Ultra-rapid EV charging network planned by manufacturers

Some of the world's largest car manufacturers have joined forces to develop a high-powered electric vehicle charging network along long-distance route across Europe. The plans include around 400 ultra fast charging sites built, with speeds up to 350 kW.

BMW Group, Daimler, Ford, and the Volkswagen Group have agreed to a joint venture that will see a fast roll-out of a large number of charging stations. Starting next year, the Combined Charging System (CCS) ultra fast chargers will be available for DC charging at up to 350 kW.

This will then open up the real possibility of long-distance EV driving at similar journey times to a diesel or petrol powered vehicle. Currently there are no EVs on the market that will be able to charge at the highest speed, though there are already confirmed models from the likes of Porsche, Audi, and Mercedes that will be able to accept the ultra fast charging speeds.

The charging stations will accept any EV with a CCS standard, with charging times cut dramatically compared to today's rapid charging infrastructure.

Each of the groups involved will invest significant sums of money into the venture to help create the network. The four manufacturing groups will be equal partners in the plans, though other manufacturers will be encouraged to join the network to help make long-distance EV driving viable for customers.

Announcements as to locations and routes will be made at a later date, though the network will work with regional partners to help get the units working as soon as possible.

BMW Chairman Harald Krüger said: "This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility. The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility."

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, commented: "The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than ten fully electric passenger cars.

"Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe. The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle."

"There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions," said Oliver Blume, Chairman of Porsche AG. "Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well."

Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi AG, said: "We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging. Reliable fast charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation we want to boost a broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift towards emission-free driving."

Finally, Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company, commented: "A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving. Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people's lives better and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for customers across Europe to own electrified vehicles."

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Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:29th Nov 2016

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