Eichrecht explained

Eichrecht, the German calibration law, is a crucial regulation that ensures accurate measurement and transparency in various fields, including electromobility. This law defines the requirements for all measuring devices, such as petrol pumps and electricity meters. In the context of electric vehicle (EV) charging, Eichrecht ensures that the energy measured and billed is accurate and transparent, thus protecting consumers and maintaining market integrity.

In this article

1. What is Eichrecht?

Eichrecht is composed of several regulations:

1.1 Calibration law (Mess- und Eichgesetz – MessEG)

This law lays the foundation for deploying measurement instruments and emphasises the need for accurate measurement.

1.2 Calibration regulation (Mess- und Eichverordnung – MessEV)

These regulations include provisions and guidelines for various meters, including electricity meters used in EV charging stations, describing how the meters should be calibrated.

1.3 Regulations on price indication

These regulations aim to ensure transparency and clarity to consumers about what they are being billed for and dictate how pricing should be indicated.
overview of german weights and measures regulations
Overview of german weights and measures regulations. Source: RVO

2. Requirements of Eichrecht for EV Charging

2.1 Charging scenarios

Eichrecht applies to situations where drivers pay for EV charging. This includes public and semi-public charging scenarios. If employees must pay for charging at workplace chargers, those chargers must also comply with Eichrecht. However, workplace chargers where charging is free for employees and home chargers solely for private use are exempt.

2.2 Accuracy and transparency

Charging stations must have an energy meter certified by the National Metrology Institute of Germany (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt – PTB). These meters must periodically calibrate the amount of energy delivered. The charging station must display the amount of energy for which the driver is being charged, along with the date and time. Drivers should be able to verify the charges through an external app or web portal. Energy charges must be based on the quantity of energy used. Flat fees are allowed only for monthly or yearly plans. Flat session rates and time-of-use tariffs are not permitted. Additional fees such as charging time and parking time are allowed but must be listed separately on the invoice.

2.3 Data and security

The data meter or a separate display must be visible to the driver, showing the amount of energy consumed and a timestamp. Before sending data to the Charge Point Management System (CPMS), the meter data must be signed with a private key securely stored on the charger and encrypted. This ensures the data’s authenticity and integrity. The CPMS must store the following data points:
  • The energy delivered in each transaction
  • Time stamps
  • Unique ID of the EVSE or the meter
  • Customer ID and/or transaction ID
  • Digital signature of the dataset

2.4 Ensuring consumer reliability

Eichrecht goes beyond just the electricity meter and displaying the energy delivered. Back-end systems must ensure that billing values are original and authentic. Charge Point Operators (CPOs) and e-Mobility Service Providers (eMSPs) must provide customers with a way to verify these values. Since data from the EVSE to the back-end platform is signed with a private key, it can be verified using the corresponding public key. This key must be displayed on the charging station and/or provided on the customer invoice. Given the public key, customers can verify meter values using independent applications like Transparency software from the Software Alliance for E-mobility (S.A.F.E).
how eichrecht provides secured data transparency of the ev charging session
How Eichrecht provides secured data transparency of the EV charging session. Source: Eastron

3. Eichrecht: A barrier or a necessity?

While Eichrecht ensures consumer protection and market integrity, it is often seen as a barrier due to the significant costs and technical challenges it imposes. The requirements of Eichrecht can increase the development and operational costs of charging stations, leading to higher investment risks.

3.1 Investment costs

Key components contributing to these costs include:
  • Display installation
  • Software adaptations
  • Secure measurement devices
  • Verification software
  • Computing power

3.2 Operational costs

Operational costs include ongoing compliance checks and customer communication. These costs, combined with the lack of clear business models, make it challenging for stakeholders to invest in public charging infrastructure.

3.3 Perceived barriers for different stakeholders

Stakeholders’ views on Eichrecht vary:
  • Minimal hurdle: Some see it as a minor challenge with most issues resolved.
  • Identifiable solutions: Others find the requirements high but manageable with simple solutions.
  • No visible solutions: Some see no solutions within the current framework.
  • Unfamiliar with requirements: A large group remains unaware of the specific requirements.

3.4 Strategic responses to Eichrecht

Stakeholders adopt different strategies based on their investment willingness and business model outlook:
  • Complying with Eichrecht for kWh-based billing: Some work towards achieving full compliance.
  • Opting for time-based billing: Others choose time-based billing to avoid complex requirements.
  • Providing free charging: Some offer free charging to bypass the regulations.
  • Advocating for exemptions: Others call for exceptions to reduce compliance burdens.

4. Conclusion

Eichrecht plays a crucial role in ensuring accurate and transparent billing for EV charging. While it poses significant challenges and costs, understanding and complying with its requirements is essential for developing a robust and legally compliant charging infrastructure. By addressing these challenges, stakeholders can contribute to the growth of electromobility and achieve the ambitious goals set by the German government.

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