In an unprecedented show of collaboration from some of the world’s top automakers, Europe is set to get a network of high-speed electric charging stations for BEVs along its major highways. BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen with Audi and Porsche have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deploy an initial 400 charging sites, which will be compatible with most current and next generation BEVs, and will become the highest-powered charging network in Europe.
The plan is to create a brand-independent network that covers the most popular long-distant travel routes in Europe. The high-power sites will include charging points with power levels up to 350 kW, which will be able to charge BEVs significantly faster than the most powerful charging points available today. It will require BEVs that are built to accept the full power to enjoy the benefits of the faster-charging, but those that will be able to recharge in a fraction of the time of today’s BEVs.
“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distant trips to use a coffee break for recharging,” commented Audi AG Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler. “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.”
Initially, the plan is targeting deployment of 400 charging sites across Europe, which will be based on the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard. Construction on the charging network is expected to start in 2017.
The aim of the network is to quickly deploy a charging infrastructure, which will enable BEV drivers to travel long distances in Europe, which is currently not possible. This is considered to be an important step in the process of mass-market BEV adoption.
“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility,” said BMW AG Chairman of the Board of Management. “The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility.”
“There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions,” added Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically power car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electricity powered vehicles but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well.”