Is electricity a Fuel? Should electric vehicle charging stations be located next to gasoline stations? Recently Fastned and ABB announced a large fast charging network to be built throughout the Netherlands. It will be the largest yet nation-scale electric car fast charging network, comprising over 200 such stations which will put them within 50 kilometers of each of the Netherlands residents.
It was exciting to learn of the plan (see Netherlands getting largest yet national electric car fast charging network and The Business Model for Solar-Powered Electric Car Charging). Especially because the stations will combine solar panels with the charging stations.
However not everyone was so excited.
Fastned had gained permission from the Netherlands government to locate the charging stations along major highways, apparently at normal highway stops where gas stations are located.
26 service stations along the highway system have filed suit to block the plan. One of the points is the question of “whether electricity is or is not fuel.” Seriously. Yes, obviously, when it’s used in a car electricity is a fuel. Presumably there’s a definition somewhere in existing agreements these service stations operate under that govern who can supply fuel?
Another fear these service stations have is whether Fastned will expand beyond providing charging services, to also include a “shop” for selling snacks and other stuff you need during a road trip.
Basically, it appears the existing service stations are afraid of competition from Fastned. To which we say, the existing service station operators could embrace the future and be the ones operating the electric car charging stations. Instead they’re taking the role of obstructionist.
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