Electric cars are enjoying increasing popularity in Germany. But while petrol stations are easy to find anywhere, the search for charging stations is difficult, especially in unfamiliar cities. In this guide you will find out how to find the nearest socket for your car in no time at all.
By Sebastian Weber
As a rule, each of us always has our smartphone with us. Therefore, Google Maps is a good way to search for a charging station for your electric car, because this map service is always ready to use in your pocket.
How to find charging stations with Google Maps
You can find the locations for numerous charging stations via Google Maps. Image: © Thinkstock / iStockphoto / Bet_Noire 2017
To find a charging station, open the Google Maps app. Below the search bar, the program shows you small buttons, for example to quickly search for restaurants and the like. This bar can be swiped to the left until a More button appears.
As soon as you press this, a list appears with all possible suggestions, whereby you will also find charging stations for electric vehicles under the services. One click on it and Google Maps jumps back to the map view, where the program then spits out charging stations nearby.
In the USA, the app is now so advanced that the user can specify exactly which type of charging station is required in the settings, as there are different connection types. When this function will be activated in Germany is still pending.
Special map services for charging stations
In addition to Google Maps for on the go, you can also find map services on the Internet that specialize in finding charging stations for electric cars.
The charging station card from Carwow.de is pleasantly simple here. You simply enter the place or the exact address where the car has to be connected to the electricity. Then the card presents you with the results accordingly. The disadvantage here, however, is that there is little information about the individual charging stations apart from the type of connection.
This is exactly where the Chargemap.com service scores. This page fully relies on the cooperation of the community, so it requires registration in order to be able to use it. Chargemap not only provides you with information about where charging stations for electric cars can be found, but also all kinds of additional information.
The service shows, for example, who is operating the charging station and whether it is publicly accessible at all. There is also a description of how to get there and often photos so that you cannot miss the station. Members can also leave comments on each entry on the card, so that it is quickly clear whether the charging station is still in operation and so on.
Who builds charging stations for electric cars?
Public charging stations are mainly operated by regional companies. Image: © Thinkstock / iStock / JANIFEST 2017
Public charging stations for electric cars are operated by both regional and supraregional providers. Especially with the regional electricity suppliers you should therefore make sure that they also allow charging outside of their business area. This works in a similar way to mobile communications via roaming, i.e. partner providers.
Regional providers are often, for example, the municipal utilities, for example in Hamburg, Düsseldorf or Munich. In cities in which the municipal utilities set up charging stations for electric cars, the network is correspondingly well developed.
Supraregional providers on the other hand are for example BMW, ADAC or energy groups such as EON and EnBW, but also private companies such as New Motion, a subsidiary of Shell.
You can find the charging stations of these companies distributed nationwide or often even in other European countries. Accordingly, before concluding a contract with a provider of charging stations for electric vehicles, you should consider how often you will cover longer distances and read how the costs are made up outside of the business area in order to save money.
Free charging stations for electric cars
While charging stations for electric cars from public utilities and co. Are chargeable, bargain hunters can fill up their e-runabout free of charge.
Discounters such as Aldi Süd, Lidl or Kaufland offer charging stations in their parking lots at many locations, which are available free of charge. However, the useful life is limited here and there.
Some hardware stores offer the same, such as Bauhaus, Hagebau, Hornbach or Globus, and even the Ikea furniture store has already equipped all branches in Germany accordingly.
However, with most of these offers, the question currently arises as to which providers are sticking to the provision of charging stations for electric vehicles for their customers free of charge and who will switch to a chargeable model over time.
We therefore recommend that you check the Goingelectric.de website from time to time to see how things are. There you can filter for free charging stations in the options of the map view and then plan the purchase according to the charging status of the electric car.
- On the go, Google Maps is best for finding EV charging stations.
- Special map services for charging stations often have more detailed information about whether the charging stations still exist or where exactly they can be found.
- Shops such as discount stores, hardware stores or Ikea offer free charging stations for electric cars for their customers in the parking lot at many locations.
- In large cities, the municipal utilities often provide comprehensive coverage at charging stations. Private companies, on the other hand, provide juice throughout Germany and are therefore the better alternative for long-distance drivers.