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E-Mobility – is your company ready for mobility transition?

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Electrical mobility will (soon) be an inseparable part of the mobility culture. What does it mean for your customers and employees? Will they expect to be able to recharge their cars during working hours or business meetings in the future? If you want to offer this service to your business partners, what can they expect from you from a technical, organisational, and tax point of view?

 

At the beginning of 2019, 47.1 million passenger cars were registered in Germany. In the first half of 2019, the number of newly registered passenger cars totalled 1.8 million. Out of this number, about 30,000 cars were entirely electric and about 105,000 were hybrid. In particular, the approx. 80% increase in the number of electric cars year over year shows that e-mobility is becoming more and more important and this trend is speeding up.

 

The federal government is aiming for 6 million electric cars on the streets of Germany by 2030. Industry experts expect that there will be 7-10 million electric cars, 1 million public charge points, 100,000 fast charge points and several million private charge points by 2030. In addition, the EU Regulation (EU) 2019/631 was issued, which aims to achieve a fleet-wide CO2 reduction of 37% for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) by 2030 against 2021. Penalties levied on automobile manufacturers increase the pressure to take action so it can be expected that the e-car product range will increase fivefold to about 150 models by 2023.

 

Even with a conservative estimate of 4 million vehicles, this is still just under 10% of the German stock of vehicles.

 

This trend brings various questions for companies, which we answer below:

  1. What kind of charging infrastructure should I offer my customers and employees?
  2. What are the technical and organisational implications of providing the charging infrastructure
  3. How to treat e-mobility from the tax point of view?
  4. What does a sustainable and profitable energy and mobility concept look like?

 

 

 

Question 1: What kind of charging infrastructure should I offer my customers and employees?

Generally, 4 types of common charging infrastructure can be distinguished. For companies, a charging capacity of up to 22 kW is usually enough, which can be achieved with wall-mounted charging stations (wall boxes) or charging terminals on open spaces or ideally under solar carports. In terms of prices, offers vary significantly, but it can be expected that for a professional system-compatible wall box with a capacity of 22 kW AC the price will be about EUR 2,000 and for a charging terminal with a capacity of 2x22 kW AC the price will be about EUR 7,000.

 

For those who opt for a charging terminal, the charging process of an electric car is particularly interesting in terms of its impact on the peak load. In the majority of e-car models, the charging capacity is constant from the very beginning of the charging process. The charging capacity will decrease only towards the end of the charging process (starting at about 80% of the charge). Only the charging time and the rate of charge vary from model to model and heavily depend on whether AC or DC is used for charging. (Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems, IWES Kassel branch) In the standard case of an employee who commutes no more than 25 km to work every day and spends 9 hours there, an AC charging solution is sufficient. By contrast, customers, service personnel or highly flexible workers need to be able to rapidly charge their e-cars with DC charging technology due to larger distances and shorter on-site times. As a benchmark for the number of installed charging terminals until 2030, 10% of car-using employees is a plausible basis for decision-making. A mobility study helps determine the level of demand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Difference between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) charging:
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Peak Shaving
Peak shaving is the process of reducing peak consumption by using energy management and storage systems.
 
Vehicle-to-Grid Concept (V2G)
The Vehicle-to-Grid Concept (V2G) is a concept where electric cars and their built-in storage systems are used to balance loads in the public electricity grid and thus stabilise fluctuations in the grid. In future, grid operators will prospectively remunerate this form of load balancing. This concept is currently in the test phase. Some models, such as Nissan Leaf, have already been pre-approved for the supply of primary control reserve (PCR) as part of primary power regulation.
 
 
 
As regards our example, the implications of uncontrolled charging at 30 AC charging terminals by employees starting work at 9 AM and customers charging their cars around noon are presented in the diagram above. Whilst energy consumption remains the same, the peak load has increased by only 10 kW (an additional burden of EUR 1,500/a) due to longer charging times yet with less electricity flowing to the individual cars. If an additional PV system with a capacity of 150 kWp was installed, energy consumption could be reduced by even 20 kW (savings of 3,000 EUR/a).
95% of energy generated by the 150 kWp PV system is used to cover the company's needs for self-generated electricity and this, in turn, is used in the electric cars. Electricity is fed into the grid occasionally only on weekends or bank holidays. With an electricity price of 20 ct/kWh less 40% EEG surcharge and given the 95% rate of the company’s self-generated electricity consumption, this leads to savings of approx. 25,000 EUR/a (given 1,000 kWh/kWp) arising from the fact that the company did not use the electricity from the grid. After deducting operating costs of 1,500 EUR/a and given an investment of EUR 180,000 (1,200 EUR/kWp), this results in a static amortisation period of about 8 years for the PV system without considering the peak load reduction. When considering the cost of the investment in the charging infrastructure (15 x EUR 7,000), static amortisation for the PV system increases to only approx. 11 years. Considering additionally the cost of electricity used for charging (assuming no savings are generated from the use of self-generated electricity and only the 40% EEG surcharge is payable), the static amortisation period is extended to approx. 18 years. This means that the additional costs of using electric car charging terminals can be covered by a PV system.
The battery system is usually more profitable due to the variety of possible ways of obtaining revenue, such as greater use of self-generated electricity, peak shaving, or supply of primary control reserve power, so the amortisation period can be well below 5 years. However, we are not able to specifically state how profitable such a system would be as this heavily depends on the consumer's load profile.
In summary, e-mobility and the provision of the charging infrastructure mean first of all an investment for the company. By the skilled use of the synergistic effects arising from the combined use of very profitable PV systems and battery systems, the apportionment of the additional costs is, however, definitely possible.
 
