You are here:

How it all started

From solving the chicken and egg problem to making our first sale, our founding story is one of electric adventure.

Fastned’s electric beginnings

Starting out

Our beginnings may have been humble but our ambitions have never been.

Early pioneers

It's the early 2010s. With only a handful of electric vehicles silently zooming through the streets, the world is beginning to awaken to the harsh realities of climate change and the alarming effects of CO₂ emissions. Among those recognizing the urgency of the situation are Bart Lubbers and Michiel Langezaal.

Michiel is one of the early pioneers of electric vehicles in the Netherlands, proudly driving a Nissan Leaf with a modest battery range of just 100 kilometres. Michiel works for Epyon, a company building fast charging equipment for electric vehicles.

Bart's family is into EVs. His father, former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, actually test drove one of the first electric vehicles – a Volkswagen that had been converted by the energy company Essent. In these early days, charging an electric vehicle is an adventure in itself, involving night time knocks on doors of cafes and farmhouses to ask for electricity. Bart becomes involved in Epyon as an investor, where Crijn Bouman, founder of the company, recognizes how Bart’s ideas align with Michiel’s and introduces the two. That introduction is all it takes to spark their shared vision of an electric future.

An electric vision

From the get go, Bart and Michiel share the conviction that the electric revolution will only take off when electric driving - and therefore fast charging - becomes genuinely hassle free. What drivers need is clear: a comprehensive network of fast charging stations across the Netherlands, ensuring that they can charge their cars quickly and conveniently, en route to wherever and whenever.

Our plan was – and is – a comprehensive nationwide network of highway charging stations”

Bart Lubbers


Chicken and egg

While many people are still debating which should come first – electric cars or the network to charge them – Bart and Michiel want to bypass the chicken and egg situation by just building the thing. For that, they need the government.

Government support

Around that time the Dutch government, in a bold and visionary move, recognizes the importance of electric driving. They start to redefine the use of service areas along national motorways. On December 20, 2011, the Ministry of Traffic and Waterways announces a policy shift – allowing electric charging stations at service areas and introducing electric fast charging stations as a new basic facility open to the public.

All of them? All of them.

To implement this ambitious plan, the Ministry launches a public allocation procedure, inviting potential bidders to participate. Most parties involved see this merely as a pilot project and hesitate, fearing rapid technological obsolescence. Bart and Michiel on the other hand, understand the strategic value of all motorway real estate. To create a truly reliable, accessible and user friendly fast charging network, no corner of the country should be left behind. So, instead of cherry picking the most desirable locations, they decide to register for all available locations. That’s right, all of them. 

In April 2012, Fastned - as Bart and Michiel’s newly chartered company is called - emerges as the winner of 201 out of 245 lots, securing its position as a key player in the young electric driving landscape.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I’m fond of saying we are still only on day one of the electric vehicle revolution

Michiel Langezaal

Cofounder & CEO

More than fast charging

Even in this early stage, Fastned's vision extends beyond fast charging itself. It encompasses the entire experience of fast charging. Looking at petrol stations, their car centred design and universally depressing atmosphere, Bart and Michiel want Fastned stations to be radically better. They set out to redefine what a service station can look and feel like, designing their stations around people and reflecting their values of sustainability, convenience, and community.

Our first station

A milestone in the history of fast charging, our first station still stands at Palmpol along the A1 highway in The Netherlands.

A new approach to station design

In 2013, following the design mindset, we make our first hires. Among whom, an aspiring young architect. Quickly, the fledgling team begins designing the first Fastned station based on the yellow arch. The arch is a reference to the wind tunnels where they aerodynamically test cars. The colour yellow indicates speed, as everyone who’s ever watched racing films knows. The team also decides to integrate solar panels into the roof, another design first for service stations.

Finally, it’s time to open the first Fastned station. Palmpol, along the A1 highway in The Netherlands is where we equip the arch station with two 50 kW chargers. Simply by putting in two chargers instead of one, the uptime of our station is significantly higher than any other charging station in the country. Because when one charger is down, the other still works. It sounds silly now, but back then it was a huge step forward.

“These days, drivers in the Netherlands are never far from a Fastned station

Michiel Langezaal

Cofounder & CEO

Our first sale

After six months we could finally charge for charging. The special moment we had been waiting for was finally here.

11:45 on a summer’s day

For the first six months after we open Palmpol, we have no payment system. That’s right, we’re giving away electricity for free. But this allows us to learn a lot about how people use our stations. Finally, on 12 August 2014, after we launch the Fastned app with a payment feature, we make our first real sale. At 11:45 a little BMW i3 charges 13.8 kWh, for a total of 11.60 Euros.

And so, the Fastned journey begins

Driven by a passionate commitment to a sustainable future, we’re courageously constructing The Netherlands’ first comprehensive fast charging network around a people centric station concept. 

Today, Fastned is still pushing the electric frontier, paving the way for a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable form of mobility. One nature inspired fast charging station at a time.