While electric cars are becoming more and more important, there is also a lot going on at the level of the charging infrastructure. Philippe Fouyn, account manager at Athlon, keeps a close eye on developments: “The time when you could charge a car battery with a normal socket is completely over. This is not only safer for your electrical installation, but a suitable charging installation is also recommended for the battery.” What charging technologies exist and what evolutions are taking place?
Charging on your company site
Many companies have already installed charging points on their site in recent years. They are gradually expanding at the moment. “This is necessary to increase the percentage of electric cars in a company fleet. If there are more charging points, people will also be more open to an electric company car,” says Philippe Fouyn. However, many companies still have a lot of catching up to do.
Charging management is also gaining in importance on company sites. This technology allows companies to charge electric cars in turn according to their needs. In this way, a commercial employee’s vehicle is given priority over the car of someone who stays in the office all day. Smart charging and intelligent monitoring are therefore important to solve capacity problems.
Charging at home
Smart charging is also making its mark at home. After the working day, it’s not only the electric car that needs power, but the microwave oven, radio, TV, and lighting also consume electricity. So a smart charging system only starts charging the car at night. In addition, there are wall boxes that register and pass on the electricity costs incurred, so that the employee is automatically reimbursed.
The drive unit and the type of vehicle determine which specific charging options are suitable. Philippe Fouyn: “Those who drive a hybrid plug-in will benefit more from a mobile charging solution that is only half the cost of a fixed installation. The latter is only profitable if your car only has an electric motor. In addition, charging solutions must take single-phase connections into account. Over 80 percent of Belgian homes are connected to the electricity grid in this way.”
Philippe Fouyn has more tips: “Investors today are opting for a 22-kilowatt installation, even though 11 kilowatt is sufficient for current cars. After all, the price difference with installations with a lower kilowattage is negligible. However, since charging installations must last for the duration of two lease contracts, it is cheaper to choose the installation that is future-proof. After all, technological progress is so rapid that you would have to buy a new installation within four years.”
Public charging points
Anyone who is unable to charge their vehicle sufficiently at home or at work is obliged to make use of the public charging infrastructure. These charging stations are of great importance, especially for those who live in the city. The problem with public charging is that it takes too long for many drivers. An electric car takes an average of fifty minutes to charge fully. There are quick chargers that take barely ten minutes, but these are rare in Belgium and ensure that the battery doesn’t last as long. American scientists are currently working on a solution.
An extensive network of charging points is not yet in place in Belgium. Philippe Fouyn: “Belgium currently only has 10,000 charging points, while there are over 45,000 in the Netherlands. There are some new charging points every month, but we’re still a long way from being there.”Want to know more about the electrification of your fleet? check our website.
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