Ford, Daimler, BMW and VW create superfast charging network
What Tesla is trying on its own, four major carmakers are doing together to spread the costs and accelerate the roll-out. Volkswagen Group (including Audi and Porsche), BMW Group (BMW and Mini), Daimler (Mercedes and Smart) and Ford Motor Company together form the consortium Ionity, a network of fast chargers for electric vehicles with coverage across the entire European continent.
400 fast chargers by 2020
By 2020, the Munich based Ionity wants to operate 400 charging points. That means that owners of an electric vehicle will have to travel 120 km at most to find a place to top up. The first twenty, located in Norway, Germany and Austria, will be operational still this year. Next year, already 100 Ionity stations should be opened. The 350 kW stations use the European CCS standard (Combined Charging Standard), a competitor to the Japanese standard CHAdeMO. CCS is also used in China. In fact, Tesla is expected to integrate the same CCS in its models, allowing its customers to not only use the proprietary Supercharger network, but also the Ionity and other CCS stations.
Open invitation for other OEMs
In fact, Ionity, which is now owned in equal parts by the four OEMs, invites other carmakers to join them. "The first pan-European high-power charging network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles," declared Ionity CEO Michael Hajesch. “Ionity will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel” The more partners are participating, the more can be invested in infrastructure, which only makes the network more interesting for consumers. With 350 kW, charging will be considerably faster than with today’s stations, including Tesla’s. Ionity is negotiating with existing infrastructure initiatives, including political institutions and those supported by the participating companies.