In a rare moment of collaboration and joint interest four major automakers have come together to announce the formation of a high-powered charging network along long distance travel routes in Europe.
The infrastructure joint venture is backed by:
The new stations, ~400 worth of them, will offer charging up to 350 kW. Everyone in the group is a CCS Combo supporter, so perhaps unsurprisingly the network will be as such:
"Network is based on the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard which uses a connector that is fully compatible with most current and next generations BEVs"
The unnamed ultra-fast network will be being its deployment in 2017, and the ~400 stations is only a starting point. The group says that by 2020 "customers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points."
With a stated output of 350 kW, that is more than double Tesla's current charging standard (~145 kW), and well above what any retail plug-in offering can accept today - so the station will be more than future-proof. Or put another way, good news for those planning the purchase of a Porsche Mission e (a vehicle reportedly capable of recharging its ~95 kWh battery in about 15 mins) in 2019.
"The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major thoroughfares, which has not been feasible for most BEV drivers to date. The charging experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations."
The set up reminds us of the recently announced "Ultra E" program to install along the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), with points in Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria...but that network is only planned for 25 (350 kW) charging stations deep currently.
The four automakers will be joint partners in the network, and will each make "substantial investments" in the project. However, at the same time it is not a closed group, as other OEMs are both welcome and encouraged to join. No locations have yet been announced.
Statements from the various persons of interest at the automakers:
“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility,” says Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility.”
“The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than ten fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "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 Company
“A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving,” says Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people’s lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for customers across Europe to own electrified vehicles.”
“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “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.”
“There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions,” says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well.”
Hat tip to Alan H!