Does the monopoly of “Tank & Rast” slow down the expansion of charging stations?

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Does the monopoly of

Germany needs more charging stations, that’s clear. However, tenants, hereditary leaseholders or operators who want to set up charging stations along the motorway can hardly avoid the service company “Tank & Rast“. Since the company holds the concession for almost all motorway service stations (around 90 percent), it has a monopoly. And that’s where the problem lies: companies that want to set up charging stations at service areas and truck stops on their own are apparently faced with hurdles, reports the Handelsblatt. According to the daily newspaper, companies and lawyers consider the service provider’s charging station business to be illegal. Tank & Rast countered this.

More and more people are going on holiday in electric cars. With the start of the first federal states in the summer holidays, the use of electricity filling stations at German motorway service areas has once again increased significantly, reports Tank & Rast on its website. According to this, the company recorded 61 in June.011 charging processes, almost three times as many as in the same month last year (22.737) and 8.750 more than in May (52.261). This means that in the first half of 2021 there were already 257.727 charging processes were counted, compared to 323 in the entire previous year.706. According to Tank & Rast, they ensure that electric mobility picks up speed in Germany: “As a modern infrastructure service provider, we are leading the way and actively shaping the change in mobility. For us, the promotion of electromobility is an investment in the future. The company has been investing in the expansion of electromobility in Germany since 2015. In just a few years, the largest connected fast charging network in Germany was created together with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), partners from industry and under the umbrella of the existing concession agreements with the federal government. With more than 1.400 charging points are definitely making an important contribution to the breakthrough of electromobility. But all this is done with fair things? It is clear that people are reluctant to dispute this supremacy.

Motorway charging stations create trust in electromobility

Tank & Rast operates the charging stations in cooperation and leases the areas to the four providers EnBW, Eon, Ionity and Mer, who set up charging stations at their own expense. According to the Handelsblatt on the basis of industry experts, however, the lease costs are very high. Tank & Rast does not comment publicly on its conditions. But some case studies would show that charging station operators who do not agree to the conditions of Tank & Rast are inevitably left behind. According to the Dutch fast charging network specialist Fastned, which also operates a number of charging parks in this country, the service station operator is exploiting its monopoly position – and that would significantly distort competition, according to an interview with Auto Motor und Sport. According to the Handelsblatt, the company firmly rejects the claims: “In contrast to many German municipalities, there is also a lot of competition on German autobahns,” writes the company. But the monopoly commission, an advisory body to the federal government, is also critical: “Competition in the charging stations on the federal motorways is made more difficult by the similar monopoly position of Tank & Rast,” said commission chairman Jurgen Kuhling of the daily newspaper. The result is excessive electricity prices for end consumers, since, contrary to Tank & Rast‘s statement, there are hardly any alternatives. This drives up the price: As we have already experienced ourselves, the price per charged kilowatt hour can easily amount to 80 cents. But those locations on the Autobahn are particularly important, says Fastned boss Michiel Langezaal in a further interview with Auto Motor und Sport: “These locations change the mindset (…). At the latest when I drive past a fast charging station that is clearly visible from the motorway every 20 minutes, I start to trust the charging infrastructure.”. This is good for the reputation of electric mobility.

Does the monopoly of Tank & rest

Can Tank & Rast offer charging stations at all??

The charging infrastructure is a technology that did not even exist in 1998, when the concession agreement was signed with the privatized Tank & Rast. The Dusseldorf specialist lawyer for public procurement law, Jan Byok, also has his say in the Handelsblatt report: “If you were to expand basic contracts by private agreement with new services that were not foreseeable at the time the contract was concluded, then that would open the floodgates to breach of public procurement law,” he explains. And further: “So any competition would be torpedoed. House and court suppliers could be commissioned with further services on the basis of contracts once concluded.It is also unclear whether the spatial expansion of Tank & Rast is permissible to this extent. Actually, the concessionaire is only allowed to use the area required for the so-called “secondary business”, i.e. the gas station or rest area, the lawyer continues.

The most important question is whether Tank & Rast is allowed to add charging stations to its services at all. According to the interview with the daily newspaper, Fastned considers the expansion of the Tank & Rast concession to include the charging station business to be in violation of public procurement law. Contract changes allow the paragraph 132 GWB of the Law against Competition Restrictions (GWB) only if a corresponding regulation was invested in the basic contract. “The concession agreement of Tank & Rast is probably not the most likely necessary for an enlargement-necessary adjustment clause with regard to the business with charging pillars,” says Boyk. Tank & Rast shows the allegation of public procurement in the report but decidedly back: “The provision of charging infrastructure belongs to the goods and services offered by the managed lenses and therefore includes the existing concession agreements”. Incidentally, the BMVI considers this view and believe that the concessionaire is allowed to react to technical progress and should also. And something else seems to be slowing down the expansion of the charging infrastructure: New market participants are struggling with long processing times for applications. So it takes a long time before new charging stations can be implemented. On next mobility.de it is written that “it can often take up to six months before a network connection can be implemented with one of the more than 380 German network operators”.

