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Why can the costs differ for similar charging sessions?

There are several reasons for this.

Charge point owners differ
Each charge point owner can set their own charging fee for their charge point. So, the costs of charging sessions may vary from one charge point to another. Blue Corner protects the driver by setting limits on charge point fees. For all Blue Corner charge points, you pay the same fee that was agreed upon in your subscription.

The connection fee differs
In many places, you pay a fee (usually per minute) for the time you are docked while the car is not charging. This is called a connection fee. This is because the number of public charge points is still limited and a non-charging car is occupying the space preventing others from using the service. At Blue Corner charge points, you always pay €0.01 per minute, except in the evening and at night.

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What is Smart Charging?

If you have several charge points and/or charging systems, the power you need can be considerable. You can use Blue Corner for Smart Charging to keep this within limits. In brief, we ensure that you use a limited amount of the total power to charge your electric cars optimally without ever exceeding that total power (that would otherwise cause irksome consequences).

What is Load Balancing?
Load balancing is the simplest form of Smart Charging. If you have multiple charge points, we can use load balancing to ensure that the available power is distributed evenly across the charge points that are currently being charged. To give a simple example, suppose you have 22 kW of power available and two installed charge points. If one car is charging, it has access to the full 22 kW. If a second car is docked, the Load Balancing system switches to 11 kW per charge point.

What is a Charge Network Controller (CNC)?
If you have multiple charge points on site, it is possible for all of the charge points to be managed remotely by communicating with the Blue Corner platform with one modem. So, the first charge point is a fully communicating (smart) charge point and the others (cheaper charge points without a modem) are linked to it. This saves on your monthly data subscription costs and all charge points can be managed and set up centrally. We call the first charger a Charge Network Controller. It is not only capable of streamlining all communications, it also has advanced Smart Charging capabilities that can intelligently control all charge points (both those on the Smart Charger and those on other chargers).

What is Dynamic Load Balancing (DLB)?
Dynamic Load Balancing offers a perfect solution when the available power for your charge points is highly dependent on the other power consumption (at home or at work). By constantly monitoring the other power consumption, the total power for the charge points is adjusted at all times so that the maximum power at your location is never exceeded!

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What is the difference between AC charging and DC charging?

DC – Direct current (= rapid charging): To charge a car with direct current (DC), a transformer station is needed to convert alternating current (AC) from the mains supply to direct current. This is a costly affair that requires a considerable amount of power from the mains network (approx. 125 A).
With direct current charging, the charger that is always in the car is not used. A battery is always direct current (DC), so the current is connected directly to the battery. This charging must occur carefully. If a battery cell gets too hot, it risks irreparable damage.

AC – Alternating current (= slow charging): In Europe, we use alternating current (AC) for user connections and have a three-phase network available. This is fine for charging electric vehicles. In most locations, we can get 32 A (22 kW) and sometimes even 63 A (43 kW) for charging. If your car’s charger can handle it, a 20-kW battery (average car) is 80% charged within 25 minutes.
AC (alternating current) charging is preferred due to the high cost of purchase, installation, and use. This will continue to be the most popular charging method in the future. DC (direct current) charging will only be efficient when travelling long distances without (longer) stopovers.

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What is the difference between kW & kWh?

1 kilowatt is 1,000 watts. The unit watt is a measurement of power and a kilowatt is 1,000 watts of power. This is a measure of energy density – the greater the power, the more energy can be transferred.
Kilowatt hour (kWh) is the measure of the energy content/battery capacity of your car. You can calculate the charging time for a full battery by dividing the battery capacity of your car by the charging capacity of your charge point.

Example: You drive a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with a battery capacity of 12kWh and want to charge at a single-phase 3.7 kW charge point.

Battery capacity 12 kW / 3.7 kW charging capacity = 3 hours and 15 minutes charging for a full battery.

When charging a battery (of any kind), a special phenomenon occurs: the last 20% of the battery is topped up with so-called trickle charging. That is slow charging to retain the high-quality of the battery.

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How much does public charging cost?

To answer this question, we must make a distinction between two situations:

The charge point is owned by Blue Corner
The charge point is not owned by Blue Corner

A charge point is owned by Blue Corner

The Blue Corner network is expanding every day. So, you it is quite likely you will charge at one of our charge points. In so, you always pay the rates that are listed in your subscription. Look here for the different formulas!

A charge point is not owned by Blue Corner

Both our location partners and other operators may charge their own fees. We pass this rate on to our customers one-to-one – however, there is a roaming surcharge per charging session. The amount of which depends on the type of subscription you have.

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What are the types of cables and plugs?

