The Belgian government has made some drastic decisions over the past year when it comes to our vehicle fleet. They are betting heavily on electric cars, which of course presents some challenges. Rolling out these initiatives are technically feasible, but will require a major effort, including from companies. How can your company capitalize on this?
The current situation
As of August 1, 2021 , there were 40,851 electric cars registered in Belgium, or about 0.69% of our total fleet. This figure will have already risen but the explosion in enrollment is currently yet to occur. When we know that only electric cars will be allowed to be registered starting in 2029, another evolution awaits us.
Currently, our electricity grid can handle the current number of cars, but a sudden growth in electric cars could overload this grid. At network manager Fluvius, they tell us that this evolution can be perfectly absorbed by our electricity network, given a few efforts. Björn Verdoodt says the following: “Of course, it’s not a new story either. We are already in the midst of modernizing the power grid today.”
At energy and fuel supplier DATS 24, they are more critical. They feel the difference between reality and perception. “Sharing accurate and realistic information with businesses and citizens is essential. This is a task for industry, but also for government. Today this is somewhat lacking,” shares Raf Flebus, Business Unit Manager of DATS 24. “We are convinced that all those who are given the right insights will consciously choose a cleaner car.”
How is Belgium responding to these changes?
Clearly, our power grid needs to undergo some changes. Politicians have decided that commercial vehicles must all be electric starting in 2026. Also, starting in 2029, only electric vehicles can be registered. “That is why we are currently working on a plan of action that will map out how we intend to address that expected acceleration” explains Verdoodt of Fluvius.
Until the end of last year, Fluvius’ investment plan envisioned 1 million electric cars by 2030. However, this plan will have to be updated. Far more than 1 million electric cars will be included in the Belgian fleet. Therefore, Fluvius will accelerate the pace of investment.
“The success of evolution over the next few years hinges on how we as a society deal with the power grid” explains Verdoodt. Not all electric cars in Belgium will be able to charge at the same time. Verdoodt told that we should not count on this either and that this is not within Fluvius’ goal. They want to bet on the digital meter and the new capacity tariff, coupled with intelligent software. In this way, they want to be able to spread electricity consumption sufficiently. According to them, this way, as a society, we can reduce the cost of that investment.
What will our consumption look like? Fluvius estimates that about 70% of all charging will be done at home. DATS 24 estimates this share to be lower, at about 60%. But so both agree that home charging will be most popular.
However, this cannot count for everything. People who live in a city, for example, will not be able to charge at home as easily. Therefore, it is necessary that there will be a sufficient number of public charging stations. These will have to accommodate about 10 – 20% of all charging. The government currently has a goal of installing 30,000 public charging stations by 2025. However, this goal seems far off today.
The remaining electric car charging will be taken up by companies. Semi-public charging stations will be needed to support this ecological turnaround. How can your company capitalize on this?
How can your company capitalize on this change?
Semi-public charging stations will play an important role in the transition to an electric vehicle fleet. It is estimated that about 20% of charging slots will be filled in this way. Charging stations in business parks or supermarket parking lots also seem to be accelerating. Colruyt Group already announced that they will work with DATS 24 to triple the number of charging points in store parking lots in one year. So they will go from 340 to 1,000 semi-public charging points.
Since from 2026 all commercial vehicles will have to be electric, it may be smart for your company to bet on this evolution. By providing some semi-public charging stations for your employees, you can help reduce the strain on our electricity grid.
With the upcoming capacity fee, this may also be financially interesting. When you give your staff the opportunity to charge the car while they are at work, you can help reduce the peaks of electricity consumption. When you know that 10% of the distribution costs will be charged on when you cause spikes in the power grid, this can be financially interesting.