Electrifying the Market

Coming soon to supermarkets, street corners or private residences: charging stations for electric vehicles. As the German government ramps up investment into the country’s charging network, it’s a good time for foreign investors to join the e-revolution.

February, 2022

It may not have been blockbuster news but in October 2021 there was a pivotal moment for the e-charging market in Germany: The national government put out new tenders for its EUR 2 billion investment into establishing a network of a thousand new fast e-charging stations across the country. In cities and on the highways, land is being made available as part of a major push to win over electric car skeptics.

At this new e-charging station in Limburg, operated by Fastned, customers can charge their cars for a 300-kilometer range in 15 minutes.

© Fastned

The companies that win those bids will be well positioned to determine the future of the market. Among them is Virta Germany, the German branch of the Finnish e-charging giant Virta Global, whose managing director Nicolai Woyczechowski says his company is determined to establish “a big presence” in Germany. “Germany wants to go this way, the targets are already set by the government, and the subsidies are heavy,” he says.

The chicken and the egg

Germany Trade & Invest auto industry expert Stefan Di Bitonto also sees this as a crucial moment. “We always had a chicken and egg problem before,” he says. “Should we first have charging stations, or should we first have electric vehicles?”

Industry seems to have found a way through the dilemma having started to deliver electric cars on a massive scale. According to Germany’s Motor Transport Authority, the KBA, the number of fully electric cars on German roads increased from 2,300 in 2011 to some 517,000 on October 1, 2021. And observers expect those numbers to grow steadily as EV infrastructure is put into place.

POWERING UP AT HOME

8 - 12 Million

number of detached and semi-detached homes in Germany at which charging stations could be installed*

74.8 %

of houseowners would prefer to charge their vehicles at home**

Sources: *dena, **EuPD Research

“The hybrid era doesn’t seem to have stuck – we’re really moving fast toward fully electric vehicles,” says Di Bitonto. “But the infrastructure is lagging behind. We need a real boost in investments. The EUR 2 billion means there’s a lot of assets out there, so that would be a great opportunity to profit.”

The heart of a revolution

That’s why people like Linda Boll are so enthusiastic about the German market. The public affairs manager at Dutch e-fueling specialist Fastned says Germany is key to her company’s plans. Fastned, which has won multi-million-euro German government subsidies in the past has been expanding rapidly across Europe since its foundation in 2012, with fast-charging stations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and the UK.

Most roads that traverse Europe pass through Germany. “It’s a no-brainer: Germany is at the heart of Europe,” says Boll. “Geographically and strategically there was never any doubt that Fastned would need to have a strong foothold in Germany in order to build this Europe-wide network.”