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Every charging station in Germany that takes payment for charging must be capable of invoicing in accordance with calibration laws. In the introduction of this series, we have already explained in depth what hardware and software requirements must be fulfilled and what retrofitting process applies to charging facilities that are not legally compliant. [Link to this if possible] For existing stations that don’t yet have the necessary measurement systems, the operator must submit a specific, customised retrofitting plan to the responsible national calibration authority.

However, there are also charging stations that are not subject to the calibration requirements. For example when the electricity is given away for free from the station or is invoiced based on a flat rate. There are more exceptions and pitfalls in the multitude of different charging scenarios in private and semi-public settings, which we will go into in depth in this series. In Part 1 of our series we deal with the topic of charging company cars at work and at home, as well as charging stations on company premises.

Employees charging at work

If an employee charges their company car for free at work, those charging stations do not need to be designed to comply with calibration laws. If taxation of the pecuniary advantage resumes (the tax exemption is initially limited until the end of 2020 and should – according to an announcement from the German finance ministry – be extended until 2030), it would also not be necessary for the charging station to be able to invoice in accordance with calibration law. An MID-certified measurement system (Measurements Instruments Directive) would be sufficient. This case is different if the employee has to pay to charge his private electric vehicle at work. That charging station must then fulfil the legal calibration requirements.

A visitor charging on the company’s premises

If an external customer or visitor pays to charge at a company’s location, those charging stations must be built in accordance with calibration laws. “In addition, the regulations of the charging station ordinance must be observed if we are dealing with parking areas that are publicly accessible and can be used by anyone. The regulations of the Price Indication Ordinance must also be observed when the customer or visitors are consumers,” explains attorney Dr. Katharina Vera Boesche, head of the Legal group “IKT für Elektromobilität” (IKT for Electric Mobility), a research and technology programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

Employees charging at home

If a company car is charged by an employee at home and the entirety of the electricity for the company car can be charged to the company, an MID-certified smart meter between the charging station and the connection to the home’s power network or on the station itself is sufficient for invoicing to the employer. If however several electric cars belonging to relatives or acquaintances, for example, are also charged at this charging station, it depends on what proof the employer requires, explains attorney Boesche. They may require a charging station that has been assessed for compliance if the charging processes need to be clearly matched to the individual vehicles.

One option to avoid building a charging station at an employee's home that is compliant with calibration laws is a flat rate payment of the charging costs, comparable to fuel credits issued by the employer. These lump sum amounts for electric vehicles have been specifically approved by the financial authority in Germany, according to a decree issued on 26 October 2017. According to the decree the following set monthly amounts are applicable “For electrically charging a company vehicle (only cars) in accordance with paragraph 3 no. 50 EStG (Income Tax Act) and for calculating individual costs paid by the customer”

  • With the additional opportunity of charging at work: €20 for an exclusively battery-powered electric car; €10 for a plug-in hybrid car
  • Without the opportunity of charging at work: €50 for an exclusively battery-powered electric car; €25 for a plug-in hybrid car

Charging fleet vehicles on the company's premises

If charging company cars not associated with a single user (fleet vehicles) at a company location needs to be invoiced, the question also arises as to which legal calibration requirements must be fulfilled by the charging facilities. However, this is a purely internal legal relationship, which for the internal corporate allocation of the costs only asks the question what documentation is required by the German financial authority. According to Boesche, this should be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Several companies in an industrial estate

For charging facilities installed on premises such as an industrial estate and used by various companies, relaxed requirements may apply. This is only the case, however, if the requirements of paragraph 35 MessEG (German Weights and Measures Act) are fulfilled, such as commercial partners that remain the same, a spatially contiguous, closed property and an agreement among the parties on how to deal with incorrect measurements, explains Boesche. One of the parties must carry out the role of operating the charging facility; an MID-certified smart meter would be sufficient for invoicing. The expert recommends checking that all the requirements are fulfilled in each individual case.

In Part 2 of our series, apartment owners, homeowner associations and real estate companies will learn everything they need to observe to provide legally compliant charging. In Part 3 of our series, we give hotel operators and providers of holiday apartments and condominiums tips on how they can bill their guests for charging their electric cars in a legally compliant way.

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