With a comment which might suggest history is repeating itself, “Electricity is the fuel of the future”, the Belgian Secretary of State for Mobility inaugurated the first charging post for electric cars in the country on the 17th of December, 2009. This first infrastructure access point was installed perhaps not surprisingly in the premises of a car leasing company in Zaventem. It was followed by an announcement from the McDonald’s hamburger chain that they would open a “public” charging point (the next day) linked to their fast-food outlet in the Maasmechelen shopping centre, as part of a strategy to spread out this service to their other similarly located restaurants across the country (Europe?).
Simultaneously Total Belgium also announced plans to develop points at initially 10 petrol stations, while a new petrol station company ElectraSun has introduced a charging point at one of its stations in Grobbendonk, using green energy based on solar power source.
These initiatives are strongly supported by Belgian government policy developed in recent weeks and based on the premise that promotion of new electric vehicle types can counter the problems currently being experienced in the automobile production industry (General Motors, Volvo and Ford all have plants in Belgium with GM under apparent/imminent threat of closure). The strategy appears to be, to create a performing widespread charging infrastructure network to benefit electric vehicles, as a way of ensuring that Belgium will be in the front line for location of an electric vehicle production plant.
Philip Stein, URBACT Thematic Pole Manager