BMW, Ford, Mercedes and VW charge ahead with Ionity EV network
BMW, Ford, Mercedes and Volkswagen have teamed up to create a Europe-wide network of fast charging stations for electric vehicles.
Known as Ionity, the partnership will see the installation of 400 fast charge points and a universal charging plug and could help facilitate mass-market EV uptake.
Work on the mammoth project has already commenced in Germany, Norway and Austria with 20 charging stations set to be up and running by the end of the year. Placed at service areas at 120km (75-mile) intervals, the network will be capable of charging speeds of up to 350kW.
As well as providing much-reduced charge times, it’ll also be the most advanced EV network in the world. Comparatively, Tesla’s 120kW Supercharger network is capable of recharging a Model S’s battery to 80% within 40 minutes, while a household three-pin plug offers just 3kW.
The 400-strong network is set to be completed by 2020, and will give thousands of EV drivers the ability to travel thousands of miles without the hassle of slow recharging pit stops. In fact, this could be the big breakthrough the EV market has been waiting for…
The other major breakthrough will be the introduction of a universal charging connectors, also known as the Combined Charging System (CCS). Several types of plugs currently exist, but with four major manufacturers using the same system, CSS stands a good chance of becoming the default plug of choice for upcoming and next-gen plug-in electric vehicles.
Ionity CEO Michael Hajesch said: “The first pan-European 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.”
Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company, said: “A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving.”
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, added: "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."