Fastned, the Dutch charging company is making headways in supporting electric vehicles (EV) in Europe. It recently announced a new generation of EV charging units which are capable of up to 350kW. The first Fastned fast charging station is located along the A8 highway near Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The fast charging units were developed by ABB. In the UK, these are called rapid charging stations, and can power up an EV to run up to 500 km of range in 15 minutes of charging. This is around 100 times faster than home charging. Fastned admitted that the new fast charging stations are in anticipation of the next generation EVs from Jaguar, Audi, Hyundai and other car manufacturers which would have large batteries and longer range.
Fastned is already implementing ways to attract new customers. Their new station designs incorporate wood and a high roof for driver visibility. In addition, the roof has glass solar panels enabling it to generate additional energy off the grid. The fast charging is another feature which Fastned implemented to attract more customers.
According to Fastned co-founder Bart Lubbers, “It’s very important to increase the charging speed because it makes driving EVs attractive to more people. The question that almost every consumer asks is, ‘How long does it take to charge?’
Fast Charging to Change People’s Minds
Slow charging has been cited as a reason for the slow adoption of EVs. People are used to the fast fuel loading of fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel or liquefied natural gas. First generation charging stations are capable of up to 50kW charging. Considering the smaller batteries of current vehicles, these can have up to 80% capacity after 50 minutes of charging.
Tesla is the most famous EV car brand in the market today. The company is one of the most aggressive startups offering EV cars only. However, almost all the major car brands have their sights on releasing their own EV cars in 2018 or 2019. In most instances, the car manufacturers are skipping selling hybrid cars and going straight to EV. The first generation of EV cars was designed from the ground up to be EV. In contrast, the EV cars expected to come out of Jaguar are all EV versions of their venerable models. They are jumping wholeheartedly into the EV market.
The EV market started off slowly due to the lack of charging stations, as well as due to slow charging. The number of charging stations has been steadily increasing. The next hurdle is the charging speed. With the 350kW charging capacity, drivers would not need to wait too long for their vehicles to get charged. In addition, vehicles which have larger battery capacity are assured that they can power up much faster than before.
In a related development, Fastnet will open a charging station in Newcastle and Sunderland. The company had recently won a tender allowing them to build in the two cities. The tender was approved by the UK’s North East Combined Authority (NECA).
The Fastned presence in Newcastle has a bold impact as the company will also be working the Newcastle University researchers in a study on the effect of EV charging on electric grids. The same study will also look at the possibility of using EVs as battery for the local grid during off-peak hours.
The stations will sport the iconic Fastned charging high clearance roof, as well as six chargers, two of which are rapid charging 175kW (350kW enabled) chargers.
If plans succeed, faster charging and more charging stations will hopefully be enough to convince people to make the switch to electric vehicles.