Major carmakers join forces to build Europe-wide, ultra-fast charging network

BWM, Daimler, Ford, and Volkswagen with Audi and Porsche are forming a joint venture to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. Their goal is to encourage vehicle owners to switch over to electric vehicles.

It’s a veritable who’s who of the automobile industry. BWM, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen with Audi and Porsche have agreed to form a joint venture to create a Europe-wide, ultra-fast charging network.

Their goal is to quickly build up a sizable number of charging stations across Europe to enable long-range travel for electric vehicles. Their announcement marks an important step towards facilitating mass-market electric vehicle adoption.

“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility,” said Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW.

The ultra-fast high-powered charging network will have power levels of up to 350 kW, making it significantly faster than the most powerful charging system currently deployed. The partners plan to begin work in 2017 with an initial 400 stations in Europe. By 2020, electric vehicle owners should have access to thousands of high-power charging points along highways and major thoroughfares.

The partners want to make charging as convenient as refuelling at conventional gas stations in an effort to boost broader market adoption of electric mobility and speed up the shift towards emission-free driving, said Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management of Audi.

“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging,” he added.

The automobile manufacturers plan to make substantial investments to build up the network, underscoring each company’s belief in the future of electric mobility. Their commitment to work together also clearly demonstrates that “competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility,” said Krüger.

The founding partners will be equal partners in the joint venture, but other carmakers are encouraged to participate in the network to help establish convenient charging solutions.


Image credit: Daimler

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