If the battery runs out unexpectedly during a longer journey with the eVehicle, it is important to be able to use a nearby charging station to avoid getting stuck. But a charging station of your own contractual partner is not always nearby. Drivers must therefore be able to rely on a comprehensive charging network and need a solution that can also be loaded spontaneously: Ad hoc charging.

Spontaneous charging & guest charging

The European Parliament and the European Council sought to make Ad hoc charging (also selective charging or direct payment) possible. Directive 2014/94/EU was jointly adopted in 2014, which stipulates that direct charging and payment must be possible at publicly available charging stations without prior notification.

Ad Hoc Laden is not only an uncomplicated solution for drivers who want to load on the go. Operators of private or semi-public charging stations also like to use it to allow spontaneous chargers or guests to charge.

Benefits of Ad Hoc charging 

With Ad Hoc Charging, drivers can spontaneously (ad hoc) charge at charging stations without having to register beforehand or contract with the operator.   Since 2017, the right to ad hoc charging at every charging station has been laid down in the Charging Stations Regulation. Thus, a “non-discriminatory charging” is to be made possible.  Payment is made immediately before or after the charging process directly at an integrated payment terminal with EC or credit card or online on the website of the operator. A charging card or a specific app are not necessary. Ad hoc charging, however, is usually more expensive than a contracted tariff: the price for one kilowatt hour of charging power can be twice as high as with without a charging power contract. Since the introduction of the calibration law, public charging has been billed by kilowatt hour and no longer by time. Charging at fast charging points (DC charging stations) also costs more than at AC normal charging stations (AC-DC charging – what’s the difference).

Ad hoc charging can be the more cost-effective option abroad. German providers of charging stations often charge fees for eRoaming in other countries if drivers outside of Germany want to pay at external charging stations with the provided charging card. Ad-hoc payment via app, credit or debit card at the charging station is usually cheaper here.

How does Ad Hoc charging work?

Barrier-free charging without prior registration often takes place via a QR code attached to the charging station. This can then be simply scanned with the camera of the smartphone and the driver is redirected to the provider’s website. There, the driver provides the payment information and the charging process is activated. The operator of the charging station initially reserves an amount on the stored credit card to check its validity. The excess will be charged to the charging price after the charging process has finished.

Drivers of electric vehicles who have a contract with a provider, can also charge at external charging points as usual with the charging card provided, insofar as the operator has activated the charging station for public charging. For this purpose, there are various roaming networks, via which you can also use charging stations from other providers with the usual charging card.

The future of Ad Hoc charging  

In the future, authentication at the charging station will be carried out directly via the vehicle electronics, meaning that drivers have previously stored means of payment in the system of their electric cars. This makes ad hoc charging easier, because no cumbersome registration at the charging station is necessary. The status data of the vehicle and the charging station, process data and payment data are simply transferred via the charging cable. This necessary provision of intelligent charging infrastructure is subject to challenges: vehicle manufacturers, energy suppliers and payment service providers have their own standards and standards to which the associated data must comply. The technology of the charging station must ensure that the correct data formats can be adhered to and, if necessary, translated between the areas.

With intelligent charging stations and charging cables, as well as increased mergers to comprehensive charging networks, we are on the right track to truly barrier-free charging.

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