As the German government and car manufacturers try to get more electric vehicles on the road, massive efforts are being made to ensure that charging stations for these vehicles are plentiful, ubiquitous and fast. Take discount supermarkets, for example: Lidl is setting up a charging network with 400 charging stations, Aldi Süd has charging points in some 100 locations, and Kaufland plans to set up 200 charging stations throughout the country by 2020.
Another sector pushing for the spread of charging infrastructure are the carmakers themselves. Volkswagen, for example, has launched Elli, a subsidiary offering wall stations for home charging as well as public charging stations – all powered by green electricity. Daimler and BMW have invested in Charge Point, a Silicon Valley startup that operates almost 60,000 stations and is increasing its presence in Europe and worldwide.
Among power suppliers, the RWE subsidiary innogy manages roughly a quarter of the 16,100 public charging points installed in Germany by the end of 2018. One company trying to speed up charging at these stations is FastCharge, a research consortium in Bavaria whose members include BMW and Siemens. The consortium, which has received EUR 7.8 million in funding from the Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, aims to make charging as quick and easy as filling up with petrol. It has already developed a charging system that is around ten times faster than the current standard. The only thing missing at the moment are cars that can cope with its ultra-powerful output!