Dutch Fastned looking to install fast charging stations in Belgium
But even in progressive Holland charging stations are still a loss-making business. “The most popular stations in the Randstad have up to ten charges a day. Only recently the first became profitable and we expect more to follow in the coming months. We have a monthly growth of 10 per cent”, says spokeswoman Kyra Hartlief of Fastned, that isn’t really bothered by the current losses. ‘We want to have our network operational’, she adds.
The Dutch company is also interested in Flanders, but crossing the border isn’t that easy. Top locations alongside the motorways are in concession of companies such as Texaco, Shell or Esso. “But there are a lot of parkings that could be ideal spots like the ones in Peutie and Everberg where nothing happens”, says Patrick Maquoi of Fastned.
According to Maquoi the Flemish road and traffic agency (AWV) is brooding on tenders for these locations. “Perhaps they are still working on ancient typewriters over there. Fact is that nothing moves” he says in a jest.
Tom Debruyn of AWV thinks Maquoi is exaggerating. “We do want a denser network of fast chargers and tenders are foreseen for the end of this year”, he says. These will be for carpool parkings or park-and-ride parkings and not for parkings where there is no infrastructure yet.
Debruyn denies that nothing is happening in Flanders, pointing to a deal between Total and Dutch company Allego for the installation of 37 fast chargers and a similar deal between Q8 and EDF Luminus for 18 more.
Many consider fast charging stations as vital for the breakthrough of the electric car. Tesla-boss Musk is one of them, hence his decision to place his own ‘superchargers’ all over the world.
Flemish minister for energy Bart Tommelein (Open VLD) has his charging point plan that says that by 2020 every community should have at least one.
Macquoi is a bit sarcastic about the idea. “Every green spirited mayor wants to have one in front of the town hall to prove that he wants to move forward. But it doesn’t make sense. They are talking about slow chargers that take up to four hours for a full load. And who wants to spend four hours in the town hall? Not me!”