From tuesday morning to thursday afternoon I was granted the opportunity to experience a BMW i3 electric vehicle. BMW Leipzig was very helpful in making this possible.

However, this time I decided I’m not going to talk about the car itself, but about the infrastructure within Germany, more specifically in my region.

The basic charger of the BMW i3 is a small component using the upper charger port on the vehicle on one side and a basic German power plug “Schuko” on the other side. This itself is making it possible to charge the vehicle anywhere you have a power outlet. Charging up to 3.7kW is possible. The upgraded charger for the i3 is rated at double the power with 7.4kW and requires a stronger power outlet. Now I’d like to address a few issues with our recharging stations that are scattered around Germany. I’ve examined a few in Meißen and Dresden, each working differently. The biggest problem I encountered is the protection against sabotage. On the one located in Dresden’s Elbepark is hosted by DREWAG. Payment is possible through Dresden’s public transport system via something called “Handyticket” and more specifically “Stromticket”. I decided to use this one to charge my i3 for one hours while out for dinner with my girlfriend. Biggest issues here are that neither the power plug is protected against removal (anyone could just stop by and unplug my charging cable) as well as using the display to just disable my purchased charging time without a code or protection. Would be easy to just use the same TAN that they send you for the payment. What I’d like to see is that they include fixed cables that are on the station to charge your car with. Why shouldn’t it be possible? The plug itself is versatile and actually pretty common.

Next stop was in Meißen, on a parking lot right before old town. This one is hosted by stadtraum GmbH. This one is really neat as it combines the parking ticket machine with the power outlet and purchasing model. In a few words: free electricity! A regular parking customer would pay 0.50€ for 30 minutes of parking. Electric vehicles pay the same but get to use a 3.7kW charger port for free. I like this. Sabotage protection isn’t existing here either, but at least they can’t stop your charging flow through the vending machine.