Photo credits @ AdobeStock/ ThomBal

Tesla and Fastned challenge Germany’s plan to install 350 fast-charging stations for electric trucks

Germany has launched a project to install fast-charging stations for electric lorries at approximately 350 locations along federal motorways. Tenders for the first 130 locations are scheduled for late summer 2024. However, a legal dispute involving concession-holder Autobahn Tank & Rast GmbH and challengers Fastned and Tesla may delay the project, with a key hearing set for 7 July 2024.

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Co-authored by Sabina Koll

The Federal Autobahn GmbH, tasked with commissioning the grid connections, is currently working on testing and implementing the necessary infrastructure technology at suitable locations. This initiative is part of the German government’s broader Master Plan for Charging Infrastructure II, which outlines comprehensive measures to ensure the development of a fast-charging network for electric trucks.

Map of planned fast-charging stations for electric trucks in Germany

Map of planned fast-charging stations for electric trucks in Germany – source: BMVD

The new network aims to provide a needs-based and user-friendly charging infrastructure, essential for the transition to greener transport. It is designed to support the increasing number of battery-electric heavy commercial vehicles and to reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector. The move aligns with Germany’s goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2045, with the transport sector playing a crucial role in this transition.

Despite the project’s promising outlook, it faces legal challenges. Autobahn Tank & Rast GmbH, which holds concessions for around 90% of German motorway service areas, was tasked by the Ministry of Transport to operate the fast-charging stations. This decision has been contested by charging station operators Fastned and Tesla, who have lodged complaints with the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf.

The legal dispute centres on whether the extension of the concession contracts without a prior tender process complies with procurement law and European regulations. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will need to clarify if such extensions are permissible under current legal standards. The ongoing court case has the potential to delay the rollout of the charging infrastructure.