Is Electricity 'Fuel'? Dutch Gas Stations Sue To Stop Electric-Car Charging

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Remember all that stuff we said recently about The Netherlands being a haven for electric vehicles?

Maybe knock a few degrees of conviction off that statement, as it seems not everyone in the European country is as keen on electric vehicles as some.

Companies operating regular gasoline and diesel filling stations certainly aren't keen. So much so, that NOS reports they're filing a lawsuit against the Dutch state to prevent third parties from operating charging points at freeway service station locations.

As part of the recent announcement that the country would be home to almost 250 DC quick-charge stations--none located more than 30 miles from every person in the country--provider Fastned would operate charging points at several freeway rest stops and service stations.

Energy or "fuel"?

26 service stations have filed the lawsuit, centering on whether these charging points constitute "fuel", and are therefore governed by the same regulations (and need to incur the same costs, rather than being offered space for free) as the filling stations.

If they aren't, then the stations may represent unfair competition, with service operators particularly concerned that third parties will open competing shops and reduce business.

If they are, then the location of new charging points at service stations would go against previous agreements, giving service station operators exclusive rights to charging posts.

The issue here then isn't that service stations don't want electric car charging at all--more that they don't want an increasing body of electric car owners spending their money elsewhere.

Such concerns are probably justified, but there's an element here of "the early bird catches the worm". Had existing service stations decided early on to install charging points, third party units simply wouldn't be required--and the issue of competition wouldn't even arise.

As it is, their tardiness in providing for electric vehicle users has caught them off guard by companies that will. Perhaps instances such as these will encourage other service stations to set up fast-charging points.

[Hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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