Optimile invests 8 million in extra charging points
The greening of the company car market is gaining momentum because the Belgian Federal Government wants only 100% electric vehicles to be (fully) tax-deductible from 2026 onwards.
To achieve this, there will be a need for a lot of additional charging infrastructure in the short term, and today Optimile, together with its partners, is investing 8 million euros in the rollout of additional charging points on Belgian soil.
Optimile is a relatively young organization that was founded in 2009 and is working hard on the MaaS philosophy, which is to move away from car ownership and offer ‘mobility as a service’ and, in addition to electric mobility (which is the main focus today), a range of forms of mobility.
Via an app, the organization wants to guide people to the transport solution that is best for them, and in doing so the user is not only directed to a charging station, he can also buy, for example, a tram ticket and the cost of the charging session is invoiced automatically.
Optimile not only cooperates with current operators of existing charging infrastructure, it also wants to further develop its own charging facilities.
The Ghent tech company does not want to sell and install charging stations itself but wants to use the app and the accompanying software to enable everything to work together seamlessly.
In order to realize this, Optimile is raising 8 million euros from its shareholders BNP Paribas Fortis, AG, and Touring. In this way, the company wants to help create some of the 100,000 charge points that will be needed by 2026.
An De Pauw, CEO of Optimile, is delighted with the capital injection and plans to double the staff of 25 in order to also optimize the ‘Caas’ Charging as a Service.
This initiative is certainly welcome to enable the feasibility of the (full) electrification of the company car fleet by 2026, but organizations such as Optimile are working on the interface for the user, but unfortunately cannot offer a (quick) solution in terms of grid infrastructure.
There you have to physically feed all those charging points so that the charging sessions can also be sufficiently fast. In that sense, this investment is only the (easiest) part of the solution that will be needed to provide electricity to the large car fleet.
Gap to private user grows
In the first phase, this service will also offer itself to the professional user in the B2B market, where the costs associated with the app, charging, car, or other mobility use will be neatly invoiced to the company or employer.
With the switch to the electric company car, the government hopes that after a few years private consumers will buy these used electric cars (as is very often the case with diesel cars now).
The fact is that these private consumers cannot charge in the company car park and prefer to pay for their charge with their Bancontact card as they are used to. We simply don’t understand why nobody invests in a charging infrastructure where the rates per kWh are shown on a display with a payment method such as we have for conventional fuels?
This would lower the threshold to electric driving, especially for private users, thus also preventing mobility poverty in the long run.