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ADAC study of parking times and regulations at public charging stations

The ADAC has checked the parking times and regulations at public charging stations for electric cars - and found a confusion.

Parking with a pure combustion engine vehicle at a public charging station for electric cars without having to fear a traffic ticket? Sounds absurd, but it's possible in Erfurt and Schwerin. Drivers in the state capitals of Thuringia and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania can indulge in exactly this impertinence with impunity, between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. (Erfurt) or 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. (Schwerin).

But these are just two of many idiosyncratic regulations that the ADAC found in a current investigation into parking at public charging stations, which was carried out in two parts in June and November 2021. The survey of the road traffic authorities in the 16 German state capitals revealed so many different regulations that the representatives of the motorists' club speak of a "muddle". "The same applies to the signage, which is sometimes unclear and misleading for road users." It is not always clear how long parking and charging is actually allowed.

"Signage not always effective"

"The additional signage for the blue P sign is not always effective," says the ADAC statement. With the additional sign "vehicle with plug" only cars with an E-plate may park, but do not necessarily have to charge. With so-called additional verbal signs such as "During the charging process", it remains unclear what exactly is understood as the charging process and whether current must always flow. The question is what applies if the battery is fully charged but the parking process is still ongoing.

The cities also have different regulations as to which cars are allowed to recharge their batteries at public charging points. According to the ADAC study, only five of the 16 cities allow parking for electric vehicles of all kinds. In the remaining eleven cities you can only park with an E license plate (additional sign "vehicle with plug"). Parking without charging the electric vehicle at the same time is prohibited in five out of 16 cities. The remaining municipalities have different time restrictions for this.

Prone to interpretation

By the way: There are also clear differences in the permitted standing times during the charging process - partly depending on the type of charging station. According to the ADAC, they are restricted at normal charging stations in 14 cities, but not in Düsseldorf and Stuttgart. Different rules sometimes apply to quick-charging stations: in Hamburg, for example, where e-cars – regardless of whether they are charging or not – can be parked for one hour, and two hours at normal charging stations.In Munich, you can park at normal charging stations for a maximum of four hours during the day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and at night without a time limit, at fast chargers for a maximum of one hour continuously while charging.

"The survey also shows that the cities themselves are not always happy with the current regulations," says ADAC test manager Axel Haberstolz. The current specifications are too susceptible to interpretation. In view of the increasing need for charging stations, the ADAC calls for these regulations to be defined unambiguously and for the signs to be formulated in a way that is easy to understand so that they are understood and accepted by all road users. The charging period should be limited - if the car drivers' club has its way - and charging should be allowed for all e-cars, including those without an e-license plate.

Fees for electricity AND parking

As different as the regulations in the state capitals are, they agreed on one thing: none of these cities charge fees for parking at the charging station. But that is no longer the case everywhere. In the first smaller municipalities, in which the charging points are mostly operated by the local public utility, parking fees are already being charged. Often during the charging process and in addition to the normal electricity costs, extra costs are due here. And usually per - and from the first - minute, which means that the pure parking costs at charging stations can exceed the normal tariffs that also apply to pure combustion cars.


16 German state capitals, 16 different regulations for parking and charging at public charging stations: In this regard, too, the federal and municipal structure in Germany is not exactly understandable, conducive and transparent for citizens and consumers. If e-mobility is to proceed at the pace the new federal government is planning, uniform regulations must be in place, as demanded by the ADAC.


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