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BMW, Daimler, VW and Ford to Partner on Expansive EV Charging Network in Europe

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【Summary】A group of automakers including Germany’s BMW, Daimler, VW and U.S. based Ford Motor Co. will open ultra-fast electric vehicle charging stations this year and plans a European EV charging network of 400 locations by 2020.

Original Eric Walz    Nov 03, 2017 11:33 AM PT
BMW, Daimler, VW and Ford to Partner on Expansive EV Charging Network in Europe

FRANKFURT — A group of automakers including Germany's BMW, Daimler, VW and U.S. based Ford Motor Co. will open ultra-fast electric vehicle charging stations this year and plans a European EV charging network of 400 locations by 2020.

News about the initiative had been long anticipated as governments push for improvements in infrastructure improvements, including access to high speed charging, that would encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles.

IONITY, a joint venture of BMW AG, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co., and Volkswagen along with its Audi and Porsche brands, plans to open 20 stations to the public this year in Germany, Norway and Austria. They will each be strategically located 120 km (75 miles) apart and run in partnership with Tank & Rast, Circle K, and OMV.

"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," said Ionity's CEO Michael Hajesch on Friday. He added that the fast-charging stations would also offer digital-payment capability using smartphones.

IONITY is still in talks with charging station suppliers and a decision is expected soon, a spokeswoman said, declining to say how much the joint venture would invest.

Installing thousands of High-Power Charging (HPC) stations across the globe will require billions of dollars in investment and offer an opportunity to manufacturers. The car consortium's new fast chargers will cost about 200,000 euros each, sources said previously.

IONITY will expand its network to 100 stations in 2018, each one enabling several drivers of different car brands to charge their vehicles at the same time.

‘Range anxiety' over whether battery-powered vehicles have the range to reach their destination is making some drivers apprehensive about switching from petrol or diesel models to EVs.

However, with U.S. electric car maker Tesla leading the way with its Supercharger network, established auto brands are teaming up to ensure that electric vehicles (EVs) can get quickly back on the road.

Each charging point will have a capacity of 350 kW, and will use an existing European standard, the Combined Charging System, to reduce charging times compared to existing systems.

A half-hour charge will give a Tesla driver about 270 km in extra driving range - roughly half the time it would take to get a similar boost at a 50 kW charge point that is now the industry standard.

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