At most as a supporting role
Don’t be surprised if the highway gas station you drive past every day suddenly changes color in the coming weeks. There has been another auction of such locations, which, according to RTL, have one thing in common: it is only possible to a limited extent for the pump owners to operate fast charging stations themselves.
Fuel locations along highways are auctioned in clusters. The highest bidder often pays many millions to operate such a location for fifteen years, although there are regulations in place that make it relatively affordable and therefore easy for the existing concessionaire to extend the award once during the first round. The market will then be completely open again for the next operator.
RTL concludes that there is little evidence of the electrification of the vehicle fleet at this auction. This is because the pump owners are not allowed to install their own fast chargers or only to a limited extent. These chargers may only play a supporting role in the entire concept, because fuel refueling must play the leading role at such a location. Charging can often be done at the same rest location, but with chargers from companies such as Fastned or Ionity. Chargers from Shell Recharge or BP Pulse are of course available, but are not allowed to play the leading role in many places.
“There is a tough battle going on between charging station operators and the tank world,” Wiebe Alzerda Winkel of the advisory body BZO Petrol Stations told RTL. “The charging station companies want charging and refueling to be separated, the gas stations want to combine it.”
This battle regularly leads to lawsuits. For example, in 2021 there was a lot of buzz about Shell station Peulwijk-Oost along the A4 near Wateringen. Shell received a permit for four fast charging stations there, but this was revoked by the Council of State after a complaint from Fastned. The reason: there were only six regular fuel pumps in front of the four fast chargers, so that, according to the Council, those four chargers could not be seen as ‘additional’. More about this case you can read in the AD.
– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl