Dutch Council of State: there is a limit to the number of charging poles that petrol stations may install
Fastned, the European fast charging company, has received more clarity regarding the distinction between its charging stations as a basic service and the installation of charging poles as an additional service at petrol stations as a result of her appeal at the Dutch Council of State. The Council ruled that there is a limit to the number of charging poles that a petrol station may install, and that this limit may have been exceeded at the Peulwijk Oost petrol station. The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management must now determine what this limit is.
Fastned obtained permits in 2012 through a public tender procedure for the realisation and operation of charging stations as a basic service at service areas along Dutch highways. Subsequently, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management also issued permits for charging poles as an additional service at petrol stations and roadside restaurants. Fastned objects to these permits because it is not clear how many charging poles can be added to a petrol station as an additional service, and how that number is to be distributed among potentially interested parties. Earlier the Minister stated that an additional service must be subordinated to the basic service, but so far has not made clear when an additional service complies to the criteria for subordination.
Today the Dutch Council of State ruled:
“Because the distinction between basic services and additional services is important in the implementation of policy, Fastned stands correct in her argument that it must be clear when a charging station is an additional service as referred to in policy.”
“In the opinion of the Court however, the Minister has not made it sufficiently clear in a general sense how the criteria for subordination are defined. As a result, it may be insufficiently clear to potential applicants or other interested parties whether a charging pole can be added to a basic service at a highway service area as an additional service, and what the size of that additional service may be.”
This verdict requires the Minister to make clear what the maximum number of charging poles is that petrol stations are allowed to install as an additional service. More clarity on this point is of great importance to provide security to investors willing to invest in charging infrastructure on highway service areas, thereby accelerating the energy transition.
For those highway service areas where in the eyes of the Council of State the number of requested charging poles as a complimentary service is evidently subordinate to the number of petrol pumps, the permits are upheld. Where this is not evident, the Minister is instructed to reassess whether and why the criteria for subordination are met. When doing so, the Minister must take into account the total number of requested charging poles as an additional service to the petrol station, including applications from third parties. The possibility for third parties to request charging poles as an additional service at a petrol station arose as a result of an earlier ruling by the Council of State on 4 November 2020.
Fastned has been developing fast charging infrastructure for electric vehicles across Europe since 2012. Fastned’s mission is to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility by giving freedom to electric drivers. Based in Amsterdam, the company has built 159 fast charging stations in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland. Fastned is working on the expansion into France. The company specialises in developing and operating fast charging infrastructure where drivers can charge their electric vehicle with up to 300 km of range in 15 minutes before continuing their journey. Fastned is listed on Euronext Amsterdam (ticker AMS: FAST).