Motorway areas “reserved” for electric cars? Yes but no

The Dutch charging station operator Fastned will open two new motorway stations in Belgium. Their particularity? They will only be reserved for electric cars. Thermal cars are not welcome. Their inauguration is scheduled for next year.

Critics of the electric car will have fewer and fewer arguments over the years. That of recycling has already been swept out of hand by Mercedes and Redwood Materials, while that of recharging will also be soon. For those who affirm that he is easier to refuel rather than plug in because there are gas stations everywhere will soon be wrong.

Two new areas

Today, many motorway service areas are equipped with fast charging stations. And this should continue to accelerate, while the French government has promised that they will all be equipped before the end of the semester. While there is still a long way to go, the number of takes is indeed constantly improving over the months, thanks to the arrival of new actors. One thinks in particular of Fastned, which recently established itself on the motorways of the North and East of France.

But the Dutch company wants to go even further in the next few years. Thus, it has just announced in a press release that it has won a call for tenders for set up two new rest areas in Belgium this time. These will be located on either side of the E7 motorway, near the city of Ghent, where the Volvo C40 Recharge is assembled.

It is more precisely in the municipality of Gentbrugge that these two stations will be inaugurated, which have a small particularity. In effect, they will only be reserved for electric cars, since no fuel pump will be installed on them. Which may seem surprising, since most charging stations are installed in service stations, as is generally the case for Ionity or TotalEnergies.

However, even if it will not be possible to fill up with gas, these two motorway service areas will be developed to offer optimal comfort to users. These areas will therefore not be prohibited for thermal cars, as Fastned France confirmed to us by telephone in the morning. Fastned announces that they will be equipped with toilets while it will be possible tobuy coffee and sandwiches to eat while the car is plugged in.

Record power

This shouldn’t last very long, since both areas will have 12 charging points each, delivering power up to 400 kW. A European record equaled by Circontrol. Belgium thus becomes the second country equipped with these Fastned terminals after the Netherlands. In France, you have to settle for 360 kW, offered by Lidl and Kallista Energy, while the Chinese manufacturer Nio is working on 500 kW terminals.

These stations can be used by cars of course, but also by trucks and they will be equipped with photovoltaic panels. On the other hand, the operator does not specify for the moment whether these terminals will be equipped with the Autocharge function. Also known as Plug & Charge, this allows you to start charging an electric vehicle without having to identify yourself with a badge. Ionity already offers this technology, as do BMW, Cupra and Tesla.

The prices should be the same as those already applied in the 19 other stations already operational in Belgium, with one kWh charged 0.69 euro. In France, it is currently necessary to count 0.59 euro per kWh. A price much higher than at Lidl, which charges only 25 to 40 cents per kWh. However, it is still cheaper than at Ionity, where the kWh costs 0.79 euro with power limited to 350 kW. As a reminder, the French Fastned terminals deliver up to 300 kW.

The inauguration of the two new Gentbrugge stations is planned for 2024while the company plans to install 24 additional locations at our neighbors over the next few years.

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