“We don’t have a power problem,” says Economics Minister Habeck. That’s not entirely true, network bottlenecks have long been foreseeable. The loading speed could therefore be throttled. In practice, however, this should hardly hinder the charging process overnight.
It is not surprising what has now leaked out from the Federal Network Agency according to a report by “Welt”: The increasing electrification of cars, but also of heat pumps and other electricity consumers, will soon put Germany’s electricity grids under a stress test. “If the network gets tight, the operators of the power grids should be able to ensure that heat pumps and private e-car charging stations temporarily receive less energy,” says the “Welt”.
This confirms that e-mobility will be a significant challenge for the power grids and that restrictions will be unavoidable, at least for private charging (FOCUS Online had already reported on this in the summer). Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) has meanwhile shifted the planning for this to the Federal Network Agency, which reports to his ministry; probably also because the Ministry of Economics and Climate does not want to be used as a bearer of bad news for e-car drivers of all people.
“The grid operators should be able to throttle the so-called controllable consumption devices (…) to 3.7 kilowatts. Nobody should be completely disconnected, but it would then take much longer to charge your own electric car,” the “Welt” quoted from the plans of the Federal Network Agency.
One thing is clear: e-mobility should put quite a damper on it, if only for psychological reasons: Simply fill up in two minutes and drive off, that’s no longer available everywhere and at any time in e-cars. But what would the planned restrictions mean in practice? And does it affect all charging stations? This is known so far:
However, these limitations have to be put into perspective in practice:
“If the forced throttling of the controllable consumers were not introduced, further private charging stations could be rejected by the network operators or even existing systems could be switched off, according to the “Welt” about the Federal Network Agency’s concern.
FOCUS Online had already in the summer with the experts from the Association of Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies e. V. (VDE) enquired. In fact, Germany faces major challenges if e-mobility is to ramp up smoothly:
It is clear that the current power grid is designed for low loads. A few decades ago, it was simply not in the planning that there would be masses of electric cars. However, you don’t have to fast charge at home. As early as 2019, Benedikt Kessler, head of network operations at energis-Netzgesellschaft mbH in Saarbrücken, said in an interview with FOCUS Online: “For a range of 100 kilometers, i.e. a classic commuter distance, you might need 15 to 20 kWh. If you charge at night, you don’t even need 11 kW of charging power. As a rule, even 3.7 kW would be enough for your battery to be fully charged again in the morning. Even the simplest electric vehicles can do that.”
Sepp Reitberger, editor-in-chief of Germany’s largest electric car portal EFAHRER.com, does not see any major problems in practice either: “Load control (as intelligent as possible) for private wall boxes is essential for the planned expansion of electromobility – otherwise e-mobility skeptics can do it scenario outlined actually occur: between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., when commuters come home in their car and connect their vehicle to charge, all wall boxes would draw eleven kilowatts of power at the same time. The local distribution grids cannot do that, and there is no point in dimensioning the grids for such a peak load,” says Reitberger.
However, even with the planned minimum output of 3.7 kW, the electricity for the average daily driving requirement (in Germany: approx. 38 kilometers) can be loaded into the car within a maximum of two and a half hours.
“In ten hours (e.g. from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) 37 kWh would flow with the minimum output, i.e. enough electricity for around 200 km in a mid-range electric car,” continues Reitberger, “on days (or . nights) when this is not enough, it can be assumed that by 10 p.m. most of the cars in the neighborhood have long since finished charging, the network operator will then lift the limit and the full charging capacity of 11 kW will be available. In the eight hours until six in the morning, 88 kWh can then flow into the battery.”
According to Reitberger, the dynamic throttling of the charging capacity would probably have no practical effect, apart from isolated cases.
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As the number of electric vehicles increases, so-called “grid-friendly charging” will definitely have to come at some point. The VDE explains what the prerequisite for this is: A temporary shifting of loads through intelligent measuring systems (iMSys). The wallbox communicates with the network operator so that they have an overview of the current charging situation and can intervene in an emergency. “The alternative would be to allocate network connections for wall boxes according to the principle of first come, first serve or to temporarily switch off individual network strands in overload situations,” according to the network experts.
However, the disadvantage of peak smoothing could be offset by another advantage: if you charge flexibly, you also get flexible electricity tariffs. The basis for this is the newly created Section 14a EnWG (Electricity and Gas Supply Act (Energy Industry Act)), which states: “Operators of electricity distribution networks offer those suppliers and end consumers in the low-voltage sector with whom they have concluded network usage contracts a reduced to calculate the network fee if, in return, the network-friendly control of controllable consumption devices that have a separate metering point is agreed with them. Electric vehicles are also considered to be controllable consumption devices within the meaning of sentence 1. “
This means that anyone who allows – or according to the plans of the Federal Network Agency can no longer prevent it – that their wall box is controlled by the electricity provider via remote access should then pay less for charging.
Charging time calculator: Calculate your charging time here on Germany’s largest electric car portal EFAHRER.com
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