A deep dive into the German EV and charging infrastructure regulatory environment

13 June 2021

In the EV space laws determine many characteristics. These are set at the EU and national levels. Most EU laws affect German laws.  These laws govern charging infrastructure availability and accessibility especially in buildings and parking spaces. As well as required payment methods, data transmission, plugs, grid connection and calibration. 

For instance, the level of detail starts with how many charging points need to be installed per parking space, to mandatory installation of protective tubes for electrical cables in both existing and newly built buildings, the right to install a charging point by owners or tenants in apartment buildings, which payment methods need to be at charging stations, how prices can be set and their transparency level, definitions of smart charging etc.

We will show which are the key laws and their respective role.

EU legislation

EU legislation shapes member states laws. Two laws can be highlighted for EV infrastructure, the AFID and EPBD as seen below. We will not dive into EU funding mechanisms such as the Green Deal as it would widen the scope too much.

Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID - 2014/94/EU)

This law regulates public charging infrastructure. It foresees the use of common technical specifications to guarantee interoperability, ease of use; appropriate consumer information, including a clear price comparison methodology. It requires writing National Policy Frameworks (NPFs) in which member states outline how they will increase the available infrastructure.

Here is the latest overview of the implementation of AFID. 

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD - 2010/31/EU)

This law regulates the energy consumed in buildings. It sets the conditions for charging infrastructure in buildings along with the requirements for smart control.

German legislation

We can see the EU level’s AFID and EPBD being reflected in the German LSV, GEIG, WEMOG, PAngV and SchnellLG. We also highlight relevant authorities:

Relevant authorities

  • On a city level, the building authority approves construction work; The road traffic authority for marking parking.

  • The calibration authority approves calibrated stations.

  • Distribution grid operators approve grid connections.

  • Bafa, the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control, gives grants when purchasing an EV.

  • BNetzA, the Federal Network Agency, is to be informed when installing charging points.

  • kfW, the grant bank, gives grants for wallboxes.

Ladesäulenverordnung (LSV)

This law describes when a charging point is considered public, the minimal requirements needed for public charging points and obliges charging points to be registered with the Federal Network Agency. It is effective from 2016.

In 2017, ad hoc use without the need for a contract at a public charging infrastructure became mandatory. In 2021, it was decided that all charging points starting operation in 1.7.23 have to provide a payment solution via credit card. 

Additionally from 1.3.22 onwards, newly installed charging points need to have a standardized interface to exchange data like power level, occupancy, billing information. 

There can be cables at the charging point so that EV drivers don’t need to carry their own cable.

Existing charging points depending on the installation date do not need to be retrofitted. 

The definition of public and private charging points was changed: to be private charging points need to be signposted as such and the group of people using them needs to be clear. For private company sites, no extra signposts are needed if the site has limited access. For example, a hotel will probably have private charging points whereas a supermarket public charging points.

Gebäudeelektromobilitätsinfrastrukturgesetz (GEIG

This law aims at increasing the available charging points at buildings with parking spaces. It does so by enforcing a certain number of charging points with their cabling infrastructure depending on the number of parking spaces and the building type (newly built, renovated, existing). It is effective from 2021.

Wohnungseigentumsmodernisierungsgesetz (WEG aka WEMoG) 

This law gives the right to any tenant or apartment owner in a multi-apartment building to build its charging point at its own cost. It is effective from 2020. In the past, a unanimous decision was needed.

Preisangabenverordnung (PAngV)

This law prescribes that prices need to be accounted for in kWh and transparently communicated. It is valid since 2017 and for fast-charging ones in 2019.

Schnellladegesetz (SchnellLG)

This law is to guarantee a wide fulfilment of high speed charging stations for EVs. The goal is to have 1000 extra high speed (above 150 kW) charging hubs. Tenders start in the summer of 2021, and in 2023 it should be accomplished. There are 2B euros in grants. It is effective from 2021.

Elektromobilitätsgesetz (EmoG)

This law has the objective to set incentives to EV drivers such as by offering prioritized or cheaper access to parking or driving lanes. It is effective from 2015.

Niederspannungsanschlussverordnung (NAV) & Technischen Anschlussregeln (TAR)

This law and regulation determine how to connect electrical devices to low voltage grids. The 2019 change in NAV required all wallboxes to be notified to the distribution grid operator, who has 2 months to approve if their total rated power exceeds 12-kilovolt amperes. Following the energy law EnWG 14a, there might be a requirement for remote load management of the charging point by the grid operator.

Mess und Eichgesetz (MessEG

This is the calibration law. It establishes the requirements for public charging stations when selling kWh units. They need to have a certified meter as well as an IT system to show the consumption in a transparent way.