 Illustration 1: Sample load profile with low charge flows into electric cars and a 150 kWp PV system

 

Question 3: How to treat e-mobility from the tax point of view?

 

Tax-free charging (of employee’s cars):

As a rule, price-reduced or free consumption of electricity used for charging electric and hybrid cars as well as price-reduced or free provision of charging stations by the employer to employees represents a benefit in kind, which is subject to payroll tax and social security charges. In order to promote e-mobility, however, the legislator has classified the supply of the electricity used for charging as exempt from tax and social security, with this exemption being valid by the end of 2020. This will thus save employers huge bureaucratic workload. As part of incentivising the provision of charging stations or their acquisition, the employer may choose to pay a lump-sum tax of 25% plus solidarity surcharges. According to the current draft of the Annual Tax Act 2019, this incentive will be extended beyond 2020.

 

Taxation of company cars:

If used also for private purposes, company cars will be basically taxed according to the 1% method. For electric or hybrid cars registered from 01/01/2019, the tax rate will be reduced to 0.5%. In the case of hybrids, this will only apply if it can be evidenced that their minimum (electric) range is 40 km or the maximum emissions are 50g CO2/km.

 

Own electric charging stations:

According to § 3 no. 25 of the German Electricity and Gas Supply Act (EnWG), the operator is treated as the final consumer and is thus not subject to the obligations of a utility. As regards the electricity tax, applicable is the exemption rule arising from § 1a (2) no. 2 of the German Electricity Tax Act Implementing Regulation (StromStV). In addition, the operator has the right to connect its system to the grid operated by the distribution grid operator as per § 17(1) EnWG and is free to select the supplier (§ 20 (1) EnWG). Because the operator is treated as the final consumer, it is required to pay the EEG surcharge and, if applicable, the electricity tax. It is, however, possible to use the electricity tax exemption as per § 9 (1) no. 3 of the German Electricity Tax Act (StromStG). According to the current legislation, this relief applies only to vehicles purchased between 01/01/2019 and 31/12/2021. The current draft of the Annual Tax Act, however, provides for an extension of the period of this relief.

 

Billing:

It is debatable how to treat the charging of electric cars from the point of view of VAT. On the one hand, this is due to the large number of parties involved and, on the other hand, due to the diversity of the services that these involved parties provide.

 

But in simplified terms, the general picture of how it works is as follows:

 

The Charge Point Operator (“CPO”) often offers not only the actual charging services but also other services, such as online booking of terminals or similar, has information about available terminals and their location, and provides parking facilities.


The E-Mobility Provider (“EMP”) acts in its own name towards customers and passes the services received from the CPO on to the final customer based on an agreement concluded with such a final customer.


In order to perform services owed to the EMP, the CPO signs an appropriate electricity supply agreement with a utility company (“UC”).

 

This structure gives rise to a multitude of questions concerning VAT, especially when not only the CPO but also an EMP is involved in the charging process. As regards the charging process itself, it is currently debatable whether the process is a single service or whether it comprises several independent services. If treated as a single service, there arises a question of whether this service should be classified as a service or as a supply of electricity. The French government has thus requested the VAT Committee of the European Commission to issue an opinion on e-charging. More specifically, the VAT Committee was requested to assess whether e-charging is a single service and whether this service should be classified as a service or a supply of electricity.

 

Even though the opinion of the VAT Committee is non-binding, it will hopefully add some clarity about this issue and create more legal certainty as regards the charging of electric cars.

 

 

Question 4: What does a sustainable and profitable energy and mobility concept look like?

A combination of the e-charging infrastructure, a PV system and a battery storage system (either as an on-site system or that of the electric car) is currently the most sustainable solution.


The number and type of charging terminals should be determined based on a mobility survey and adjusted to the current needs in the process of gradual expansion. The gradual expansion should be taken into account in the planning of the first stage and in the design of components to be used jointly at all expansion stages, such as electrical wiring. Both for electric cars and for charging stations, there are funding opportunities available on a national and local level. So long as free charging electricity is exempt from tax and social security for consumers, we recommend providing it also for free. If the operator plans to charge fees for providing electricity for use in electric cars, considered should be the option of billing through an app, a QR code or a (RFID) card system already from the beginning. An app offers the advantage of better communication, which helps optimise the charging times thanks to an integrated charging and load management system (which is a must) and enables their coordination with the loads of the company.


The battery (of electric cars) can be connected to the company's on-site grid for peak shaving, enables greater use of self-generated PV electricity and can supply primary control reserve power. V2G should be considered if charging terminals and company software are used.

 

 

 

 

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