More electric vehicle charging stations and improved cycle paths on the way

Summary

The Flemish mobility minister has announced a rash of new investments in roadside charging points and improved cycle infrastructure

Going green

Flanders’ Agency for Roads and Traffic (AWV) has granted permits for new electric vehicle charging points at 13 motorway service areas. Vehicles will be able to quickly charge up to 350kW using 100% sustainable electricity when the stations are opened in the coming year.

According to a study by road safety agency Vias, one in six Belgians is considering buying an electric vehicle within three years. “By expanding the number of fast charging stations for electric vehicles along the Flemish motorways, we are making it easier to drive an electric car,” said energy and mobility minister Lydia Peeters. “We support any initiative that increases confidence in electric or zero-emission driving.”

Each station will have an average of four charging points and will be open 24 hours a day. They will be placed in existing service areas on the E34, E313, E40 and E19, at Oud-Turnhout, Postel, Diepenbeek, Hoeselt, Walshoutem, Everberg and Peutie.

Zero-emissions

“These charging points mean drivers of electric vehicles in Flanders have more freedom and can travel greater distances,” Peeters said. “By providing charging infrastructure, we’re encouraging individuals and businesses to use low-carbon and zero-emissions vehicles.”

In its climate action plan, the government of Flanders aims to have 7,400 public charging points by the end of 2020, an increase of approximately 5,000. Peeters has previously said the region is on target to meet this goal.

Meanwhile, she has also announced plans to improve the quality of Flanders’ cycle paths, some of which are in a poor state of repair. The AWV’s latest Cycle Path Report show that more than half of the region’s paths don’t conform to the standards the government has set.

I want to get residents cycling more, and a good, safe infrastructure is an essential element of that

- Minister Lydia Peeters

Peeters plans to fill in the gaps in the cycle network to make it easier for people to commute by bike, whether electric or traditional. In many cases, the issue is missing cycle bridges or tunnels, which require more substantial infrastructure work.

She is also looking to identify simple, often temporary solutions, pending structural redevelopment to upgrade existing paths, such as a physical barrier between the road and the cycle path or redrawing the road around cyclists.

“I want to get residents cycling more, and a good, safe infrastructure is an essential element of that,” she said. “I foresee a growth in bicycle investments of up to €300 million during this legislature. I will invest this in high-quality cycle paths and in solving problem areas.”

Photo courtesy mobility ministry