Reliable charging stations are just as important in overcoming range anxiety as large battery capacity. The charging app provider elvah gives the German charging stations a bad certificate of reliability.
Every driver of an electric car knows the situation: the charge level of the battery is slowly coming to an end and you are looking for an opportunity to recharge your batteries. Thanks to the sophisticated software, which compares the state of charge of the batteries with the data from the navigation system, finding a suitable charging station is no problem. A few commands on the touchscreen are enough and the electronic pilot shows the way. Everything is wonderful. But sometimes the brave new world of charging gets wide cracks. Namely when the charging station doesn’t work. And that is more often the case than drivers would like.
The charging app provider elvah has registered more than 250,000 charging stations, the condition of which is constantly reported using live data and messages from the app users. The result is sobering for Germany: Eight to ten percent of the charging stations between Flensburg and Garmisch-Partenkirchen are permanently defective. This puts Germany in sixth place compared to neighboring countries. The most reliable charging stations are in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg. On the elvah scale from 0 to 10 (where 10 means error-free), German charging points have an average reliability value of 6.3. In the top countries such as the Netherlands, the charging stations achieve a value of 7.3 and 7.2 (Switzerland and Luxembourg).
According to its own statements, elvah collects more than 20 million pieces of data every month during the charging process and evaluates the charging stations in terms of convenience, popularity, reliability and user experience. The company translates the results into the so-called elvah score.
The Karlsruhe energy provider EnBW (Energie Baden-Württemberg) cannot understand these results. “Our charging stations are almost continuously available,” says EnBW and adds, “In order to ensure the availability of our charging infrastructure, we also use roaming-capable SIM cards that can access alternative mobile networks if necessary.” The most common reason that a charging station temporarily not working are defective components. EnBW has installed monitoring systems that can automatically troubleshoot a failed charging station and also issue a detailed error message. If an on-site repair is necessary, a nationwide service team will usually fix the defect in the affected charging stations within a few hours. We also asked Ionity about the condition of the charging stations, but received no answer.
The elvah data goes even deeper and proves that modernization of the charging station infrastructure is essential. The triple chargers in particular, which provide three charging connections of different types (a CCS and a CHAdeMO connection for charging with direct current and a type 2 connection for charging with alternating current), are error-prone. “We know from our data that most triple chargers perform worse than other charging stations. The mostly old 50 kW chargers currently have an average score of 5.4 and are therefore below the score of other charging station types,” explains elvah CPO Sören Ziems.
If you look at the reliability rankings of the German federal states, Hamburg (7.6), Berlin (7.1) and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (6.9) are ahead. At the end of the scale are Hesse (6.1) and Saxony-Anhalt (5.9). The red lantern goes to Thuringia (4.8).