Holland To Have World's Largest Electric-Car Fast-Charging Network

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ABB Group's 'Fastned' fast charging stations

ABB Group's 'Fastned' fast charging stations

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With the rate at which automakers are releasing new plug-in vehicles, the "chicken and egg" issue of whether cars or public charging points or the cars should debut first is much less of an issue than it was just two or three years ago.

Even so, abundant public charging can't hurt--and any country which provides ample fast charging will inevitably cultivate increased electric car ownership.

The Netherlands is one of those countries. It's soon to have the world's largest electric vehicle fast charging network, courtesy of power and utility company ABB.

By the time the network of highway-located 'Fastned' fast charging stations is complete, more than 245 stations will be spread throughout the country.

The goal is to have a fast charger within 30 miles of all the country's 16.7 million inhabitants--and that's fast chargers alone, with regular Level 2 charging points common in many European cities.

With schemes such as this, it's unsurprising that The Netherlands is one of Europe's most electric car-friendly countries--or that companies such as Tesla Motors are basing their European operations there.

The Netherlands' efforts certainly put those in the U.S. to shame. While there are more than 6,000 public charging points in the U.S, only 150 or so of those are fast chargers, capable of delivering a full charge in 15-30 minutes.

However, ABB says the lessons learned in Europe may benefit similar roll-outs in the States, particularly with regard to the different software of individual electric vehicles, how that works with charging networks, and how customers are billed at chargers where a fee is required.

The roll-out is also a little different in Europe to that of the U.S. In European countries, charger networks are often orchestrated as part of nationwide schemes, while U.S. networks often begin in cities and then radiate outwards, joining up along "electric highways".

This does leave some areas of the U.S. with fewer charging options than others, though the U.S. West Coast and the North East regions, where EV adoption is highest, are currently the best-supplied with charging networks.

For the time being though, The Netherlands will be top of the pile when it comes to electric car fast charging.

Whether we'll see the quirky yellow-arched Fastned stations in the U.S. is a different matter--another company getting into electric car charging on its premises already has a claim to that one...


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Comments (13)
  1. I'll get my Zoe monday. Whoohoo!

    Let 'em coming.

  2. Anthony,
    Are these DCFCs ChaDEmo, Combo, or twin tailed with both types of cables on each DCFC station?

  3. ABB only makes one fast charger, the Terra 51 Charging Station. It is a CHAdeMO unit with up to 50kW DC output.

  4. Not true Mike - ABB also has a 20 kW fast charger, and has tested Combo with GM and BMW - and the combo is already launched in Europe.

  5. I was going on info from their site, which only includes commercially available units. This is from their press release:
    "Each of the more than 200 Fastned stations along Dutch highways will be equipped with several multi-standards fast chargers, such as the 50 kilowatt (kW) Terra 52 and Terra 53 models, capable of charging electric vehicles in 15-30 minutes."
    "ABB's multi-standard design supports all fast-charging standards and protocols such as CCS and CHAdeMO. This is critical to maintain compatibility between rapidly evolving cars and chargers in the years to come, and will allow Fastned to maintain a reliable service and to upgrade its network as the technology evolves."

  6. The story behind the story?! ;)

    The lady on the picture by the i3 is on the phone, probably desperately trying to get that ABB station activated. Of course the two chicken gentlemen stand aside at a safe distance and could not be bothered helping with activating the charger.

    The SparkEV probably gave up all together and is leaving to find another working station.

    The other i3 in the distance parked on the side of the road looks like has ran out of charge. The driver is probably cursing himself for not getting the REx.

    In the meantime Fastned is getting sued by McDonalds for stealing half of their golden arches.

    Ah, the more things change... ;)

  7. It's great that complete networks of fastchargers are rolled out like this but only if they can offer 20-30 minute/80% recharging to all vehicles that are on the market. The Fastned charging stations however with their 50KW output are only suitable for small city car batteries like the Nissan Leaf's but are woefully inadequate to service cars with serious range batteries like the Model S.

    They are basically instantly obsolete yet taking up space along highways that can no longer be used for installing charging points that could service EVs with the sort of range people really want.

    Looks like in the Netherlands too Tesla will have to build its own network with the Fastnet network just another obstacle to overcome.

  8. Actually a 50kW charger will supply almost the same amount of miles to a Tesla in 20 minutes as it would to a Nissan LEAF. So it would be as useful to the Tesla driver as it would to the LEAF driver. The difference is that the Tesla driver can stay a bit longer (for example if they are grabbing a bite to eat) and then miss the next charging station or two, whereas the LEAF driver doesn't have the capacity to do that.

  9. 50 miles of extra range in 20 minutes is great for the city EVs, but inadequate for Model S that was designed with long distance highway cruising in mind. That's not really a practical option if one has to charge for more than one hour for every 2 hours of travel.

  10. Interesting that a BMW i3 and a Chevy SparkEV are used in that picture...

  11. I'd love to tour the electric vehicle landscape of The Netherlands, but think I'll stay in Oregon. One out of five DC quick charging stations in the U.S. is installed here. Most Portland General Electric customers are within 20 miles of a quick charger. And where's the most successful renewable power program in the U.S.? According to the EPA, it's in Oregon.

  12. Especially since people can't pump their own gas, "pumping" your own electric juices is a plus in my book.

    Is Oregon going to change the law and require an attendant for DC quick charging?

    I am suprised that they haven't tried one yet...

  13. This is so great, i shared the link on my Car blog https://www.facebook.com/ElectricCarsUnlimited great write up

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