Aiming to drive the mass adoption of electric vehicles, Germany’s biggest car makers and Ford of the US have formed a joint venture pledging to create the highest-powered charging-station network in Europe.
Their goal is to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicles with up to 400 ultra-fast charging sites at first, and thousands by 2020.
"We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging", said Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi AG, who was joined in signing a memorandum of understanding on 29 November by BMW, Daimler, Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche.
A network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging– Rupert Stadler, Audi
The projected charging network with power levels up to 350 kW will be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today, the group said.
The build-up is planned to start in 2017. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020 drivers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points.
The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along major highways, which has not been feasible for most drivers to date. The companies said the charging experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations.
The network will be based on Combined Charging System (CCS) standard technology.
"The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure," said Daimler chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche, adding that by 2025 Daimler’s portfolio would include more than 10 fully electric passenger cars.
Ford’s president and chief executive Mark Fields said: "A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving."
Image: BMW Group South Africa started installing charging infrastructure in Johannesburg in September 2015 (BMW)