Major European car manufacturers namely – BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group which includes Porsche and Audi, came together to form a joint venture last year. Now after a year, the JV has established IONITY – a pan-European high-power charging network. The consortium plans to install 400 High-Power-Charging (HPC) stations across Europe by 2020.
Out of those 400, 20 stations will be opened to the public this year. These new charging stations will be located on major roads of Germany, Norway and Austria, at intervals of 120kilometres. By 2018, the network will expand to more than 100 stations with multiple charging facilities. With a capacity of up to 350 kW per charging point, the network will employ the European charging standard or the Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors. This type of quick charging method is already being used in most of the aforementioned manufacturer’s electric vehicles. However, it would also allow the compatibility of cars from other manufacturers to be charged at this network as well.
To put things in perspective, Tesla’s rapid Supercharger network operates at 120kW. The prices for this network are expected to be competitive with the existing pay-per-use charger networks. The network is intended to serve all CCS-equipped vehicles to facilitate the electric vehicles adoption in Europe.
All the four manufacturers, who are the founding partners, have equal shares in the joint venture, while other manufacturers are openly invited to help expand this network. The aim of this joint venture is to enable drivers to venture out on long distant travels in their battery electric cars. Long distance travel, which has not been feasible with most electric vehicles till date, could now be possible through these open-network charging stations. These charging networks propose to make charging of electric cars as convenient as conventional fuelling stations. This unprecedented collaboration of the automakers would allow the network charging of the EVs irrespective of the brand of the vehicle.