Courtesy of Interpark

Brussels Airport Adding 700 Level 2 Chargers In Quest For Zero Emissions Operations

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Brussels airport has a plan to make all its vehicles electrified by 2025. That means it will need lots more EV chargers to keep all those vehicles powered up and ready to perform critical services. It also wants to meet the needs of drivers with electric cars who want to charge their vehicles when they patronize the airport. In conjunction with Interparking, one of the largest car park operators in Europe, Brussels airport is adding 700 new EV chargers to its parking lots.

500 of those chargers will be in public parking lots P1 and P3 in front of the main entrance to the airport and another 200 will be installed in areas where vehicles involved in airport operations are kept. When all of them are connected and made operational, Brussels airport will have a total of 750 EV chargers available, about 6% of the more than 13,000 parking spaces at the airport. 6% may not seem like a lot, but it is a higher percentage than most other airports.

Brussels Airport Caters To The Needs Of Electric Car Drivers

That’s all well and good if you are a traveler with an electric car, but what if you are gone for a few days or a few weeks, frolicking in St. Tropez or Bimini on holiday? Usually when charging is complete, the car needs to be moved within a certain amount of time to avoid additional charges. That’s not the case at Brussels airport.

Interparking says not to worry, gentle travelers. “Optimized for long-term parking, these slow charge stations are a perfect match for cars that are left stationary for multiple days or weeks while the owner is traveling. There are no additional fees for parking at these charging stations even after the charging process is complete,” Interparking wrote on its website. The charging process itself can be activated with “any charging card.” The company also says there is no connection charge if a customers makes use of its proprietary Pcard+.

“At Interparking, we are committed to contributing to a greener mobility. The addition of these charging points at Brussels Airport is just a fraction of our ambitious project: to extensively roll out electric charging stations in Belgium and in the 8 other European countries we serve,” says Roland Cracco, CEO of Interparking,

When Slow EV Chargers Are Fast Enough

Sharpeyed readers will note the use of the phrase “slow charge stations.” We don’t know, but we presume these chargers use normal line voltage, which is 240 volts throughout Europe, and are relatively low power, perhaps 20 amps or so. For most cars, it might take 12 hours or more to recharge the battery if it starts at 20% SOC or below, but if you are traveling overnight or longer, who cares how long it takes to get to 80% or whatever you set your charging preferences to?

The beauty of this plan is that low power chargers cost less than high power chargers and require fewer and less costly upgrades to the wiring. Everybody wins. People get the charging they need and the company can stretch the budget it has to install charging equipment as far as possible. More chargers, more happy travelers.

It’s brilliant and highlights an important consideration when planning how to implement the EV revolution — supplying the chargers needed for the situation. Everybody thinks there needs to be DC fast chargers on every street corner, but that’s not so. Low power chargers are perfectly fine in most cases and will increase the supply of available chargers more quickly because they cost less to purchase and install.

None of the new charging stations are in operation yet. The Interparking team is currently finalizing the cabling and technical installation. The 700 new charging stations will be gradually placed in service over the coming months.

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The Brussels Airport Sustainability Plan

“Electric mobility is an integral part of Brussels Airport’s sustainability strategy,” explains Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport. “All our passengers are already transported on tarmac in electric busses and we are fully electrifying our own company fleet. Overall, the number of electric cars is growing, so the need for charging points increases as well. Providing the necessary infrastructure for our passengers and staff is therefore a priority. Thanks to our partner Interparking, passengers will be able to recharge their vehicles in our car parks while on holiday.”

Interparking offers drivers the ability to book a parking space at any of its locations across Europe and know it will be available when they arrive, instead of driving around and around, frantically looking for a space. Founded in Belgium, Interparking today offers 1,001 sites in Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, and the Netherlands. It also operates more than 400 car parks in Germany and Austria under the Contipark brand.

The Takeaway

This is all good news. Recently we reported on how the Stuttgart airport is electrifying its ground support fleet by adding a battery-electric Mercedes eEconic heavy duty pumper truck to refuel commercial aircraft.

“We are delighted that our locally carbon neutral eEconic is in demand for an increasing number of applications and is now being used with a tank body for the first time,” said Franziska Cusumano, the head of Mercedes Benz Special Trucks. “As an all electric truck, it will help reduce emissions in ground handling operations at Stuttgart Airport.”

Cleaning up emissions for the airplanes is critical to lowering total emissions for the transportation sector. While automaker and car dealers in the US are howling about how the EV revolution is moving too fast for their liking, the Earth continues to warm rapidly, putting billions of people and millions of species at risk. Sorry if that is inconvenient for those who want to go on pretending it’s 1962 when the most important thing on everyone’s mind was what the new cars would look like when they came out in September.

Interpark and Brussels airport should be congratulated for moving swiftly and decisively to address the needs of electric car drivers. 6% of available spaces with an EV charger may not be enough, but it is better than the 50 total EV chargers that were available before this expansion took place. In the fight to lower global carbon emissions, we should celebrate any and all advances.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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