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Possible models for the roll-out of a public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in the Brussels-Capital Region

Notes de la rédaction

This is the press release related to the article from Quentin De Clerck and Lieselot Vanhaverbeke, published on 8 November 2021. Read the article.

Climate and energy issues are in the media spotlight regularly, with the organisation of world summits, the release of scientific reports and the constant rise in fossil fuel prices. According to the European Commission, passenger cars are responsible for about 15 % of carbon dioxide emissions in Europe as well as for significant quantities of fine particles, and are among the main levers of political action to fight pollution and its environmental and health consequences in cities. In Brussels, this has been reflected in the introduction of the Low Emission Zone in 2018 and in specific objectives of the Good Move mobility plan to encourage the uptake of electric cars. But how can the vehicle fleet be transformed when charging possibilities are still limited? Where and in what timeframe should the network of charging stations be implemented in order for it to be operational and seen as a true incentive? Without reopening the debate on the validity of this political objective, the authors of the 162nd issue of Brussels Studies, Quentin De Clerck and Lieselot Vanhaverbeke (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), provide answers to these questions on the basis of modelling work for the network of terminals required and the characteristics of the demand in Brussels.

The objective announced by the Brussels-Capital Region is to reach 11 000 charging stations by 2035, which is a considerable increase compared to the few hundred stations which currently exist and which are struggling to be profitable. The electric fleet still only accounted for 3,5 % of new cars registered in Brussels in 2020 (approximately 11 % if hybrid vehicles are included). In order to organise the roll-out of charging stations and accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles, the researchers have developed two models which could be implemented simultaneously. The first is aimed at implementing an opportunity-based charging infrastructure for residents, commuters and visitors around major mobility hubs and public car parks. The second focuses on residential demand: the location of charging stations is based on the sociodemographic data regarding the inhabitants and on what is known about the demand, in order to maximise the service rate. In the second model, the implementation of the network should begin in the municipalities with the highest rate of electric vehicle uptake (Brussels-City, Ixelles, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and Uccle), and then be completed gradually and evenly throughout the region.

Quentin De Clerck and Lieselot Vanhaverbeke conclude their study by making several recommendations which put the objectives into perspective in terms of the number of charging stations, the uncertainty of estimates concerning the uptake of electric vehicles by the population (at the end of 2019, there were 6 700 registered electric vehicles, which was far from the estimated 14 000 owners) and the need to have as accurate an overview as possible of the implementation of the public charging infrastructure. However, the ambitions in terms of improving air quality and reducing pollution cannot be achieved solely by developing the electric charging network. It is also important to consider the current cost of electric vehicles for the people of Brussels, whose median income is the lowest of the three regions, and to implement the other operational objective of the Good Move plan, which is to reduce individual car ownership in the mobility of the future.

De Clerck, Quentin and Vanhaverbeke, Lieselot, “Possible models for the roll-out of a public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in the Brussels-Capital Region”, Brussels Studies [Online], General collection, No 162, 8 November 2021. URL:
Tatiana Debroux, Editor in chief:

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