If a company has a dominant position (40 percent market share), the Federal Cartel Office can intervene at its discretion, but according to the lawyer this is not mandatory. In addition, it is difficult to prove that the leases are too high, since there is actually little competition. According to the Handelsblatt, the Bundeskartellamt itself does not want to comment either, referring to an “ongoing sector investigation of the charging station market” according to the daily newspaper. And even if private companies could sue, they usually don’t. Because procedures and finding evidence are difficult and also expensive. In addition, the federal government cannot simply give Tank & Rast specifications for the charging stations. He probably doesn’t want to either, because he’s also interested in expanding the charging station infrastructure – and here Tank & Rast is a powerful driver. However, the federal government should make competitive conditions as a solution proposal. So that, for example, charging stations are not only assigned exclusively to operators and lease amounts are set.

Meanwhile, according to the Handelsblatt, there are also negotiations with the federal government about a framework agreement that is intended to regulate how the charging stations at the rest areas, which are mainly managed by Tank & Rast, should continue. “Autobahn GmbH is currently preparing a call for tenders for managed locations,” says the BMVI without naming a specific start date. So there are still many uncertain factors. However, the problem could soon solve itself: According to Focus, the new fast-charging law provides for.de namely, “that by 2023 on 1.000 locations charging stations are to be installed, which can supply fast energy with at least 150 kilowatts”. In addition, according to the Handelsblatt, 200 locations at unmanned rest areas for charging station operators will already be advertised at the turn of the year – competition is known to stimulate business. Uncertainty factors such as fear of range and horrendous electricity prices could be a thing of the past, especially on motorways. The federal government is spending around 1.9 billion euros on this. We stay tuned …

Sources: Handelsblatt.com, Focus.de, next-mobility.de, auto-motor-und-sport.de, Tank & Rest

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6 thoughts on “Does the monopoly of “Tank & Rast” slow down the expansion of charging stations?”

  1. The self-duplicating juggernaut of BMVI/Autobahn GmbH/Tank administrations&Rast is created to fleece motorists, to exploit them (see water prices, etc.). Any breach of the law is welcome and morality and business ethics are out of the question. And the prosecutor stops still.

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  2. Dear Fastned – come to Switzerland. Your loading points at Lenzburg in Aargau are great. Please let the Germans sort up first.

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  3. At Tank & Rast, it is similar to the train or in hospitals and retirement homes or private pension entprisition – politics has been proposed by the population that privatization was a high-quality cost, as the private sector could better expect – now can the private and in their favor and their shareholders, but to Damage for the general public.

    With high leases it should be difficult Reducing the kWh prices at the charging current to a household current level. In the case of green electricity costs of CA. 4 cents per kWh for large PV and wind power plants, 30 cents per kWh should also be the norm for fast chargers during the day when the sun is shining or on windy days – at other times surcharges could be demanded to steer e-car drivers.

    With the many short-distance drivers, who park outdoors, solar roofs on e-cars would be ideal and the more installed, the cheaper – at some point they should be part of the standard equipment.

    For slightly longer distances If employees could charge cheap electricity during the day in the company car park and customers at hardware stores and supermarkets for 30-60 minutes, then only the kilometer eaters would have to charge on the motorway and possibly charge. pay more for their charging current – that would be the case.

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  4. this unspeakably bad tank&Rast eON triple chargers have significantly shaken my confidence in e-mobility
    Since then, the “Tank&Rest” done for me.

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  5. After 16 years of Union & Partner government, it is gradually becoming apparent what a CSU-dominated Ministry of Transport or. created the Ministry of Auto. I can only recommend systematically avoiding all Tank & Rast locations and driving off the motorway. All fast charging stations on the motorways should be expanded independently of the Tank & Rast locations, this is the only way to achieve target-oriented charging electricity prices. Let’s see if Minister Scheuer will switch to partners from Tank & Rast next year. I wouldn’t be surprised.

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  6. Where’s the problem?? The charging station operators buy up plots of land next to the motorway service stations, put their charging stations on them and the tank and rest stop look old…driveways? Will be bought at the same time. The Autobahn GMBH (the state) is still clammy up there anyway…or have you all forgotten that the federal government before the restructuring even wanted to sell the BABs to private individuals?

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