Ford, BMW, Daimler, VW Group planning fast-charging network 0

Ford, VW, BMW and Daimler have announced plans to roll out charging stations across Europe’s major highways for electric vehicles. In a joint statement, the companies said the installation of the infrastructure would be a major step in the mass market adoption of EVs.

In what has been described as an “unprecedented collaboration”, the companies have signed an initial agreement to create the network of charging facilities, the ultimate aim being to swiftly establish a large number of stations enabling long range electric vehicle travel.

The proposed fast-charging network with power levels capable of 350 kW will be significantly more powerful than anything currently deployed on Europe’s’ roads at present, the statement said.

The plan is to start installing the stations next year. At present a target of 400 sites across the continent is planned. By 2020, customers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points, the statement said. “The charging experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refuelling at conventional gas stations.”

“The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp up e-mobility,” BMW Group CEO Harald Kruger said in the statement.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said: “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.”

Ford Motor CEO Mark Field said a reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure “is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving.

Volkswagen Group’s Audi and Porsche brands will be part of the joint venture. “There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said in the statement.

The charging network is planned to be based on Combined Charging System (CCS) standard technology. The intended charging infrastructure expands the existing tech standard for AC and DC charging of electric vehicles to a level higher of DC fast-charging capacity capable of 350kW. EVs engineered to accept 350kW of power will be able to recharge much faster than the EVs of today.

The four car brands will be equal partners in the scheme, and they will encourage other automakers and regional partners, to participate.

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