A charging cable has two contact points (plugs), one for the vehicle and the other for the charge point. The speed of charging depends on the charge point and the vehicle capabilities. Two different types of plugs and power sockets have been developed to charge an electric car. Currently, the Japanese and (most) American brands have a Type 1 socket and all European brands a Type 2 socket. In Europe, the Type 2 socket is the official standard, which is why all (public) charge points are equipped with this type of socket.

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What is the difference between single-phase and three-phase charge points?

Single-phase – 3.7 kW or 7.4 kW:

A single-phase charge point uses a standard 230 V connection and has 16 A or 32 A current per power socket. So, the maximum charging capacity per power socket is 7.4 kW (with 16 A, you get 3.7 kW). A single-phase connection is the minimum everyone has, so you certainly have one as well!

Three-phase – 11 kW or 22 kW:

A three-phase charge point uses three 400 V (power current) and has 16 A or 32 A current per power socket. So, the maximum charging capacity per power socket is 22 kW (with 16 A, you get 11 kW). If you do not have a three-phase connection, you can usually request an extension from the grid operator. The name and phone number of your grid operator can often be found on your grid meter. Don’t have one? No problem, you can find your grid operator directly using your postcode.

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Charging for businesses

A Blue Corner charge point with your business identity

Blue Corner charge points are also available in your own company colours and/or logo. This will give your charging facilities an added professional appearance.

Setting the fee for guest use

As a company, you can set a fee for your charge points via your Blue Corner customer portal (ev.bluecorner.be). Settlement of consumption takes place automatically with the user on a monthly basis. Blue Corner handles this. You will need to take out a Connect@Work subscription for this.

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Charging for consumers

Can I have my kWh consumption reimbursed by my employer?

If you are reimbursed for your electricity costs by your employer, your home charging sessions are automatically invoiced by us (via a Split Bill or Reimbursement subscription) to the employer on a monthly basis and paid to you.

Can I install a charge point myself?

We do not recommend this. It is better to use certified installation companies that will ensure a professional connection is installed. Blue Corner has several installation and maintenance partners who are qualified and trained to install our charge points safely and responsibly. Prior to the installation, you will always receive a free inspection: a commitment-free examination of your electrical installation. During the inspection, you will also receive advice and a price quotation for the purchase and installation of a charge point.

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Charging on the road… how does it work?

Where can I find public charge points?

Public charge points are currently being installed all over Europe. Several navigation systems have already recorded the locations. There are also websites and apps available to find a charge point in your area. Two examples we often use are oplaadpalen.nl and chargemap.com.

Can I charge anywhere?

Blue Corner has an agreement in the Benelux with almost all parties that operate public charge points. We ensure interoperability. Further afield, the creation of these roaming agreements is still in full swing. As a customer, you can always consult your customer portal or the Mybluecorner app. You will find an overview on it of all the charge points throughout Europe that you can access with our charging card or app.

Can I request a public charge point from my city or municipality?

This differs per municipality. Not all municipalities have yet drawn up policies to support residents in facilitating charging infrastructure for their electric cars. However, there are a number of common rules that many municipalities check for.

These are the conditions for applying for a charge point:

  • If you own an electric car, you can request that a charge point be installed.
  • Your request will only be considered if you are unable to install a charge point on your own property.
  • The request to install a charge point must relate to a freely accessible public place. Places that are obstructed by gates, boom barriers, fences, and the like are excluded.
  • The municipality owns the land, so it is always the final decision maker on the location of a charge point.
  • A charge point can only be requested once for an electric car, regardless of whether ownership of the car is transferred to another owner.
  • The driver has no exclusive rights to the use of a public charge point.
  • Some cities or municipalities also offer other options for requesting a charge point in a public area. So, check with your city or municipality.
  • Blue Corner collaborates with the City of Antwerp for the placement of public charge points.

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How do I charge my car at a public charge point?

Access control! The charging card

You need a means of access to gain access to a public charge point. Despite the fact that Smartphone apps (such as, our own Mybluecorner app) are on the rise, the RFID card – the charging card – is still the most commonly used access method. You can request one free of charge from Blue Corner.

How does charging work?

To use your electric (hybrid) car, you need to charge your car’s battery. This process is clearly explained in the following steps:

