First Belgian Ionity supercharger opens in Thieu
The Ionity charger network inaugurates its first Belgian supercharger at the Q8 service station in Thieu (south-central Belgium). This fast charger system allows electric vehicle owners to extend their range as the charging time is reduced.
Long distance driving with an EV remains difficult due to the limited network of charging stations. Especially on highways, electric vehicles do not reach their specified range because of their higher speed and consumption.
In order to be able to use the electric everywhere, this problem must be solved on a European scale. It is also important to know that not every electric car can use superchargers. It is a charging mode that is (increasingly) offered, sometimes as an option.
This means major European highways must be equipped with fast charging stations at reasonable distances from each other. Tesla has a (limited) network of superchargers for its own customers.
Ionity wants to create a similar initiative with other car manufacturers, such as BMW, Daimler, Ford and the Volkswagen Group.
Also different mobility and energy stakeholders have joined the initiative to have access to suitable sites along highways. Historical energy players, such as Eni, Shell, Q8 or Cepsa, have therefore joined the initiative.
300 km in 20 minutes
The idea is to be able to recharge up to 300 kilometres of autonomy, depending on the car model, in less than 20 minutes. Tesla already has comparable superchargers. However, even Tesla drivers often have to wait because the charger is occupied or because there is a problem with it.
Sometimes the superchargers do not work at full speed because the power grid cannot supply enough power, or because several superchargers are linked to one connection, which causes the speed to drop when several vehicles are being charged at the same time.
Up to 350 kW
The problem with the high speed chargers does not lie with the charger, but with the availability of (a lot of) 350 kW connection points on the power grid.
By way of comparison, most family homes have a connection of barely 10 kW and a connection of 350 kW is more for a supermarket or an industrial bakery. Such currents are not available everywhere and certainly not 3 or 4 times, to feed different superchargers separately.
Network is growing
In Belgium, 7 charging stations will be installed on the Q8 motorway service stations. The first one is officially opened in Thieu. According to the Ionity website, another one is already open in the vicinity of Liège, with 4 fast terminals and the next one is planned for the Tournai region.
Ionity plans to open 400 charging stations by the end of 2020. In the meantime, Tesla has already opened 13 fast charging stations in Belgium exclusively for Tesla vehicles. The last one opened a week and a half ago in Edegem (south of Antwerp).