Electric Car Charging Probed as Germans Seek to Go Greener


Germany’s electric car charging stations will be probed by the country’s antitrust watchdog following a flood of complaints about the cost and terms of powering up greener vehicles.

Europe’s largest car market is rolling out a nationwide electric car charging infrastructure by 2030 in an effort to rein in transport emissions. The Federal Cartel Office said its sector inquiry should identify potential problems on price and location.

“The conditions and prices for charging in public spaces are of central importance for the decision of consumers to switch to electric mobility,” Andreas Mundt, the cartel office’s president, said in a statement on Thursday. “The market is still emerging, of course. But we are already receiving more and more complaints about the prices and conditions on the charging stations.”

Getting electric cars powered up from a still-patchy network of charging stations is a key drag on customers’ decision to ditch older vehicles. The car market is growing with 2.1 million electric vehicles sold worldwide last year. The European Commission is pushing for 1 million public charging points in the region by 2025.

European utilities and energy companies like EDF and Shell are buying up companies active in charging, while Shell is also rolling out chargers at its retail refueling sites.

German regulators said non-discriminatory access to suitable locations for charging stations and what terms of use for the charging stations “are of crucial importance” to make sure companies are competing fairly.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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