Dispute over e-charging stations: paying by card or app?

Status: 09.09.2021 3:27 p.m.

The federal government wants all new charging stations for e-cars to be equipped with card readers from July 2023. Car manufacturers and the energy industry consider this an anachronism.

A bitter dispute has broken out over the most convenient payment mode at charging stations for e-cars. While the federal government, supported by banks and savings banks, is campaigning for all charging stations to be equipped with readers for credit or EC cards in the future, the Association of Car Manufacturers (VDA) and the Association of the Energy Industry (BDEW) are vehemently against it. You consider the project to be a step backwards and speak of an outdated technology that causes additional costs for users and slows down the pace of innovation.

You are determined to stop at the last minute a corresponding ordinance, which is due to be passed by the Federal Council in a week. In a joint appeal, from which the newspaper “Die Welt” quotes, they demand Lobbyists the minister-presidents of the federal states to amend the charging station ordinance before it is passed. In the previous draft of the federal government, it is stipulated that contactless payment with at least one common debit or credit card must be offered at all charging stations that will go into operation from July 1, 2023.

“Nobody needs card readers”

“From online trading to social networks to the workplace: In 2030, digital solutions will be the rule and not the exception in all areas of life,” said the associations. This also applies to electromobility. “EC card terminals as an expensive back-up payment option will no longer be needed by anyone in 2030. They will then be an anachronism like telephone booths are now used as back-up for smartphone users,” says the appeal.

The associations also write: “We want a high level of innovation in electromobility services, an unchecked expansion of the charging infrastructure and inexpensive, simple solutions for electromobility users.” That can only be done digitally. “We therefore call on the federal government and the federal states to support this path. Clear the way for digital, mobile and simple charging.” In the Charging Column Ordinance, mandatory specifications for card readers should be dispensed with. Specifically, this means that drivers would have to pay for the electricity for their cars via apps and mobile providers such as PayPal.

Pay like at the gas station

In contrast, the banking industry insists on open payment systems at the charging stations. “In the interests of consumers, you have to be able to pay at every charging station with the card you have in your wallet,” said Karl-Peter Schackmann-Fallis, executive board member of the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV), the German press agency. The banking industry is supported in this claim by the automobile club ADAC and the German Association of Cities.

Consumers should be able to pay conveniently and securely at e-charging stations, just as they are used to at gas stations, said ADAC traffic president Gerhard Hillebrand of “Welt”. A convenient payment process with a debit or credit card at a card terminal is essential for this.

The trade associations argue, however, that such an obligation would further slow down the expansion of the charging infrastructure, because so far there are hardly any charging stations with card readers on the market and it would take years for them to be approved under calibration law.

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