Belgian Sparki rivals Ionity and Fastned with new supercharger network
Co-funded by the Belgian government, Sparki has opened its first supercharger stations at strategic locations near the country's highways. The rivaling startup for Ionity and Fastned aims to double the number of ultra-fast chargers in Belgium and offers 300 kW of peak power for speedy refills in roughly 15 minutes.
Sparki answers to the outlook that 30% of future EV owners living in urban areas won't be able to charge at home. Therefore, the company will complete a network of 200 ultrafast chargers by the end of the year, adding to the exact existing number, often in the vicinity of city centres—the first five open up to the public this week. Customers can refill 100 kilometres in 5 minutes, according to the company.
"Currently driven by corporate cars, the Belgian car fleet will feature 2 million EVs by the decade's end. Sparki will help them offer an appropriate charging solution," said Laurent De Meester, CEO of Sparki.
No preferential rates
Instead of the highway resting areas preferred by Ionity, Fastned and Tesla, Sparki partners with fueling station groups and other associates, which can provide the suitable locations. Not needing the real-estate investment, this accelerates the break-even point for the startup. Also businesses from outside the energy sector can step into a partnership with Sparki.
The stations feature Siemens' latest high-end charging technology capable of recharging 10-80% of the battery's capacity in 15 to 20 minutes. It handles peak powers of 300 kW, though these can't be matched by any regular BEV currently on the European market. Cars up to the job are fleet exotics like the Lucid Air (300 kW) and Porsche Taycan/Audi E-Tron GT (268 kW).
Customers pay a rate of 0.68 euro cents per kWh, on a par with Fastned and a little cheaper than Ionity. However, Sparki doesn't offer a subscription service which usually halves those tariffs. "We are currently looking into that", adds Filip Vautmans, cofounder of Sparki. For payment methods, a dedicated app is indispensable. But soon, credit cards will be added for occasional users.
To boost the ambitions of Sparki, the Belgian government holds a minority stake in the startup. The first station, in Deinze, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who also pointed out that Belgium is a trailblazer in the production of offshore renewable electricity. "Having the cars and the infrastructure is not enough", said De Croo, “The provided energy must be green also, and Belgium is top of the world in that progress.” Sparki has no expansion plans beyond Belgium.
Image Source: Sparki