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Brussels to speed up installation of electric car charging stations

An electric car charging station in Brussels, Wednesday 16 September 2020. (BELGA PHOTO KATLEEN VASTIAU)
08:05 07/04/2021

At the moment, anyone applying for an electric car charging station must wait at least six months before the installation is possible. This is too long to wait, according to the Brussels government, which adopted several administrative simplification measures last week, intended to speed up installation times. The new measures will reduce the wait to two months.

By 2035, not only diesel but also petrol cars and other vehicles with internal combustion engines will be banned from Brussels. In that year, the Brussels Region should also have 11,000 charging stations in place for electric vehicles. Today there are 161 charging stations in Brussels. In less than 15 years' time, there must therefore be almost 70 times more charging stations, but the roll-out is slow, partly due to administrative difficulties.

But now, with the approval of the simplification measures by the Brussels government, things will now speed up. "It will be easier administratively to request and install charging stations, which will allow the period to be reduced from six months to two months," said a spokesperson for Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt.

Any citizen of Brussels who does not have a garage and does not have a charging station within a radius of less than 250m around their house can request a charging station via the website charge.brussels.

By the end of this year, Van den Brandt hopes that there will be 250 charging stations in the region, meeting demand as their popularity and usage increases. "In the first quarter of 2021, the charging stations have already been used more than in the whole of 2020," said Van den Brandt.

So far, all charging stations in Brussels are being built and installed by Pitpoint, a company recently bought by Total. That too will change with the Brussels government hoping to attract new providers. "The exclusivity contract with Pitpoint will expire soon", said Van den Brandt’s spokesperson.

Through public tenders, the Brussels government wants to allocate contracts for dozens of charging stations at a time to different operators. Electricity operator Sibelga will take on the role of facilitator. "Interoperability is important here,” said Brussels environment minister Alain Maron. “Charging stations must function, whatever the user's electricity supplier."

Maron also wants to speed up the electrification of the Brussels authorities' fleet of vehicles. By 2025, 65% instead of 40% of the regional fleet should be zero-emission vehicles. At municipal level, it is 50% instead of 25%. That too was approved at the Council of Ministers meeting last week.

"The exception that existed for ministers' vehicles has been removed," Maron added. The obligation also applies to leasing. Brussels Environment will set up its own leasing plant and a purchasing centre will be built through Sibelga, "to have the best prices, as this is a relatively new market."

Written by Nick Amies