City news: Ghent hopes to offer electric car charging every 500 metres

7 October 2020

For many electric vehicle owners, finding a spot to charge their batteries outside of the home can be a challenge, and even off-putting for petrol and diesel drivers looking to make the switch.

But the city of Ghent is looking to make these worries a thing of the past. With input from inhabitants, the city is looking to install a swathe of new public charging points with the hope that every Ghentian will have a place to plug in their car just a short stroll from their front door.

An extra 100 charging points will be added to the car parks of the Flemish city’s sports clubs, making the most of under-utilised space in a city where parking in the public domain is limited. Electric vehicle users will be able to user the mix of normal or fast chargers while they visit the sports clubs during the day, or overnight.

“The number of charging points is constantly increasing,” says Deputy Mayor for Mobility, Public Space and Urban Planning, Filip Watteeuw. “With this new programme an extra 100 will be added, bringing the number to about 300. This way we hope to accelerate the transition towards electric vehicles.”

The scheme is part of a push to knit a dense network of public charging points in the city. Currently, the city either pre-determines strategic locations or uses citizens’ and car-sharing organisations’ requests to find out where to install chargers. The installation of charging points in public car parks opens a third way to expand the charging network.

By 2022, the city hopes to provide a charging point for electric vehicles every 500 metres, which would translate to a walk of just over five minutes.

Providing adequate charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is becoming a larger priority as more cities commit to carbon neutrality in the coming years.

Projects such as USER-CHI hope to offer user-friendly, intuitive and economically beneficial charging solutions. The project is active in seven Eurocities members: Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Turku, Florence, Rome and Murcia.

For more information on Ghent’s electric vehicle charging ambitions, visit their website.