By creating the first charging station in Mechelen at the end of last year, the team has built up a solid first experience in setting up and servicing charging stations. Mechelen currently has 7 charging stations, each of which is equipped with 2 charging points for electric or hybrid vehicles.
The pilot project is part of the ongoing rollout of fiber, which frees up space in the street cabinets. Proximus intends to re-use this spare capacity as part of its commitment to a sustainable society. These street cabinets also provide interesting advantages. On the one hand, the existing infrastructure allows the cabinets to be easily converted into charging points: electricity is already present, which limits the excavation work. On the other hand, they are often located in attractive city centre locations, which makes it possible to provide access to residents who do not have charging infrastructure at home.
The installation of this kind of new charging points will shortly start in Oudenaarde, with 5 new charging stations planned. This is the continuation of the pilot project started in Mechelen.. In total, 25 public installations should be put in place in 2022.
According to Lydia Peeters, Flemish Minister of Mobility, there should be 100,000 (semi) public charging stations in Flanders alone by 2030. An initial analysis by Proximus shows that at least 4,000 locations in Flanders qualify, accounting for at least 8,000 public charging points. Several thousand more charging points could also be added in the rest of the country. By doing so, Proximus is following in the footsteps of similar initiatives already launched in the United Kingdom and Germany. The goal is to reach full capacity by 2028.
With its digital services and network expertise, Proximus wants to make the difference
Proximus is in advanced discussions with several potential partners who are prepared to develop a common vision for fast expansion. For this purpose, the company is not only looking for cooperation for the above-mentioned public domain, but also for parking lots in the semipublic and enterprise domain where charging-as-a-service will be offered to companies, as well as to hospitals, sports clubs, cultural centres, etc. This will enable companies to offer charging stations to their employees and customers, as well as to the general public, before and after opening hours. Proximus is in talks with various parties and the envisaged partnership should be finalised by the end of the summer.
In addition, Proximus already has several services that tie in with the charging stations narrative. With 4411, it already has a prominent presence in the mobility sector, but now also with Aug-e (joint venture with BESIX) there are several synergies to be found, including balancing energy capacity across different charging points depending on price, location or grid constraints. The pilot project in Mechelen showed that, in terms of availability of the charging points and existing digital services, the market is still in its early stages. Proximus aims to provide added value here thanks to its current ecosystem and experience as a network operator.