Energy costs for electric cars: how expensive will traction current be?


In the charging station expansion plans for 2020, the federal government made its goal clear: the ratio of charging points to approved e-cars should remain around 1:10. This roughly corresponds to the status of the beginning of 2019. Although the vast majority of charging processes are to continue to take place at home (the authorities reckon with 75 to 85 percent), the signal for charging station operators was more than clear: They have to earn money at today’s level of capacity utilization. That is why so much happened in the tariff jungle in 2020, and that is why something continues to change almost every week. Here we give recommendations for tariffs that we want to keep up to date for a while. All prices apply to Germany.

We mostly recommended the EnBW tariff on the car channel. It’s called “Mobility +”, comes with an app and card and costs 5 euros a month basic fee. One kWh on an alternating current charger (AC) costs 29 cents, one kWh on a direct current fast charger (DC) costs 39 cents. There is no basic fee for ADAC members, they can use it as an “ADAC e-Charge”. For people who hardly ever charge outside the home, there is a tariff variant (“Standard”) that is exempt from the basic fee and in which the kWh costs 10 cents more each.

EWE Go also offers the same price (39/49 cents / kWh AC / DC, no basic fee), but including Ionity, which EnBW lacks. Thanks to roaming, Mobility + supplies you with electricity at over 100,000 charging points in Germany and neighboring countries – for a simple kWh price anywhere in the roaming area. Therefore we like to recommend it. The crux of the whole thing, however: EnBW is probably currently paying extra, especially for high-priced roaming pillars, where the customer still pays their guaranteed tariff, while EnBW pays the pillar price, which is often higher.

So we all fearfully hope that the southern German energy company will hold out even longer with this offer, because even at a household electricity level of 30 cents / kWh, driving an electric car isn’t particularly cheap. In order to absorb the worst cost peaks, EnBW has already changed the contract for Mobility +. Since autumn 2020, blocking fees have been applied for idle times of more than 4 hours (10 cents / minute up to a maximum of 12 euros). The adjustment is understandable, but plugging it into the AC pillar overnight for lantern parkers is no longer economical.

In addition, the tariff has recently been restricted to private individuals and to a maximum of 800 kWh per month – loss hedging. If this value is exceeded “for at least two out of three consecutive months”, “EnBW reserves the right to terminate this contract and offer the customer a tariff that is adequate for his consumption.” Commercial charging is no longer included in the contract, so strictly speaking, company cars too. The contract explicitly and “in particular” names taxis, ridesharing services and delivery companies. So there will probably soon be a commercial, more expensive tariff from this house.

The Ionity consortium made headlines with their message at the time that they were charging 79 cents / kWh for charging customers without a contract – an incredibly high amount for the circumstances at the time (at the beginning of 2021 it only looked half as bad, right?). Ionity justified the procedure with the costs of the fast charger. However, Ionity also offered charging service providers such as EnBW such high prices in roaming that the Ionity charging stations soon dropped out of Mobility + ‘s roaming network. Since then, customers can no longer pay at Ionity columns with these apps / charging cards.

ADAC e-Charge: An absolute no-brainer for ADAC members.

(Image: Clemens Gleich)

At the turn of the year, Plugsurfing also dropped its “Plus” tariff for Germany, which offered Ionity for 34 cents at a monthly basic fee of 20 euros – interesting for frequent drivers with high charging capacities. Plugsurfing Plus is only available in Belgium and the Netherlands. At the same time, Plugsurfing increased the remaining normal tariffs on January 15, 2021 to 49 cents / kWh AC, 69 cents DC and 109 cents on Ionity columns. Yes, you read that right: Plugsurfing charges you EUR 1.09 per kWh of Ionity columns. This is another example of “worse than useless” because then you can just take Ionity’s 79 cents blank for non-contractors.