Sales of plug-in electric cars highly increased in the recent year in Germany but that hasn't improved the profitability of the public charging infrastructure.

Plug-in electric car registrations in Germany – June 2018

Plug-in electric car registrations in Germany – June 2018

Since June 2017, some 2,800 new public charging stations were installed, which translated to annual growth of a quarter.

However, the 13,500 available public charging points of various kinds (AC or DC) are still not profitable, despite more than 150,000 plug-in cars on the road (less than 100,000 all-electric). The goal of 1 million by the end of 2020 is unrealistic.

To achieve profitability, the ratio of plug-in cars per one public charging station needs to be way higher than 10:1.

Over three-quarters of public points are operated by electricity companies, who need to figure out how to achieve revenues high enough to cover costs and investment in expansion. Those companies put pressure on car manufacturers to introduce more affordable models and sell more plug-ins before they step in with major investments in infrastructure.

The rest of the charging stations often belongs to "car park operators, supermarkets and hotels that subsidise charging facilities as add-on services that they hope will bring more revenue streams from cross-selling or pooling battery storage."

The other things are residential charging stations at homes or apartments. Here is a space for governments to tweak regulations and make new installations easier.

"BDEW said the government should change residential property laws to enable more investment in private charging points, because 80 percent of future charging processes needed to take place at home rather than in public.

Car owners that do not want to charge at snail’s pace at home must now buy loading boxes, a cost of several thousand euros each, to speed charging beyond the level offered by a conventional domestic socket."

"Home users also need permission from their local power provider to install the boxes, as too many cars loading simultaneously during peak evening hours would overload neighbourhood power networks."

Source: Reuters