Fastned opens first charging hub with shop in Brecht

Dutch fast-charging company Fastned has launched its first-ever charging hub where customers can shop or visit a restaurant. The new facility is situated at a key charging station along the E19 motorway between Antwerp and Breda, near Brecht. In Belgium, opening a highway shop without offering fossil fuels is complicated.

The debut of this retail space is a critical component of Fastned’s broader mission to expedite the transition to sustainable motoring. Michiel Langezaal, Fastned’s CEO, underscored the strategic importance of the new shop, noting, “This opening not only enhances the charging experience but also sets a new standard for motorway services in the era of electric vehicles.”

Sustainable convenience

Aligning with EVs’ sustainable mission, the shop employs environmentally friendly materials such as wood and features an energy-efficient building with a heat pump and solar panels atop its green roof. The available product selection mirrors the company’s commitment to sustainability, offering both traditional snacks and innovative, healthier options that align with Fastned’s ecological values.

The Brecht location is a vital pilot for Fastned’s expansion strategy. Insights gained from this shop will inform the development of additional complexes, including an upcoming project on the E17 motorway near Gentbrugge. Here, the Dutch company is constructing dual-sided charging stations equipped with shops.

Legal units

Due to concession rights, running services at charging hubs, often converted fuel stations, is complicated in Belgium. Many shop concessions along highways are linked to the petrol and diesel forecourt and form legal units. If Fastned wants to acquire a shop and restaurant concession through a buy-out, it should provide fuel for combustion-engined vehicles in those cases. Country Manager for Fastned Tuur de Coninck appeals to lawmakers to look into an amendment to decouple the shops and restaurants from the energy provision to facilitate the roll-out of charging conveniences.

Fast-charging hubs with amenities are becoming a trend. In some cases, the experience is lifted to the VIP level. Last year, Porsche opened a charging lounge in Bingen am Rhein, near Frankfurt, where customers can enjoy a coffee, a workout, or a rest in all comfort. Audi has deployed similar mobile charging hubs, which are also available to non-Audi customers. There are six across Germany, located near city centers and highly successful.


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