Will there be enough charging stations in Belgium?
10 August 2022 An electric car with a charging station near Montpellier ©BelgaImage
This Thursday, ahead of the 2023 edition of the Motor Show, Brussels made an announcement that will delight motorists. The Belgian capital plans to increase the number of charging stations for electric cars 10 times by 2035. An ambitious goal, but time is running out. That year, all new cars in the European Union must be free of greenhouse gas emissions, and internal combustion cars will disappear from the market by 2026. Therefore, electric cars should make a real breakthrough in the coming years. . Already in 2021, sales of electrified cars have equaled that of diesels. But will Belgium be able to get enough charging stations in the meantime to meet demand? The current figures are insufficient and may be misleading, although the authorities are over-promising in this regard.
A gradual increase in the number of terminals
Today, according to the website Chargemap, Belgium has 9,569 “charge zones”, with a strong increase in recent years. At the beginning of 2022, their number was 6588. But on closer inspection, the distribution of these gaps between regions appears to be very uneven. According to VRT, there are 2,700-2,800 “filling points” in Brussels and 3,300 in Wallonia, far from 17,000 Flemish. Thus, in total, Belgium will have more than 23,000 terminals. According to Philippe Vangeel, secretary general of Avere (Electric Mobility Federation), this difference is related to the political expectations of the problem. “In Flanders, the regional government has already invested heavily in installing charging stations throughout the area for several months.“, he assures L’Avenir.
Still, as it stands, even at the national level, Belgium is not the most advanced state in this area. The Netherlands would already have more than 100,000 terminals, while the population of Belgium is only one-third that of the Netherlands. The problem is that by 2030, Belgium should have around 1.5 million electric cars on the road. Therefore, it will be necessary to multiply terminals to deal with this new reality.
Therefore, the authorities now want to be more proactive. Flanders is currently targeting 35,000 terminals by 2035, double the current figure. If we believe the goal given by the Brussels region today, at least 22,000 charging points by the same date (including 1,400 installed from 2023 and thanks to a better offer in car parks) should reduce the gap with the north of the country. call for already started projects).
As for Wallonia, it announced the installation of 4,000 charging points in the public domain, 2,000 charging points in private areas accessible to the public (such as car parks or service stations) and 1,000 so-called “fast charging” in the “network structure”. (motorways and major state roads). The region aims to have 6,000 of these public access points available by the end of June 2026. Walloon Minister of Mobility Philippe Henri talks about a total of 12,000 charging points in the south of the country by 2026.
There will therefore be an increase in payment capacity in Belgium, but Wallonia does not yet have targets for a later date than 2026. For EV Belgium president Jochen De Smet, Walloon ambitions are still insufficient in this area, as he tells VRT: “Wallonia urgently needs to work on a thoughtful and forward-looking policy for fast and slow charging stations in its cities, municipalities, as well as on main transport axes and highways.“.
In 2030, according to RTBF forecasts, Wallonia will need at least 30,000 charging points. However, Minister Philip Henry points out that 60% of electric cars on this date will not need public infrastructure to charge their batteries, or only occasionally. “Technologies will continue to evolve, this must be taken into account“, he assures.
As noted by the Febiac federation, which compared Dutch and Flemish forecasts, the results at the national level also appear mixed: “We are talking about about 1.8 million charging stations in the Netherlands and about 35,000 charging stations in Flanders: this is a big difference.“.
Alternatives to public terminals
However, it should be remembered that other players intend to install terminals as well. This is the case of Proximus, which is considering 15,000 additional charging points for electric cars by 2028, and Flanders is a priority. Other private players include Delhaize, which announced in December 2022 that it will expand its terminal fleet with 1,800 fast charging points. Another positive note: the network operator “Fluvius” does not expect to face problems in supplying these terminals with electricity, its investment plan for the next ten years envisages the circulation of 1.5 million electric cars in 2030.
Read: Electric cars: find charging stations using this website
If individuals have trouble finding a charging station, there is always a simple solution: install one at home. In Flanders, every resident has a “right to take”, which allows him to ask the region to install a terminal 200-250 meters from his home. This right has not yet been established in Wallonia. In the south of the country, according to the RTBF, you have to pay 2-3 thousand euros to install a “smart terminal” at home, which allows you to either have your travel expenses paid by your employer or join the company. photovoltaic panels.