By on November 3, 2017

ionity charging network

Established German automakers, partnered with Ford Motor Co., are beginning construction on their pan-European fast-charging network this year. The plan is to expand charging points along highways — thus making cross-continent easier for EV owners and, more importantly, future electric-car buyers.

While none of that affects us in the West, the plot does provide some insight as to how quickly we might be able to expect something similar to take hold. Now called “Ionity,” VW announced it is roping in Porsche and Audi to help construct 400 high-power charging (HPC) stations by 2020. The first 20 charging stations are scheduled to open by the end of this year in Germany, Norway, and Austria.

The venture’s chief executive, Michael Hajesch, says Ionity wants grow that number to 50 by early 2018. “The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles. Ionity will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel,” Hajesch explained.

While starting the project in Germany and growing it out from there omits the whole of Europe from initial enjoyment, it does allow it to be genuinely functional for a smaller region. Theoretically, the United States could do the same thing and kind of is with VW’s Electrify America subsidiary — which is spending nearly half of its $2 billion budget in California. However, the majority of fast-charging stations built near North American highways thus far have been done by Tesla Motors or as part of state-funded projects.

Back in Europe, the Ionity charging stations are to be set roughly 120 km apart from each other. Most are planned to include facilities and shopping via Tank & Rast and Circle K. Capacity is said to be “up to 350 kW per charging point,” using the European charging standard Combined Charging System to significantly reduce charging times compared to existing systems.

“The launch of Ionity represents a breakthrough in the move towards a comprehensive rapid charging infrastructure in Europe”, said the chairman of Porsche’s executive board, Oliver Blume. “Creating a functioning charging infrastructure is necessary for ensuring electromobility is accepted and further expanded. With the rapid charging network from Ionity, we are ensuring that our customers can use electric cars on long journeys without compromising on convenience. These high-charging stations are capable of charging our Mission E to 80 per cent in just 15 minutes – equivalent to a range of 400 kilometres.”

[Image: Porsche]


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16 Comments on “Ford, BMW, VW, Daimler Prepare European Charging Network...”

  • avatar

    Another blow to Tesla. They are losing their advantage of being first to market. The established players are catching up technologically and learning what helps sells EVs. If the Model 3 has serious quality issues, the brand cachet goes away and Tesla will have — nothing to differentiate with.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    How many Europeans have drives over 200 miles (322KM) and wouldn’t a two hour lunch take care of charging issues?

  • avatar

    So how many vehicles can be charged at each station? Please give me a number greater than one.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Right now, they’ve only said each station would be able to service “multiple customers.” So more than one but how much more probably varies between stations. VW will have anywhere from 2 to 10 charging points at each of its U.S.-based stations (with most being somewhere in the middle) via Electrify America — I would assume Ionity would operate similarly.

      • 0 avatar

        Of course, that depends on how many stations are actually working. There’s an Electrify America station that I stop at every so often that has two dual head CCS/CHAdeMO 50kW ABB chargers. For the longest time, one was down and the other up. Initially, I didn’t report the downed station and assumed they knew about it. Once I did report it, they had it fixed in about a week. I finally tried it last week and it worked fine.You’d think they could run remote diags and figure out if a charger was down.

        Tesla superchargers have far more chargers in most cases. Not sure of the maintenance, but hopefully better than Electrify America.

        The real supercharger network challenger here in the US will probably be Shell and I think BP. Shell is already deploying chargers at their stations in the UK and they may be the real future of charging networks.

        Maybe Sunoco will be next with a charger with a rotary dial to select 400kW charging:^)

  • avatar

    The Germans already have sky-high electrical rates and are burning lignite (brown coal) to keep the lights on after shutting down nuclear, and the French are gradually shutting down their nuclear generation too. Where will they get the electricity to charge all those EVs?

    • 0 avatar

      and here’s your answer:

      • 0 avatar

        That’s 35% of EXISTING electrical load. Where’s the huge jump in generation of all those cars (and trucks) going to come from? Remember, the Euros are thinking of banning the internal combustion engine in a very short period.

        All existing vehicles must be replaced with EVs, and that’s a huge expense for the public to pay, while massive investments in electrical generation take place. Heck, forget the electricity, where’s the MONEY going to come from?

        • 0 avatar

          Keep in mind that “existing electrical load” includes the generated electricity required by oil refineries, which is considerable. Less gasoline production means less electricity required by refineries.

  • avatar

    EBFlex needs to come along and explain to us how this will be a colossal failure because Ford is involved.

  • avatar

    As the developed world moves forward, America is gazing in the rear view mirror…(sigh)

  • avatar

    “While none of that affects us in the West…”

    Huh? “The West” includes all of the original members of NATO (most of which are European), together with a number of other European countries. So, this project affects most people in the geopolitical West.

  • avatar

    The only effect it might have in America is which type of charging connection – CCS or CHAdeMO – will be utilized. I know BMW uses CCS as does GM but Nissan uses CHAdeMO. If one standard becomes more prevalent it could end this “VHS vs. Betamax” charging system we have today. Not to mention Tesla off in their own little corner

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