Ford, BMW, VW, Daimler Prepare European Charging Network

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford bmw vw daimler prepare european 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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2 of 16 comments
  • Ect Ect on Nov 05, 2017

    "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.

  • Blackcloud_9 Blackcloud_9 on Nov 07, 2017

    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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