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How to avoid queues at electric charging stations in the coming years

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:4 mins read

I have to wait for an hour before my electric van is recharged. It’s long ! Too long ! And there are only two charging stations for this service station (Bierges-direction Brussels)“, explains a driver.

Me, I will have to wait about 40 minutes to recharge the battery of my electric company car, even with a high speed and a terminal power of 175 kW“, comments a Namur motorist who goes to work in Brussels. “Here, in Bierges (towards Brussels), I was lucky enough to see that one of the two terminals was still free. Because sometimes they are both busy. In general, in service stations, charging stations are often out of order or even unavailable. It is more and more frequent. However, there are more and more electric cars and waiting times are getting longer. You will therefore often have to queue in the future if nothing changes. The electric transition, I do not believe in it. In addition, high-end, more efficient vehicles are very expensive, reserved for wealthy customers.“, regrets the Namur driver.

To queues

Far from being unique, the case of the Bierges service station raises the question of a sufficient and faster supply in the years to come. Because the fleet of hybrid vehicles plugin (rechargeable via socket) and electric vehicles should increase sharply in the coming years. Remember that the European Parliament has voted to stop sales of new cars with atmospheric engines (gasoline and diesel) from 2035. Currently, charging stations at service stations are often available. “But at certain times of the day, there can be peaks. Two or three cars at the same time and you have to wait or go elsewhere“, relativizes an electric car owner. “We will really have to find short and medium term solutions, otherwise it will be complicated !”

Avoid saturation

For Tom Claerbout, Director of Public Affairs at TotalEnergies Belgium, it is clear that service stations will have to adapt to the evolution of the market, to avoid saturation and long queues. “In Bierges, for example, we currently have twice two charging stations (two in each direction). These 175 kW terminals are very fast. But despite everything, it is true that it still takes a while to recharge. Depending on the generation of the vehicle’s battery, the charging time will be more or less long. Fortunately, technology is changing. We will gradually modernize our charging points over the next 10 or 20 years to meet demand. We will switch to 300 kW terminals. Same thing for the number of terminals per station. In fact, on a site, the first installation of terminals takes time. But the implementation of additional terminals, it goes much faster. There will thus be a shift from the conventional fuel supply to electric“.

Accelerate the Walloon offer

Currently, TotalEnergies has almost 1,000 charging stations in Belgium, most of which are located in the north of the country. Other operators are also moving up a gear so as not to arrive with a war behind the growth in the number of vehicles. It remains to be seen how electricity prices and production capacities, in particular, will evolve.

The south of the country will accelerate the installation of bollards“, we assure the SPW. On the side of Sofico, responsible for the hundred or so motorway rest areas bordering the structuring network of Wallonia, it should be remembered that a good part of the service stations are granted to private operators. According to the latest inventory, in Wallonia, the vast majority of motorway service stations are equipped with two to four charging stations, mainly 50 kW. A dozen of them offer powers of 175 kW. Only three Walloon stations are equipped with ultra-powerful terminals (350 kW): Barchon (province of Liège), Theux (Province of Liège) and Froyennes (province of Hainaut).