Council vetoes grey charging stands

Electric car company says it is uneconomical to change the colour of charging stands depending on specific council requirements


Frederiksberg Council has vetoed electric car charging stands by the company Better Place for being the wrong colour.

Customers of electric cars that use the Better Place charging system also purchase a personal charging stand for their car. But the mass-produced grey and blue charging stands violate Frederiksberg Council’s aesthetic policy that dictates outdoor equipment must be the colour green in order to be installed on the street.

Jan E. Jørgensen, chairman of Frederiksberg’s technical and environment committee, told Urban newspaper it was up to Better Place to adhere to the aesthetic regulations.

“We set these demands on city infrastructure, regardless of whether they are bicycle stands and charging stands, in order to avoid that the city becomes one big mess of colours,” he said. “Better Place won’t offer customers green charging stands because, according to them, it is not economical. They want us to look like silly bureaucrats. But we are very excited about electric cars. They just have to follow the same guidelines as everyone else.”

According to Better Place, Frederiksberg is the only council to object to the charging stands. And despite a special dispensation of three stands placed outside Forum during fashion week, the council refuses to back down on private stands for residents placed in public.

“Putting the colour of a charging station over a clean city environment, with less noise and particle pollution, is beyond me,” Claus Melvej from Better Place told The Copenhagen Post, adding it was a question of economy.

“It is not possible for us to accommodate their demand. Our charging stands are produced for an international roll-out,” Melvej said. “Delivering charging stands in 98 different colors would not make the solution an affordable one and could impede the transition toward sustainable methods of transportation. That's hardly in anyone’s interest.”

Better Place is a company that provides the charging system for electric cars, such as the Renault Fluence ZE which is currently the only car available in Denmark compatible with the system.

While customers can charge the car overnight by plugging into their personal charging stand, journeys that exceed the 160km range of the car are routed via battery swap stations that can install a fresh battery in the car in under five minutes.

Customers subscribe to a monthly payment scheme for the system, with customers supplied with electricity sourced, as much as possible, from renewable resources.

Denmark was chosen by the company to be a proving ground for the system, with Europe’s first battery swap station opening in Gladsaxe this June and another 19 stations planned to open across the country over the next year.