December 16, 2022 – Last week our local Belgian brand, Delhaize, announced that starting next year, it will install 1,800 public fast charging points for electric cars in the parking lots of its stores. In doing so, it will offer its customers an extra service and help local residents and passers-by to find a charging point nearby. By providing such a large number of fast charging points – the largest in the retail sector – and making them freely accessible to everyone 24/7, Delhaize is making the step to electric driving much easier and is actively contributing to the transition to this form of sustainable mobility. To install the charging stations, Delhaize is working with the European fast-charging specialist Electra, which is investing €100 million in this project, along with its partner EDI (Electric by D'Ieteren).
"If we want to ensure that electric driving becomes truly widespread, we need to make it as easy as possible, for example by giving motorists the opportunity to recharge their car on their driving route or, while doing their weekly shopping. A widespread and freely accessible charging network is indispensable for this and that is where we want to lead the way, with the installation of the largest fast charging network within the retail sector in Belgium," says Xavier Piesvaux, CEO of Delhaize.
With the 1,800 green-energy-operated charging points that Delhaize will install in its parking lots in the coming years, the supermarket chain wants to offer an extra service to its customers. During their shopping visit, which takes about 35 to 40 minutes on average, they can charge their electric vehicle up to 80% full via the fast charging point. In this way, Delhaize is on board with its customers, who save time by being able to combine filling up their car with shopping. A charge point can be reserved remotely in advance so that customers can be sure of their charge, and payment can be made by bank card, charge card or via the Electra application.
In addition, the charging points are also there for local residents who do not have a private charging station. They can (also outside opening hours) use ordinary, slower charging points at Delhaize car parks to charge their cars. The retailer also wants to make life easier for passers-by whose route includes a Delhaize. They can stop over, fill up and maybe do some quick shopping in the meantime. "That way we can also attract new customers. People who otherwise would not shop at Delhaize might now do so because of the convenience they experience by combining grocery shopping and filling up," Piesvaux said.
Drivers will be able to charge their cars 24 hours a day at a competitive rate. The charging stations each have a capacity of 150kW, i.e. 75 kW per charging point. To develop its fleet of fast charging stations, Delhaize is working with the young French company Electra, a specialist in fast charging of vehicles. Electra is investing more than €100 million in this project, in partnership with EDI (Electric by D'Ieteren), which wants to distinguish itself by focusing on more than just charging infrastructure available at home or in the office.
"The love that Delhaize has for good and healthy food, Electra has for mobility. We have succeeded in finding a partner where - as with us - the customer is at the center, resulting in an ease of use that other suppliers find difficult to match," Piesvaux said. "We in turn are also very happy with the cooperation," said Augustin Derville, General Manager of Electra BeLux. "We are helping thousands of Belgian drivers find a charging station in their neighborhood who can save a lot of time with this and are determined to make charging as easy as possible."
It is a very conscious decision by the retailer to install fast charging points specifically for electric cars and bring them even closer to people. In this way, it wants to help society in the important transition it is facing, namely that towards sustainable mobility. "Delhaize's ambition in terms of sustainability and reducing CO2 emissions is great," says Xavier Piesvaux. "Our sustainability program The Lions Footprint consists of numerous actions to reduce CO2 emissions as sharply as possible, among other things. All our stores are CO2 neutral, by 2050 we will have reduced our CO2 emissions by 50% and our head office and distribution centers are equipped with 330 green charging points for charging electric (company) cars. But it's not just about what we do ourselves: we believe that as a retailer we can play an important role and really encourage people to eat better, live better and now also move more sustainably."