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Charging tariff symbol - © RS-Studios -

The cost traps for mobile charging tariffs in 2022

The public charging infrastructure will grow rapidly this year. Tesla alone has installed over 6.000 charging points in Europe. With each newly built station, the charging capacity often increases as well. At Tesla, the new “V250” superchargers with an output of up to 3 kW have increased the charging speed to up to 1600 kilometers per hour under optimal conditions. This means that the Model 3 can achieve a maximum range of 120 kilometers in 5 minutes. As the number of charging stations increases, so does the range of mobile charging tariffs. The overview for the cheapest tariff is linked to the special conditions contained therein. To choose the right tariff, it is worth taking a closer look at the cost traps.

In March 2021 are noisy German Federal Network Agency There are 35.076 normal charging points and 5.730 publicly accessible fast charging points in Germany. Even more charging stations in public spaces are expected in the coming years, when between 2030 and 7 million electric cars are expected to be on the roads in Germany by 10.

The supply of free charging stations is gradually disappearing and can only be found with limited offers at shopping centers. This means that e-drivers are focusing on mobile charging tariffs.
The EUPD Research Sustainable Management GmbH already registered 383 mobile charging tariffs (March 2021) in the current analysis. According to EUPD Research, the tariff offers are complex. Supraregional and regional charging tariff offers compete for the optimal tariff for electric vehicle users. We look at the most important criteria when choosing tariffs.

My charging behavior as a basis

Basically, the decision for the right tariff can be based on three typical user groups:

Wallbox users usually charge their electric car at their home charging station or at work. They only charge extremely rarely on the go. Your average charge at a public charging station is less than 50 kWh per month. This corresponds to a full charge, for example.

Short-distance commuters are often out and about in the city and also charge their electric car on a weekly basis. Their average charge at a public charging station is around 50 to 200 kWh per month.

Long-distance drivers are regularly on the road for business or pleasure and rely on the public charging stations for their electric car. On average, they fully charge their electric car at least five times a month at public charging stations. This corresponds to a charge of at least 200 kWh per month.

With the charging behavior, every e-car driver should consider the following cost traps in the respective tariffs.

fast E charging station
fast E charging station

Basic fees

The main focus should be on using your own electric car. How many kilometers are driven per year and how often do I even use a mobile tariff? If you use a wallbox at home, you can save yourself a lot of charging processes on the go. A tariff with a fixed basic fee as with gas or electricity tariffs in the house does not make sense. In this case, a tariff that is billed per charged kilowatt hour and covers a broad charging network is worthwhile.

As early as 2018, the politicians passed a paper that was supposed to guide the “current proliferation of tariff systems for charging current” into clear channels. Electricity should actually be billed according to quantity, i.e. kilowatt hours. There are exceptions, however: the providers may charge fees for activating or blocking the charging stations.

Basic charging fees

Providers with no annual or monthly basic fees often offer tariffs with a fee per charge. The supposedly low price per kilowatt hour can cause annoyance in the billing, especially with shortened charging processes. The flat rates per charging process, which are often staggered according to the speed of the charging station, are also popular with providers. These tariffs are often only worthwhile if the car is fully charged to 100%.

Blocking fees

To make optimal use of the charging stations, waiting times at the charging station for free parking without charging are a thorn in the side of tariff providers. Here hidden costs have crept through with some providers. An example is the blocking fee introduced by EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG on November 2, 2020: “The blocking fee takes effect after four hours of connection time and costs 10 cents per minute. In order to avoid too high costs for you, we have developed the cost airbag, which caps the blocking fee at EUR 12,00 per charging process. ”This can significantly increase the costs for the charging process.

Time accounting

Time-based billing is also still in use. The connection time at the charging station is used as the basis for billing. The disadvantage is that the current charging process achieves different results depending on factors such as charging current, charging current curves and temperature level. In fact, you can only get a durable result for the charging process retrospectively by converting it to the charged kilowatt hours. This can be an advantage if the charging process is limited to 80%.

Charging behavior is crucial

The Bonn consulting company EUPD Research has determined a strong increase in tariffs for the third year in a row. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of tariffs more than tripled by March 2021. It has risen from 124 to 383 recorded tariffs. In a year-on-year comparison between 2020 and 2021, the increase is still 33 percent. According to Christine Koch, Research Analyst at EUPD Research, the reasons for this are the conversion of free to chargeable charging offers, the tariff offers of new providers and more specific tariffs for individual target groups:

“The EUPD analysis shows that various developments are shaping the increase in charging electricity tariffs. After years of free charging, there is, on the one hand, increasing pressure for charging station drivers to refinance their investments. On the other hand, the strong market growth in electric cars is also leading to increasing charging volumes and the associated charging costs. The number of tariff offers per provider is also increasing. In addition to the legally prescribed ad-hoc charging, the offer usually includes at least one additional charging tariff or mobile charging contract (e.g. charging card tariff, multi-charger tariff, occasional charger tariff, existing customer tariff, etc.) in order to address specific user groups directly. In addition, competition is increased by new tariff providers in the market. "
(Source EUPD Research)

The sale of tariffs for the purchase of an electric car will also be of greater importance in the coming years. The so-called automotives want to combine the sale of the electric car directly with the provision of a public charging infrastructure. According to EUPD Research, this leads not only to new sources of income for the automotive industry but also to long-term customer loyalty.


The tariff jungle of mobile charging tariffs is increasing every year. For those who drive a lot, there can be differences of more than 1.000 euros per year, depending on the charging tariff. In order to save costs, every e-mobilist can avoid the cost traps with the right strategy by comparing the billing models and choosing the best tariff for their own purposes.


Cover picture symbol charging current tariff - © RS-Studios -

N. Hawthorn
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