Public charging stations not crucial for breakthrough e-car
Interest in electric cars remains very weak on the Belgian car market. Buyers are reluctant to buy an electric car for fear of not finding a charging station. However, only 5% of the charges in Europe is made at a public charging pole. Range-anxiety and especially the lack of choice in electric car models available show to be more curbing factors.
In the first seven months of this year, only 1.851 electric cars were registered, according to Febiac, the Belgian automobile federation. This is barely 0,5% of the car sales.
Research by the Brussels based lobby group Transport & Environment shows that barely 5 per cent of the charges in Europe is made at public charging stations, for example on the street, in a parking garage or along the motorway.
“More than 90% of the charges are made at home or at work”, says T&E director, William Todts. “The effect of public charging stations is therefore mainly psychological”, he adds.
Car manufacturers follow the facts
According to the NGO, the current network of public charging stations in Europe is more than sufficient. For every five electric cars there is one public charging point. According to the NGO, not the lack of charging stations, but the limited product range of electric cars is the biggest hurdle for the European car buyer. European car manufacturers act too slowly and EV buyers often have to wait a year for their new car.
Another factor is the rather artificial ‘range-anxiety’ with Belgian drivers, Karsten Lemmens writes in De Standaard. “Despite the adjusted WLTP consumption fugures, car manufacturers still predict an overestimation (30 to 40%) of the actual driving range”, MOBI specialists at the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) say.
A recently launched car with an official autonomy of 450 km, would in reality only reach 270 km. On the other hand, the Belgian motorist just drives 37 km a day and he does not need a car that can cover a very long distance. To counteract this unreasonable range-anxiety, car manufacturers inflate the range of their electric cars to unrealistic proportions, which makes them heavier and less efficient.
Belgium is catching up
The Belgian charging infrastructure is worse with 20 cars per charging point. Flanders is in the process of catching up. Flemish Minister of Energy, Bart Tommelein (Open VLD), wants to install 2.500 new charging stations by 2020. The Dutch company, Allego, is allowed to install 1.000 of these in Flanders and also PitPoint will install 100 public charging stations in the Brussels-Capital Region by 2020.