The E17 between Ghent and Antwerp seems to be the mecca for electric drivers. New signage indicates that you can charge at any car park. That will be a curse for those who drive off with an almost flat battery.
The Roads and Traffic Agency is installing new signaling signs that point the way to car parks along our highways. They tell commuters how far it is, and also what the parking has to offer. You know them: a coffee bag, a bed, a gas pump. And recently also often: an icon with an electricity cable. The latter are at 500 meters and 2 kilometers. Handy for those who need some kilowatts. However, there are no (fast) charging stations along the E17 in Gentbrugge, Waasmunster and Kruibeke, whatever the signs may say. On the route between Antwerp and Ghent you can only refuel in Kalken.
The ‘phantom icons’ will undoubtedly cause frustration among administrators in the coming weeks and months. Hello, Roads and Traffic Agency? “The signs were indeed installed recently,” says spokesperson Katrien Kiekens. “A red diagonal sticker still needs to be added. So that drivers can see that they cannot charge.” Uhm, yes. “And if fast chargers ever come into those car parks, we can remove that sticker again. Because there will be more and more of them in the near future.” When asked whether there are concrete plans for the installation of charging infrastructure at the car parks in question, the answer is “no”. Fortunately, in Waasmunster, annoyed electric drivers can eat fries as a counter-medicine.
It is not the first time that major attention has been drawn to the installation of new signaling signs. Earlier this year, the Roads and Traffic Agency was criticized by Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters (Open Vld) when signs were placed in Antwerp for the destinations Liège and Namur. “We use the language of the destination,” the Agency found. Peeters, on the other hand, believed that language legislation had to be respected.