When the Coronavirus pandemic started, Fastned did temporize the roll-out of new charging stations. It did not stop the search for new locations. Just like the public did not stop buying BEVs while the sales of fossil fuel vehicles plunged.
Fastned has started building new charging stations in volume again. At the end of 2020 there were 131 Fastned stations. In Q1 it added 3 stations, and in Q2 there were 7 new stations. Q3 started with the first two highway stations in Belgium and the long overdue conversion of the first batch of 11 Mr. Green stations to Fastned stations.
Unless I missed a station, Fastned is now at 153 stations, mostly along highways. The Netherlands is mostly covered, but it could use another hundred stations to make traveling more comfortable and fill in the last blank spots. In Northern Belgium, aka Flanders, it has the locations along the highways to offer freedom of travel and attract regular customers. In the rest of Europe, the hunt for locations is on.
Recently I visited Berlin and Poland in my Zoe. Reaching Berlin was no problem thanks to the Fastned stations along the way. Poland was a nightmare. But those stories are for another article.
Living in an area (Netherlands) with a high density of Fastned stations made me a Fastned gold member, and made Fastned the cheapest charging option for me. I pass by the Shell ReCharge, Allego, and Ionity stations because they can not offer me Plug & Charge and the Fastned prices. Abroad I receive the same benefits at Fastned stations.
This experience showed me the dual extension policy Fastned should follow. I (and all the other Dutch FastNed regulars) need it to have stations along all the main routes in Europe. Not only on the route to Berlin, but to Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, Milan, and even to Athens. To get regular customers like me, Fastned needs to offer a high density network like it has in the Netherlands and soon in Flanders — ideally doing both at the same time. Building long distance route to enable traveling and building a dense network in high population areas to get repeat customers.
In practice Fastned has to make do with the locations it finds.
Full disclosure, I am not only a Fastned Gold Member but also a shareholder.
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
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