A plot of unoccupied land and a great idea: this was the start of the electric charging adventure of Wim Timmers, Olivier Vanhamel and Ronny Smolders. With the support of MobilityPlus, as the owner of a tyre centre he is taking his first steps in a brand-new market: that of charging stations. The first realisation, a state-of-the-art charging station for electric vehicles, is a first for Houthalen-Helchteren.
“This was a fantastic challenge for E-Load, my company that specialises in the construction of charging stations,” says Wim. “Apart from the design, there is a lot involved in the construction of these kinds of charging stations: you need a high-voltage cabin, solar panels, a supercharger and of course also a strong platform that makes the charging experience pleasant for your visitors. MobilityPlus played a crucial role in choosing the charging equipment and facilitating the charging experience.”
“After Wim had worked with an architect to outline where he wanted to position everything, he contacted MobilityPlus,” continues Dries. “After all, he was looking for more than just a company that sold charge points. He wanted a supercharger that was linked to a platform that also offers various different services, such as automatic invoicing. That’s all possible with MobilityPlus.”
The contact between Dries and Wim went smoothly. “We soon clicked: we are both Limburgers and created an atmosphere of trust in no time. For Wim, it was also handy that his contact person here lives 20 minutes away – we can be reached easily to discuss things. For a project like this one, which requires close collaboration, these fast lines of communication are important.”
“We then explained exactly how to install the charge points, how to keep the cabling as short as possible, which charge points were best suited for this project, and so on,” continues Dries. “We always work in a brand-neutral way, presenting customers with a tailor-made solution which ties in closely with their wishes and needs.
Europark's eye-catcher? An ultra-fast charging station with two charge points and 300 kW of power. “By way of comparison, a normal charge point at your home offers around 22 kW of power. That means charging a car will take the whole night. Nowadays, many fast charging stations offer around 150 kW of power. In our case, it is 300 kW; this means that even the most advanced electric cars can be fully charged in less than an hour,” says Wim.
“In line with the advice of MobilityPlus, we chose Siemens equipment that offers load balancing. This means that the charge point distributes the power much more effectively between the two cars that can be connected to an ultra-fast charge point, which always keeps the charging time as short as possible for the various vehicles.”
With these ultra-fast chargers, we are truly pioneeringDries Van Dyck, MobilityPlus
Dries is also enthusiastic about the equipment. “A charge point like this, with a capacity of 300 kW, cannot be compared with a slow-charging station. The technology and cabling are a lot more complicated. The market for slow-charging stations has been booming for a long time, but with these ultra-fast chargers we are truly leading the way.”
Wim would like to build several of these kinds of charging stations in the future. “We are already discussing this with MobilityPlus. Our biggest challenge is competing with competitors such as Fastned, who have better access to prime locations. The focus now lies on finding these top sites and getting the right equipment.”
Finding top sites and getting the right equipment: these two things are essential if we wish to develop a great network of charging stationsWim Timmers, E-Load
Dries can also see a future in these types of projects, while at the same time advocating responsible energy consumption. “You can see electric driving evolving at a fast pace. All the same, we will have to link it to good energy management. We need a good mix of slow charging stations on company sites and at people's homes in combination with fast chargers for people who want to recharge in fifteen minutes for longer trips. Each project has its own specific needs: with MobilityPlus, we help companies and their employees to make the right choice. But a mind shift is also required: at home, you don't need to charge your car in an hour.”