV infrastructure. This “waste and abuse” that you describe is the main thing that enables Tesla to grow their supercharger network. Don’t think that tesla owners don’t pay for their kilowatt-hours at the end.


Wavelet is totally wrong, there is no “waste and abuse”, people who charge their Tesla at a supercharger use the energy to drive their cars, which is the reason they bought them, and which is the reason to have superchargers in the first place.

Sick and tired of charging judgemental pricks. As if we don’t have enough barriers for EV adoption…


First, this is good and needs to be happening more in the U.S. Once service stations realize that EV travelers have to hang around for 30 mins (and more likely to buy something else), they will add more chargers.

Second, agree about charging cards. Why they didn’t put something in the standard so that the car transmits its ID to the charging station, which can then just bill to a linked account. This would be so much simpler. Or with a connected car they could do the verification via the cellular network, again automatically based on the car VIN and the location.

Finally, I drive my LEAF mostly at highway speeds (55-65 mph) and I get 4.1 m/kwH and drive pretty carefully. I don’t think that guy is getting 6 at highway speeds. If so, please tell me how!


“Finally, I drive my LEAF mostly at highway speeds (55-65 mph) and I get 4.1 m/kwH and drive pretty carefully. I don’t think that guy is getting 6 at highway speeds. If so, please tell me how!”
Change your dashboard to the metric system and you, too, will be able to drive 6 km/kWh.


Are you sure Leaf gets 4.1 mi/kWh? I (SparkEV) get close to 5.2 mi/kWh at 55 MPH, 5.0 at 62 MPH (Tony Williams test), 5.1 mi/kWh combined over 7000 miles of driving. 4.1 mi/kWh for Leaf at 55-65 MPH seems really low, considering it’s rated 96% of SparkEV (114 MPGe / 119 MPGe = 96%). Were you were blasting the heater much of the time?

For my data on SparkEV, see “SparkEV Range” blog post.


My average with Peugeot iOn was 5.5m/kwh, been very disappointed once sat in Nissan.
Current courtesy Leaf – 4.5m/kwh (within 19k miles within nearly 3 months), my e-nv200 3.3m/kwh (all time average within 35k miles)


The only reasonable payment is cellular or smartphone app based. SMS payments are getting popular in Europe for parking (text parking zone and car plate number to start, call to end) and are added to your phone bill.

Mutwin Kraus

SMS payment is a horrible idea as it does not work with prepaid or foreign SIM cards. App-based works better, but requires a Credit Card.

I think for Germany and Europe having a Card Reader where you can pay with Credit Card and EC (Maestro) would be the best solution.


Excellent news, as Germany is one of the countries I frequent with my EV