The charging infrastructure, or better, the lack of charging infrastructure, is a major barrier to the adoption of electric driving in most of the world. Only Tesla, Fastned in the Netherlands, and Greenway in Poland and Slovakia have constructed networks that allow electric cars to travel far from home. These examples are being pursued by Electrify America, Ionity, and several other recent initiatives.
Slow AC chargers in metropolitan areas are the priority of most charging networks and businesses. Those are excellent without home charging for the EV user. However, no fast-charging network is an incidental 50 kW DC charger. With multiple chargers per station, a fast-charging network has stations along the highways. It was appropriate in 2014 to have to wait an hour because the charger was occupied. In 2020, it is not acceptable any more.
On the environment and the position of clean transport, Roland Schüren, the owner of Ihr Bäcker Schürer, a chain of 20 bakeries around Hilden, south of Düsseldorf in North Rhine-Westphalia, has an opinion about the environment and the role of clean transport. Natural gas drives the vans that deliver its goods. The fleet was joined in 2018 by the first fully electric Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. He has a charging station with 16 chargers in front of his main website. Most are AC chargers at level 2 and three are 50kW CCS / CHAdeMO charging stations + easy chargers at 43kW AC.
He decided, recently, that he should do better. He invited Fastned and Tesla to create in the Rhine-Ruhr region a large charging station next to the interchange of two major highways (3 and 46). In addition to his initiative and the site, his commitment was to create a café / bistro to give clients a place to find the necessary restroom, snacks, a meal, and a place to sit warm and dry. For many EV travelers, the lovely Beanery Seet & Greed will become a famous spot.
If it was located there, the Rhine-Ruhr region would be the second largest metropolitan area in the USA. In total, the many cities that make up this area where 13 million people live. This is a charging desert in contrast to the Netherlands or California.
What many have been waiting for is this joint charging park with 28 chargers (prepared to expand to 60). If any indication is given in the first days, the option to put more chargers in would soon be used.
There was a buzz about a month ago that non-Tesla drivers in Europe would charge Tesla Superchargers for free. But it was a bug which has now been removed. For its Superchargers in Germany, Tesla has faced permitting problems. Superchargers in Germany. All public Superchargers must cater to all electric vehicles, at least when they have a standard (CCS) charging port. Tesla has tried to place a fence around its charging stations, to no avail.
Now it seems like a deal is in place. Tesla is placing free chargers at its charging stations in Germany for non-Tesla drivers. That’s great for the drivers who bought cars from the competition, but not what you really want as a business. It is better for Tesla to co-locate with a charging provider that can service the non-Tesla customers.
There is a large overlap between what Tesla aims to do, and what Fastned is envisioning. Both intend to build a network that enables traveling. Fastned will also replace the role of gas stations in part for EV drivers, an easy way to quickly charge your vehicle. Tesla is placing large stations along the main routes. Fastned is building a denser, more intricate net with more but smaller stations.
Fastned is looking for places to open stations. Tesla could use a partner that can service all clients. This initial co-production by Backer Schürer, Fastned, and Tesla is one of a kind. However, it does not need to stay that way. This looks like a match made in heaven.
Together, Tesla and Fastned, will make a valuable contribution to the highway administrations in various European countries, thus raising the possibility of securing a license to operate on or near the highway.
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