The other day I wrote about growth in electric car sales in Romania (up 165% from 2017 to 2018), and happened to include pictures from the Kaufland Barbu Văcărescu EV Charging location in Bucharest. Yesterday Kaufland held, at that same location what it calls the “Inauguration” of “the first fast hub for electric cars in Romania and Eastern Europe. It is located in the Kaufland shop on Barbu Văcărescu Street, no. 120-144 in Bucharest.”
According to the press release:
The Hub offers the possibility of simultaneous loading of 6 electric vehicles, the novelty and the main benefit of which is that 3 of them will be able to load quickly, at a power of maximum 50kW. In this way, most electric models present on the Romanian market will be able to reach 80% of the battery capacity in less than an hour. In addition to fast charging stations, there are 3 semi-fast loading points with a power of 22kW.
Since this is essentially an announcement about opening a charging station location – what’s the big deal? It’s that Kaufland and Renovatio are making this big claim, that it’s the first fast charging “hub” in Romania and Eastern Europe. They don’t clearly say what is meant by “fast charging hub” but reading between the lines it seems to mean a location with multiple charging stations, and multiple charging options. Since I happen to have been to the site the other day, let me evaluate the claim.
The location is at the far edge of the Kaufland parking lot, next to Strada Barbu Văcărescu, meaning it is far from the Kaufland building. The facilities are 3 fast charging stations. (See PlugShare entry) I’m surprised by this since fast charging equipment is usually installed next to a building to minimize the distance high-power electrical wiring must be run. The press release also mentions 3 level 2 charging stations.
According to PlugShare listings there is one charging station installed closer to the Kaufland building. Of the three fast charging stations, two are Efacac units with three cords – CHAdeMO, Combo Charging Systems, and type 2 Mennekes outlet. The charging rate on that third outlet is not clear, but the press release did talk about a 22 kW charging rate. I did not go to the Kaufland building to see what was there.
It’s also clear from the PlugShare listings that these stations have been visited repeatedly since early September. It’s not clear how Kaufland decided that yesterday should be the “inauguration” of stations that have been in use for nearly 2 months. But, what they hey, they got some visibility and it appears they had quite an event yesterday with a couple dozen electric cars showing up.
What they’ve built is a facility with multiple co-located fast charging stations. I’ve reviewed, using PlugShare, other fast charging stations around Bucharest and this is, as of this writing, the largest number of stations at one location. That’s surely how they qualify this as the “first fast charge hub for electric cars in Romania and Eastern Europe.” The location is on a major road on the north side of Bucharest. It is widely recognized that side of Bucharest is more modern and higher per-capita income than other parts of the city.
Kaufland is a major grocery store chain across Romania.
Over the last couple years Kaufland in particular has established fast charging locations at over 20 of its locations across Romania. Their stations form a corridor reaching from Constanta (on the Black Sea coast), through Bucharest, to Timisoara and Arad near the border with Hungary.
In building these locations Kaufland is partnering with the Renovatio Group. Their representative is quoted saying: “Making load hubs for electric vehicles is part of the Renovatio strategy for developing urban infrastructure in major cities. In this way, we try to cover the needs of those who operate at a fast pace, for which reduced load times are a priority. The infrastructure of charging stations in transit areas is as important as in urban areas to stimulate mass adoption of electric vehicles. Through the FastSEE project, co-funded by the European Union through the CEF Transport program, Renovatio will cover with rapeseed and ultra-fast loading stations, two of the main corridors of the pan-European transport network TEN-T that transits our country by the end of the year 2020. Many locations are chosen based on partnership with Kaufland Romania.“Said Alexandru Teodorescu, Managing Partner of Renovatio Group
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