The tendering process for the 23 regional lots under the German initiative “Deutschlandnetz,” aimed at establishing charging sites off the motorways, began in October 2021 and has recently concluded with contracts awarded to ten operators.
These lots encompass a total of 900 designated areas where high-power charging (HPC) stations are to be constructed.
Bidders are then responsible for identifying suitable locations within these designated areas.
To enhance the attractiveness of less-visited sites in the projected demand, the lots were bundled together, making them available as complete packages only.
The selection process for the regional lots endured delays, initially projecting final awards in the third quarter of 2022 at the earliest, but it has now been extended to Q3 2023.
As widely known, the German network aims to eliminate the “white spots” on the charging map.
Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, says: “Individual mobility is a valuable asset in a free society. Therefore, I am pleased that we are achieving a milestone with Deutschlandnetz, ensuring users have a consistently accessible range of fast charging options in Germany”.
“With Deutschlandnetz, we are complementing the expansion efforts of charging infrastructure operators in a sensible and targeted manner, making seamless fast charging on the charging map a reality.”, he adds.
Which companies closed contracts?
Among the companies joining the Deutschlandnetz initiative is E.ON.
The Essen-based energy firm has secured a contract from the Ministry of Transport to construct and operate over 1,200 new fast charging stations for Deutschlandnet” charging network.
E.ON’s allocation encompasses approximately 140 locations in northwest and southern Germany, enabling charging capacities of up to 400 kW at these sites, or a minimum of 200 kW per charging point for shared capacity.
This development is slated for completion by 2026, in collaboration with suitable location partners.
Another successful bidder hails from Norway: Eviny, an energy provider not widely recognized in the field of electric mobility in Germany.
Eviny has secured a contract for 140 locations, distributed across three lots with designated search areas in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, and southwest Germany.
The energy provider aims to have around 50 operational sites by the end of 2024 and has already finalized contracts for some sites while actively specifying others.
BayWa Mobility Solutions GmbH (BMS) is also set to participate in the project.
This Munich-based company has been awarded the “Bavaria lot,” as the Germany Network region “South-East” encompasses multiple lots to ensure diverse operators rather than monopolies.
BayWa subsidiary BMS, responsible for charging infrastructure, plans to construct 20 fast-charging stations in Bavaria’s designated search areas under the German initiative.
The federal government will provide substantial subsidies, covering a significant portion of the €15 million construction costs, according to BayWa.
The initial charging stations, featuring four to 16 charging points, are scheduled for completion by mid-2024.
BayWa intends to enhance many of the HPC sites with catering and sanitary facilities.
Pfalzwerke, active in the southwest, has secured two lots across Germany.
Additional contracts were granted to Allego, Fastned, Hochtief Ladepartner, Mer Germany, Total Energies, and Via Deutschlandnetz, supported by VINCI Concessions Deutschland GmbH.
Notably, Allego and Fastned, despite their previous legal dispute with Deutschlandnetz last year, successfully applied for and were awarded contracts.
The Federal Ministry of Transport emphasises that the future operators were “not selected solely on the basis of the lowest bid price”.
Other relevant factors were whether the operators could set up the sites quickly and already had suitable space, how user-friendly the individual bidders wanted their sites to be and how convincing the design of the new sites was.
Additionally, the separately tendered motorway lots for 200 fast-charging sites at unmanned rest areas have not yet been awarded; according to the Ministry, the tendering process here is “in the final phase”.
Why didn’t some companies participate?
EnBW, currently operating Germany’s largest fast charging network, chose not to participate in the tendering process for the regional lots of Deutschlandnetz.
The energy company made this decision but still explicitly supports the Federal Government’s commitment.
An EnBW spokesperson explained that their fast ramp-up relies on highly standardized processes, established suppliers, and clearly defined product modules.
The requirements specified for the German grid would require significant deviations from their existing processes and entail substantial additional work.
This is because their current processes, designed for scalability, cannot be readily applied within the framework of the German grid.
Other prominent operators like BP/Aral Pulse and Ionity either did not participate or were not awarded contracts.
Consequently, they retain the ability to independently establish their charging stations outside the confines of the German network.
This indicates that the expansion of fast chargers will extend beyond Deutschlandnetz, although the pace and locations of such growth remain uncertain.