  1. Park your car near a charge point.
  2. The LED lights on the charge point show its status. When the lights turn green, the charge point is available and ready for use.
  3. If the LED lights are red, there is a malfunction. In the event of a malfunction with a Blue Corner charge point, you can always contact our customer service: +32 (0)78 48 10 77, or send an email to services@bluecorner.be. If the charge point is operated by another party, follow the instructions on the sticker to contact the operator.
  4. To charge your electric car, connect your electric car to the charge point using the provided charging cable.
  5. The charging cable has a male end. This end connects to the charge point. The other end of the charging cable is a female end. This connects to the electric car.
  6. After you have correctly connected your car to the charge point, hold your charging card in front of the indicated place (the RFID reader) on the charge point.
  7. The LED lights will then change to a blue colour. This means your car is charging. Always check in your car that this is so before you walk away.
  8. After you started the charging transaction with your charging card, the charging cable is locked and you cannot detach it. This is to protect your charging session.
  9. When your car’s battery is fully charged, the LED lights will turn light blue. The charge point automatically stops charging your battery. The charging cable will remain locked between your car and the charge point until you terminate the charging transaction as described in the next step.
  10. To end your charging session, hold your charging card in front of the indicated place (the RFID reader) on the charge point. The LED lights change to the green colour.
  11. When the green colour appears, the charging cable is automatically unlocked. You can then safely disconnect the charging cable between your car and the charge point.
    Your charging transaction is now complete.

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Is it safe to charge my electric car?

The required sequence of actions eliminates most risks during charging. When charging while on the road, power is only switched on to the plug when both sides (car and charge point) are connected and when the plug is locked in the charge point. This also applies when charging at home or at the office. Does your own charger have a cable and no power socket? Then charging only starts when the handshake (communication between car and charger) indicates that everything is in order. This includes checking that the plug is properly inserted into the car.

Stealing power is not possible because you must use a charging card to lock the power socket. If someone were to pull the plug from your car while charging, the whole process would stop. You can only restart charging or remove the charging cable from the charge point when you hold your charging card in front of the card reader again. However, people can trip over the charging cable, so be careful how where you lay it down!

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What are the benefits of an electric car?

Climate friendliness

  • Reduced CO2 emissions (both in the production of the fuel and while driving)
  • No emission of particulates and nitrogen oxides
  • Less fossil fuels are needed

Sustainability

  • Inexpensive: low kilometre price and lower maintenance costs
  • Good for the economy: investment in sustainable innovation
  • Increased depreciation (100%) of car purchase and costs
  • Possibility of shortened depreciation period
  • Greatly reduced benefits in kind (SG&A) for the professional EV driver

An electric car produces less carbon dioxide (CO2)

There are currently around 900 million vehicles on the roads of the world. Within 10 years, it will be more than a billion. These vehicles mostly run on petrol, diesel, or gas. So, the supply of fossil fuels is rapidly running out. The transport of the future will require finding alternative and sustainable sources of energy. For example, windmills and solar panels can be used to generate energy for electric cars.
Cars have become increasingly cleaner in recent years, thanks to new inventions, such as, catalytic converters and particulate filters. But even the cleanest car still produces carbon dioxide (CO2) because that gas is always released during the combustion process. CO2 is not toxic in itself, but it does contribute to the greenhouse effect and thus to global warming.
A fully electric car produces no CO2 at all. However, it is not necessarily climate neutral. That depends entirely on how the electric energy it runs on was generated. For example, wind or solar energy is much greener than electricity from an old-fashioned coal-fired power station. If you charge at Blue Corner, you are always assured of green power!
So, to realistically compare the CO2 production of electric and ‘ordinary’ cars, you have to examine the entire energy chain ‘from well to wheel’. The Dutch research institute TNO uses this method to measure future developments. According to their measurements, an average electric car in 2020 will produce about 35% less CO2 from source to wheel than an average combustion engine car.
And, even if the electricity is entirely generated in coal-fired power plants, an electric car will still produce 22% less CO2, according to TNO.

You can generate your own electricity

More and more Belgians are fitting solar panels to the roofs of their houses in order to cut their energy bills. However, you can also use these panels to charge your electric car. This is how you can really drive for (almost) nothing!

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What types of electric cars are there?

Broadly speaking, there are three types of cars that can run wholly or partly on electric power. Those with only an electric motor, the types equipped with an electric motor with a range extender, and the plug-in hybrids. What are the differences and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Fully electric (FEV)
Fully electric cars only have an electric motor. So, there is no need for expensive fuel. These also do not emit any harmful substances while driving. A longer trip with this type of car will require careful planning because the trip ends when the power runs out. For a fully electric car, this is usually after 150 kilometres. Then you will have to charge the car again.

Range extender (E-REV)
Electric cars with a range extender also run entirely on electricity. The difference is that there is a small combustion engine on-board for when the power runs out. The combustion engine does not drive the wheels. It charges the battery. So, you can continue the trip electrically. The electricity no longer comes from a charge point, it is generated using petrol or diesel. So, a range extender car will have to be refuelled.

Plug-in hybrid (PHEV)
A hybrid car has both a combustion engine and an electric motor. When you can also charge the batteries from a power socket, this is called a plug-in hybrid. A larger battery pack allows a plug-in hybrid to drive longer distances on electric power. When the power is gone, you continue to drive with the combustion engine.

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