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Federal Council votes for charging station ordinance with reading devices

On Friday, the Federal Council approved the heavily controversial charging station ordinance in the form that the federal government had decided in May. This means that there is an obligation to install physical readers for debit and credit cards in or on all charging stations. Business associations had raged against this requirement for months.

The leading economic committee of the Federal Council and its committees for the environment and transport had also criticized this point in advance. According to them, the readers are only used for a small part of the charging processes, since the vast majority of motorists charge up on a contract-based basis using RFID cards or digital apps.

The three committees argued that the physical devices are expensive to purchase and operate. Ultimately, the costs would have to be borne by all customers. The available funds could also be used to build fewer charging stations, which would jeopardize the rapid expansion of the charging infrastructure. Payment by credit card is also easy to make with a web-based system. Her Recommendations for changes as well as a Schleswig-Holstein’s amendment but did not find a majority in the vote in plenary.

The ordinance is generally intended to ensure that the charging infrastructure becomes more consumer-friendly and that drivers of e-cars can easily fill up their vehicles with electricity anywhere. In the future, newly built charging points must have an interface with which location information and dynamic data such as the occupancy status can be transmitted. This should make it easier for customers to control free electricity pumps ad hoc.

With the regulation, the Federal Government wants to ensure that a suitable payment method is available and that the EU Payment Services Directive PSD2 is complied with. It therefore attaches importance to the fact that the operators of a charging point directly at or in its immediate vicinity enable the authentication required for the cashless payment process and at least have to offer contactless systems for holding a payment card with the ability for near field communication (NFC).

The German Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) had warned that this requirement would cost 165 million euros. The installation of the devices increases the costs for electromobility overall. A similar protest came from the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

The Schleswig-Holstein Economics Minister Bernd Buchholz (FDP) had advertised the state’s proposal in vain in the plenary, stating that the giro card was no longer a sustainable means of payment in Europe. He compared the initiative of the federal government with “building telephone booths in the age of mobile communications”.

“The charging station operators must be obliged to offer payment with debit and credit cards at all new charging points,” said the board of the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations (vzbv), Klaus Müller, on Thursday. Consumers should have the security of “being able to charge anytime and anywhere without a contract”. The card payment is known, transparent and desired. This is the only way to accelerate the switch to e-cars and improve climate protection.

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